Bug and Buck...The Last Mission

Pisgah State Park in NH is a nice hiking park. There are 5 or 6 loop trails ( in the 5 mi range), a reservoir and several accessable and interesting ponds. There are also some “not How Bad can it Be?maintained” trails. We ended up on one of those; well, "ended up" isn't exactly accurate. It wasn't an accident, it was a Buck decision. The trail did say "not maintained". I figured that meant 'not so hot'. In New Hampshire it means, "there used to be a trail here, but no longer". In a state that inscribes a disturbing multiple choice question on their license plates .. “Live Free or Die”...(your choice, I guess)...You could imagine that “not maintained” would be blatently honest; and it was.

New Hampshire State of Mind

New Hampshire is different and it's good to know someone who lives there, well. You can have firearms or some good Czech Semtex (or in my case a Mace pistol) delivered to your NH friend for later legal pickup, no questions asked.
I also love how the Granite State loves to economize. They use abandoned Trailers and junked car carcasses to mark the State boundaries. ...What, you thouight I was kidding???...Massachusetts uses nice stone markers with historic plaques to mark your leaving Masachusetts and entering New Hampshire. On the way back, you get the dead rusting carcass of a '68 Jeep Cherokee (still with License Plate attached), to inform you that you are heading back to a State that teaches children to read.

Bug I were once hunted by a posse of moose hunters just South of Troy in the most remote part of the MM trail (see section 20). We were brought to ground by 4 dudes riding 3 wheeler ATV's, armed like Chechen militia. I thing we were spared because the NHites realized that we were at least as crazy as they were. We were unarmed in a Combat Zone. Our Deaths might be avenged by our Cave-Dwelling kin.
Ah...the memories .... http://www.tnbdomeball.com/image%20storage/images/best%20of/mm1.jpg  Moose berries, a festive in-season NH dish! Best served fresh and warm, right from the oven.

Sorry...We digress

But seriously, it’s April, and getting lost isn’t as scary a proposition as it would be in, say, June. I think the 'unimproved trail' brought us to a swamp in the town forest, outside the State Park (according to the 3 GPS satellites my piece of junk GPS was using), but that’s cool. The weather was perfect for a hike to nowhere, although Bug now doesn't like to waste bullets. The unseasonably warm (low 80's) weather made for a pleasant afternoon.

Next time, which will be next weekend, I think we’ll try the Ridge trail and find Baker pond. Or maybe we'll find a good spot on Kilburn pond and take a rare April swim. In New England, you can expect to do that every 6-8 years. I wouldn't realize for 4 months, how special, and now as I write this, sad, this day would be, and how it would reside in my heart. hmmmm...still pretty cold...maybe next week. Know what i'm sayin' Buck

Images from Sunday 12-2:30 April 19, 2009

I said, ...we'd be back...April, 26, 2009

We, Bug and I, have unfinished business. The week remained HOT, HOT, HOT, and for April, presented some interesting options. But we were waiting for the weekend to get out on the trail again. Saturday, we traveled to Hartford to play the Hartford Senators, with our Vintage Base Ball team, the Whately Pioneers, and it was as hot as I have ever been at a Base Ball game.
Sunday was beautiful, and we had a plan; find a spot on the Kilburn Pond, like a big flat rock, and Bug and I would enjoy the rare April swim. Ponds like this are tricky to enjoy in the heat of the regular Summer. The insects have hatched, and torment you, and some ponds fill with algae and water flora that make a leisurly swim with your best friend, not so much fun.

We parked at the Kilburn Rd entrance of Pisgah, just off Rt. 63, 5 or so miles north of Hinsdale, NH. We hiked the half mile or so to the north end of the pond, and then hooked a right at the Kilburn loop which follows the banks of the Pond for about a mile. The secret to a satisfying swim is having a good shot at the pond without bushes, stumps or rocks. A Grassy bank or, even better, a big flat rock leading into the water is what you are looking for. We hiked the full mile along the pond and didn't see a good spot. That is good actually, because i know one is there, and the more hidden the better. Bug and I like our privacy.
We doubled back, heading North again and probed a spot that looked promising. It was just behind a knoll and was a grassy enbankment that gave us access to a cool swim. It was shallow and not worth hanging out for more than a dip. At about the halfway point on the pond, still heading north, eureka!The one and Only Bug

A Perfect Place

As Bug crossed a small muddy brook that fed Kilburn Pond, I noticed a small clearing on the edge of the pond behind behind a clump of small trees. We veered towards it and there it was. We were standing on a large flat rock that sloped out into the pond, giving us access to a nice swimming hole. The water temperature was perfect, after a week of near 80 degree weather. No lilly pads, no insects, no algae; just clear winter melted snow and spring water, heated to perfection.

With absolutely no one around, off with the clothes, and we dove right in. Bug watches me for intent, and seeing the look in my eye, knew I was diving in. He always tries to beat me to the best spot, and plenty of times we have dived right into each other as we hit the water. Like we did here. I love it. We swam out a way, amazed the the water was refreshing and rejuvinating, did a little circle and then swam to the rock and crawled out into the warm air again. Bug found my pile of clothes and shook dry on them. Atta Boy! Bug and I crossed over the small plank bridge and in no time we were almost back to Rt. 63 and the missionmobile. Bug was happy to be calling it a day, no doubt. His all day hiking days a behind him, an, as I said, little did I realize that this would be our last real mission; just get in the car a find a place to explore. In the next and last 4 months of Bug's life, he attended 27 baseball games, played 8 games of pepper, 50 games of knee ball, and 3 days before the end, made a perfect running catch off the pitchback; arthritis be damned. Nobody could do it better than Bug, and he taught me everything I know about heart. And other than the occasional little boy who got a little hand bite for breaking the 'Bug Rules' he was loved by all. Especially me.

Images from Kilburn April 26, 2009