Wandering Willard

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” ~ Albert Einstein

Getting back into the hiking groove, it seems I am revisiting the oldies but goodies. And while many of the trails I have hiked this past week have been ones I have visited countless times before. The thing about hiking is that it IS a new adventure every single time. Robert Frost might have talked about the road not taken, yet, regardless of how many times I have hiked Willard, every single trip is a new discovery, a new appreciation, and a new ascertainment of myself.

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One of the many differences about this hike was that it was sunny for the first time in a very long while. Since it is so short, and over looks Crawford Notch, it is a hike I prefer to do when it is cloudy, even misting a bit. There is something incredibly ethereal standing on the ledge, watching the clouds rolling in and out many times coated in fog. It is nestled between several larger mountains, and it makes one feel concooned despite being out in Mother Nature’s elements.

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I tugged my micro spikes on to my boots, slipped on my gloves and grabbed my poles. I was ready to brave Willard for the short 3.2 mile hike in the snowy drifts. The sun kept winking between the trees, as I made the early morning trek up the mountain with my brother, stopping for a quick detour and photo-op at Centennial Pool which had turned into a snowy wonderland, the water hidden underneath the fluffy cold snow.

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It took about forty-five minutes to reach the top. At a steady incline, it can feel like Willard goes on and on, until suddenly you see light streaming through a small opening above you like you are walking out of a cave, which in many aspects it is a cave of trees and brush waiting for you to uncover the surprise.

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It was absolutely gorgeous on top, with the sun shining, I had a clear view of the valley watching the cars drive below. Despite the snow on the ground, I could have hung out at the top for hours. Only occasionally, did it get chilly because the wind decided to say a hello.

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After about a half hour, I decided to pay the mountain adieu until another day. That was when the real fun started. While I hadn’t wanted to run up the mountain which is entirely feasible especially during the summer, I had no qualms about running down it. I tucked my poles in my bag and started the race down feeling like the wind whistle past my hair, squealing with joy.

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Hiking down hill is always much faster, at times it takes half the time the ascent does, with gravity on your side. In winter it really does shorten the descent. While I have a love hate relationship with winter hiking, their is something about it that brings the little kid out in me. I felt that way, as I ended up sliding down, laughing as I went.

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It was a fun exhiliarating two hours, one that made me really appreciate where I am from and the beauty that surrounds my little town. It also made me realize, that while I always save Willard for a rainy day, perhaps its real treasure is when the sun is shining.

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Have you hiked Willard?