It’s been a week since I left my full time academic job, and I’ve been immersed in the pleasures of organizing drawers and closets, tossing heaps of files on the recycling bin, relaxing into running adventures, and launching into the new studio work. Life is being re-ordered, and my creative brain relishes the extra space.
Teaching is still an important part of my life, and though I’ve left my position with Union, I’m fortunate to be working in the MFA program of the New Hampshire Institute of Art, as well as serving as an Artist-Teacher in the Vermont College MFA. On Friday, I drove to VT for a studio visit with a student and decided that on the way back, I would return to a favorite spot, the White Mountain National Forest, Lincoln Trail, which consists of an old logging railroad leading into the Pemigewasset wilderness. I’d run the trail a few times before, and in 2005, the annual family camping adventure started at the Lincoln trail head, which eventually led us in to the Thirteen Falls tent site and beyond. A few days into that first trip, after the bridge photo (below), I ended up with a badly bashed shin, having slid down a rock in an attempt to get out of the way of an overly vigorous hiker on crutches!
As I prepared to run the trail in 2014, I stopped to say hello to a few rangers relaxing on the porch. They were taking it easy due to the high temps and explained that they’d gotten up early to do their woods work in the cool morning air.
I asked about the bear alert signs, and one of them replied,
“We don’t get bears down here, but they’ve been up at the campgrounds.”
“They know where the food is,” I replied.
“Yup,” he said, “as they say, it’s a people problem, not a bear problem!”
I’d run part of the long, flat trail in crampons a few winters earlier, and this time my plan was to run as far as Franconia Falls. I knew I’d need a dip in the mountain water in order to cool down mid-run.
I ran the fast and flat 3.2 miles to the falls, including the last stretch of tangled trail that runs alongside the brook.
The falls are close enough to Route 112, the Kancamagus Highway, that the Falls get a lot of day hikers, and given the heat last week, the rocks were scattered with sunbathers and teenagers lining up to slide down the rock chute into a pool of bubbling water below.
The sight brought back the final day of my 2005 family hike, watching my kids stretched out on the rocks with their cousins, taking in the sun after a few long days in the woods.
On the current journey, I had limited time, as I was heading to Portland for First Friday openings–including the final weekend of Andres Verzosa’s Aucocisco Galleries, the venue where I’ve been fortunate to exhibit my work over the last year. The afternoon was fleeting, so I spent 20 minutes taking a dip, soaking my legs in the cold water, and capturing the view before trotting down the rooty path and out the main trail to the hot car.