Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hello Fall My Old Friend

  In-case you didn't get what was running through my brain when I typed the title, it's based off the first lyric of "Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel. Lisssten to in maaaan.
 I like fall, except for the coming of the cold.
It happens to be the prettiest season up here in New England. The leaves turn over their crisp green and show off golden yellows, & oh so sweet oranges.

  My fall started with the wonderful Not Back To School Camp.
An amazing camp for teenage unschoolers & homeschoolers. I want to write about my weekend, so I shall be brief about this camp. I was there last year, at the gorgeous campground of Farm & Wilderness in Vermont. This year due to Hurricane Irena, (devastating damage to Vermont) we moved sites to Camp Huckins, located in Freedom NH. Camp Huckins is an all girl YMCA camp, right across the lake from Camp Robin Hood, the current home of Dance New England! If you don't know, DNE Aka Dance Camp, is the hippie camp I've been going to since I was in the womb. I in fact kayaked out to Camp Huckins during Dance Camp, only to find out a few weeks later that I would be in that area soon. At Not Back To School Camp (NBTSC) there is soooo much to do! Different classes ranging from blues dancing to hide & go seek go on all day. Run by both the staff & kids :)
Only meetings and advisory groups are you actually required to attend. The advisory group is a group of 6 or 7 campers that meet in the mornings, and "check-in". Good stuff.
 If ya just want to hangout, see old friends. You are more than welcome. It was a beautiful time.

    But now! My weekend! What an adventure! And when I say weekend, I refer to yesterday. A day of great fun & adventure. I have a good friend in Winchester named Julien. His17th birthday is this Wednesday, and decided that it'd be pretty cool to grab our friends & go camping for a night on a mountain in New Hampshire. He's got a house up here (In fact I'm sitting out on his porch now. Now being at the time this is written...who knows where I'll be when you read this) in New Hampshire & we would be staying up there the rest of the weekend. But as it turns out the party to be, was well, just me. Never the less, Julien & I plannded to still hike up the mountain & campout for a night. The two of us! All alone!
Mountain, mountain, mountain. Now what mountain? A ski mountain. The name I shall leave out....(perhaps we tented in a no tent zone & made a fire in a no firezone...but perhaps not)
Alas, the name doesn't really matter.
Julien drove his family & me up to his house Friday night....Saturday morning, we set up & took down his tent several times to get the hang of it. Not that hard...

   After a scrumptious lunch we were dropped off at the trail.
Boy, oh, boy it was just two wild boys now!
Our journey started with crossing a rushing river!

   It certainly seemed so with our high spirits. Hopping from rock to rock we crossed the stream (it was a decent size, not a little creek or such ). Raving about a minute into our hike we had to cross water, we found ourselves at a smaller stream. This one we could easily get over, but oh no I couldn't have that! We grabbed a fallen log and pushed it over the water. It was quite heavy, and got it most of the way across. I quickly (alright I wasn't that quick 'bout it) walked over the log and with a small jump made it to the other side. Julien did the same. Now, I of course brought hiking boots of this adventure. But man, what a beautiful day it was, so being the stubborn bare-footer I am, didn't wear them. Not at all :)
Pretty soon we stopped, I was gettin' hot with my clothes on. Changing into the shorts my dad advised me to bring, I also ditched my shirt (keepin' my comfy flannel shirt unbuttoned on at least for a bit longer). Eating half a cliff bar we continued.
Up, up, up.
           After a few stops we found a large rock, that had a nice little seat jutting out. After climbin' around & snapping some photo's we continued our hike. Our legs sore we marched & marched.
Pretty soon we got to some beautiful areas....the path had flattened out a bit which was wonderful to our thighs. The trees at this stretch of the hike were giving off a great vibe. I started hugging them, tall purdy birch trees. Birch are now on my top favorite types of trees to hug. They give fantastic hugs like most trees, but what I found so amazing was their size. Just big enough for a firm hug, but easy to wrap your arms around.
Julien wanted a picture, so I told him to "Get his camera out next time I hug one, which will be soon. I don't really want to pose." And so, around the bend, there was a patch of some sort of leafy thing, that looked utterly gorgeous with the golden sunshine shining down on it. In my nature-loving hippy mood I hugged more trees, to which Jules got photo's of.
  Soon though our trail headed up, up, up again. We passed a fair amount of folks, all pretty friendly.
And then, filling our hearts with joy, we saw blue sky ahead of us. We were so close to the top!
The summit was quite small, but ever so pretty. We threw our packs down & literally flew up a side path to see the best view we could. Sadly, there were a lot of trees all around, and so we only got a small glance at some mountains behind us. After hanging out, we continued on the trail. Julien believed this was not the final peak! He had been here before hiking, and sorta new the area. As we followed the path it took a dive down the mountain. A slow dive, but none the less a descent....where was the peak we were searching for? Looking for answers (and for the kicks) we searched for trees to climb. There were two pines (one for each of us) that looked like they'd give us some sort of answer. I told Julien "To tell my mother I love her" in a dramatic voice that woulda fit some World War 1 movie, and scampered up the tree. Julien's was harder to climb, and he didn't get far. I however, plugged on, and got as high as I could, breathing in one of the best view of the day. Could be my favorite one, due to having to climb through a maze of branches to get that wonderful sight. But, there was some disappointing news for us. We were going downhill, but seemingly would go up a bigger mountain. After climbing down, I took a short video, showing my few cuts from the climb, and showing off the eager yet tired grin of Julien & I.
   The hike up the mountain wasn't as bad as we thought...and quite pretty. Full of moss. How I love moss, that soft delicate green. I'd love to sleep on it for a time...
Climbing through many mossed covered rocks, we were once again rewarded with a fantastic view of the valley & surrounding mountains. There we met two other hikers, two older guys. Chatting for a bit, we all made our descent though on different paths. Julien and I took a path that looked promising & of course pretty.
  Promising for what? adventure of course! It soon looped to the path the old guys took, which then led to a very steep path of rocks. Rocks. Lots of rocks. Now my feet were fine up to this point (the same with the booted Jules) but then they became sore (and Julien's blisters were, driving him blistering mad! ;).
We continued walking down, complaining of the rocks. Julien also was bummed out for this wasn't the path he wanted to take, and we were now not going to stop at the top of the ski area. I could see his spirits dampening, and try to "zen" him out of it, bring him into the now. But then, just as luck would have, he exclaimed that he found the path! "The path to the ski slope man!" He explained. It didn't look like much of a path, but I followed hopefully. And once again, a beautiful view came into our sights. A ski slope in fall.
  That quick sentence doesn't do justice to the spectacular view we saw, and how our hearts were lifted.
"We can make camp at the ski lift stop, it's close." The scruffy faced Julien said pointing to the ski lift line..."We'll just follow it" he said with a grin.  He then had the brilliant idea of climbing up the ski lift pole. We took turns, photographing each other as we climbed to the top (there's a small ladder :).We headed down the steep slope, wide-eyed with goofy grins. The sun was slowly setting to our backs.
  The marvelous "Northside" ski lift was our camp. After arriving, we sat down on one of the lifts and breathed. Julien set up the tent, as I gathered things for a fire. It was a warm night. Cloudless.
With the tent set up thanks to Jules, we gathered a little more firewood, and started a fire.
Wait sorry, did I say start a fire? Oh gee, misspoke there. TRIED. That's the word I was looking for.
We had plenty of canned food, which we could eat cooled, but man, we wanted fire. But fire didn't go.
Now, a little bit of chemistry. When a lighter is punctured, the fluid spews out from the chamber. Very quickly. In fact it shoots out as pressured gas, so the liquid dissipates within seconds. Basically, if you are trying to start a fire, with lighter fluid from cheap little lights, it doesn't work. You spray it everywhere instead.....I'd also advise against taking an axe to a lighter.....not sure were the other half went....
Ahm...noooo waaay maaaan.
  Laughing as we stared at ember & wood....we remember the holy birch tree. "JULIEN, BIRCH.WE NEED BIRCH BARK!" He dived off into the woods and came back with loads. It was time for Fire On The Mountain. "Fire On The Mountain"
  With an actual fire, our spirits flew like an eagle (Fly Like an Eagle-Steve Miller Band)
  We cooked green beans & corn, totally one of the best canned food meals I've ever had. Warm water for our throats, and hot food for our stomach. Mhmm :)
We also cooked up a cold vegetarian stew thing...very tasty!
Julien then mentioned how he wished we had some music. A stero or something.
  Only a couple of minutes later, we heard music. Amazed, we got up from the lift and ran to the slope. Live music, pop stuff. Right at the bottom of the slope. We quickly grabbed what we needed (phone, knife, wallet, water, almonds, boots & flashlights) made sure the cute little fire was out....and ran down the rest of the way. Ran, and uh, jumped. Skipped & slid. It was was wet, grassy, and a bit sharp even (cut off bush stems). I didn't realize how cut up me feet were till we were at the bottom. Oh yeah, if you though I was wearing the boots, nope, a course not man.
  We weren't really sure if it actually was live music, for the songs were different hit pop songs.....As we got closer, we saw tents. Tents & tents. Lots of tents. And a live band. Plus, a big group of people. Mainly kids younger then us, some our age. Lots of Boy Scout uniforms too...
  The band was called The Zoo, "MTV's Cover Band". It was pretty rockin'.
Of course not really my music, but a very fun show! We raved about the chance to pick up chicks as we sprinted down, but soon realized that was that nights fantasy, and another nights adventure. We quickly went up as close as we could to the stage (ditching my boots & Julien's flashlight in a hiding spot) and started to boogie. Of course we also happened to be next to a few girls. Pretty much the only girls there. The band took a set break, and I shat in a portie-pottie. We found out that this was a Boy Scout Jamboree, only happening every 4 years.
  With the music pumping we jumped and dance for a while longer, till the band left.  Calls for an encore came from a few people of the crowd (me included), though most started to leave. The male lead singer came back on, asking if they could do an encore. I screamed a yes (more, more, more! Neither Julien or I wanted to hike up the mountain to camp). The band came back on, doin' a request. Jay-Z. I showed Jules my "gansta hippy dance" and soon realized the song was "New York", the song Mr. Z did with Alicia Keys.
 Alicia Keys performs this on Colbert, my favorite version.
  It was good. At the end, the band was signing posters, and Julien & I hung around watching the crowd & the band. The female singer was super hot, and I found it quite funny how several of their songs (all covers) had sex themes, and this hot lass was shakin' up the stage, to a bunch of 12 year olds. Hee Hee Haw!
We got a photo with the band, though sadly the guitarist snuck away (or so we think). We then became roadies! Alongside the "Service Corps" (a new section of the boy scouts dedicated to helping out with a smile) we packed up the sound stuff. It was a lot of fun.
  Afterwards, we may have almost taken an American flag that was left on the stage, and taken some pop tarts from on of the unlocked buildings. At 1 in the morning, we hiked up to camp.
Gawd, it was hard....but the sleep was sound & good.
Peace & Love,
Liam Here Comes Sunshine
P.S. Occupy Wallstreet is pretty "boss" for a slightly ironic description. Rock on guys!