This morning, after breaking camp at the Lafayette Place Campground in Franconia Notch, NH, I found myself unable to resist the little brown signs beside our campsite with yellow letters reading “Lonesome Lake Trail —>”
I’m a sucker for a —>, so, turning to Christophe, I asked if he was interested in a hike. His words said, “…yeeeess?” but his face said, “Please God no. Didn’t we just hike yesterday? How can I get out of this?” So, I let him off the hook and Malcolm, Simon and I followed the —>.
The trail was easy to start, and populated by only a few other hikers. Then came a series of switchbacks and steep climbs, and several obnoxious people long on expensive gear and short on fitness. Fortunately, I found my own fitness to be spectacular since becoming a runner, and I was easily up to the task of carrying 40 pounds of Simon on my shoulders for the duration of the trip. Malcolm strode up the incline like a natural, with only occasional stops for water and to tearfully sob, “I want to see Lonesome Lake, but I’m not sure I can!” He could. We made it up to Lonesome Lake Hut in about two hours.
Here, let me pause to cite a few points of trail decorum:
1) While hiking, don’t play a radio in your backpack that everyone else can hear. Your music is probably crappy and is not why we climbed 1,000 feet up the side of a mountain.
2) Don’t let your poorly trained, unleashed dog steal some five year old’s only snack. It’s his only snack up here! (Nope, not Malcolm; I punched that dog in the throat when it lunged for our only snacks.)
Lonesome Lake is beautiful, especially the boggy areas on its far side, which you get to traverse via narrow bog bridges that kids love. We circumnavigated the lake and headed back down the way we came up. Malcolm took some serious diggers, gouging both his palms, but he rallied every time. We passed tons of people coming up (I advise you to hike to Lonesome early in the morning if you are a misanthrope like I am) and my heart swelled with pride as we approached the trail head again. I reached up to high five Simon (still on my shoulders) and then turned to Malcolm. He hesitated to raise his bandaged hand, saying, “Mom. This hike was not a complete success.” No? I asked him. “No. There was some whining on the way up.” Aside from this crushing failure, seen as only a first born child can see it, I felt parental exhilaration over our 4 hour tour.
Feeling a great deal of hunger and the familiar heaviness in my legs that only comes from slogging up and down mountains, I stopped to get us lunch in Lincoln, NH at a place called Gypsy Cafe. The service was a bit sluggish at first, but the food was fresh and even friendly to us pseudo-vegans. Spicy corn cakes, hummus, baba ghanouj and olives for me and Simon; a tomato and lettuce sandwich for less daring Malcolm. Yet he’s already begging to go back. Must have been some mighty fine lettuce.
The Lonesome Lake/Gypsy Cafe combo would have been excellent as a day trip. But we were camping in the Whites for two days. So what did we do yesterday? That is a story for another time, and another blog post. Stay tuned.