Weekend of 04JUN11

Weekend of 04JUN11

Friday - 
I can't sit still.  I can't focus, I can't get anything done.  Work was 
just not happening Friday afternoon, so I kicked out from my desk a bit 
early and biked back to my place to finish some last-minute packing and 
prep work for the weekend.  I had talked to Allison (If I haven't 
mentioned her; a girl I met years ago, but never got to know.  She'd j
ust recently re-entered my life in a rather spectacular way, and was 
now spending a good third of the week at my place) about this weekend, 
and pretty much everything was ready and planned; I was going to meet 
her at NEU, we'd pick up her hiking boots from her folks house, and then 
we'd drive up to the Loj for some adventure.  It all went off smoothly 
enough (only a few wrong turns), and we were on I-93N heading for 
Das Loj!

We stopped in at Hannafords to pick up groceries and get some quick 
"Extra dinner" food.  The stop went quickly enough, and we picked up 
everything we needed within half an hour, including an extremely tasty 
Teriyaki steak dinner that we split while we drove.  Food plans were 
unique, but fairly simple; Bacon and Eggs for breakfast, PB&J wraps for 
lunches, and Shrimp Scampi over Linguini for dinner.  With the food 
procured and the car re-packed, we drove the rest of the way to the loj 
in rather impressive time, arriving about half an hour before midnight.

After arriving, we packed away our food and I did a bit of tour-guiding 
for Allison, since it was her first time up at the Loj.  After the 
grand tour had been given, we relaxed inside for a bit, hanging out 
with everyone and drinking a bit of mead from the bottles I had left 
in the Loj in the previous months.  We were tired though, so we pulled 
a mattress out to the back deck, zipped our sleeping bags together, and 
made ourselves comfortable for the night.

Saturday -
Bugs.  Lots of flying, landing, itching and stinging bugs.  Biting my 
face and ears, refusing to be swatted away.  My morning started off 
with a splat as I smashed an early-rising mosquito against my cheek, 
flailing my arms around myself.  Allison and I quickly got our gear 
together and went back inside the Loj where it was safe, though we 
could still see the horde of bugs buzzing around outside the screen 
door.  We shrugged off the few crawlies that had stayed on our clothes, 
and proceeded towards the goal of BREAKFAST.

Our breakfast was a quick set of scrambled eggs and a few slices of 
Bacon, after which we quickly packed our bags up for the day, filled 
our waterbottles and stowed our lunches.  We headed down the cars a 
bit late, around 9:30 or so, and were on the trail by 10:00.  

I had picked out the Baldface Loop as a good first hike for Allison 
and I, seeing as we're both in pretty good shape, and I wanted to make 
sure we stayed out from the Loj for most of the day.  I've been biking 
fairly constantly, and Allison is a rather skilled dancer, so I figured 
something a bit tough would be a good challenge for us, and it would 
leave us quite sweaty by the time we hit the Emerald Pool at the end 
of the trial.  

The approach to the Baldface Shelter took us a fairly considerable 
amount of time, not too surprising seeing as it was one of the steeper 
parts that we'd deal with that day.  We stopped and had a quick early 
lunch around 11:30, and then pushed through for the summit of South 
Baldface.  The hike up to the first false-summit was quite excellent, 
with a lot of rock scrambling and 4th-class adventure.  Allison wasn't 
really used to it unfortunately, but the rock climber in me was having 
a blast, and I was actually enjoying helping her out with the steeper 
sections.  We summited South Baldface a bit after 12:30, and hung out 
with a pretty cool couple who was out collecting Moose Antlers; turns 
out a good set of antlers can go for updawards of $500, so... anyone 
out of a job, may as well take a look, right?  After our short break 
there, we continued along the perfect ridgeline, aimed at North 

The rest of the hike went pretty quickly, since it was a fairly good 
ratio of "up" to "down" hiking.  We did meet a cool AMC group on North 
Baldface who was clearing some of the trails, so we stopped for a bit 
to hang out with them before pushing through to Eagle Crag.  We took 
the Bicknell trail down, stopping by the waterfalls before re-uniting 
with the Baldface circle trail headed back to the car.  The main event 
came at Emerald Pool though, where we stopped in to get rinsed off 
from the hike.

There was a mother-son group already at the pool when we arrived, 
trying to decide where it was safe to jump in, if it was even safe to 
jump at all.  I had seen lots of people jumping in before, so I had a 
good idea where to go, though I had always just walked in myself.  So 
after a quick look at the water, decided that now was as good a time as 
ever to try jumping.  With my best "I know what I'm doing" face firmly 
in place, I stepped up to the cliff above the water, looked around, 
said "yeah, I think this is good", and jumped.

Ice.  Freezing.  Antarctic. AIR.  It felt like I was submerged for an 
hour before I finally broke the surface and started swimming towards 
the shore.  The water was beautiful, but ice cold, so I wasted no time 
in pulling myself up onto the rocks next to Allison, curling up around 
her bikini-clad body for warmth.  After I jumped the guy who had been 
debating jumping had his hand forced; so he reluctantly stepped up to 
the cliff, looked around, tore his shirt off, and jumped in while 
yelling something I can't remember.  He surfaced nearly immediately, 
and as he swam towards shore I could see the same "get me out of here!" 
look in his eyes that I had only moments before.  We all sat and 
chatted for a bit before he toweled off, and headed back towards the 
main trail.

Allison and I stayed for a moment or two more, and then made our way 
back to the car, planning out how we were going to spend the rest of 
the evening.  As soon as we got back to the Loj we pulled the shrimp 
out of the freezer and started them thawing, giving us enough time to 
curl up on the couch and take a quick nap.  Our nap ended up lasting 
until the rest of the NUHOCers had served their dinner, after which the 
kitchen was empty and ready for us to cook dinner ourselves.  Allison 
took the lead, making one of the best seafood dishes I've had to date; 
an amazing Shrimp Scampi in a Ravenswood white wine sauce.  

We ate our dinner, drank the remainder of our wine, and relaxed for a 
few hours as the sun finished its progression through the sky, setting 
over the mountains outside the Loj.  Dinner was epic, and I learned a 
new fact about my friend; Allison is an incredible lightweight when it 
comes to wine.  After the glass each that we had, she was starting to 
get silly.  After the second, she was downright giggly, in a fairly 
impressive way.  After we cleared the table I guided my giggling 
friend outside to the fire, where we had a bit of mead (the extra 
booze brought her from "giggling" into "happy and content" mode, which 
was quite perfect for hanging out around the fire.  

We made S'Mores, hung out, and enjoyed the company of everyone around 
the fire until late into the evening.  At one point we were visited by 
a rather fat raccoon, which some of the NUHOCers chased into a tree, 
but overall the evening was a perfect example of why I love the Loj; 
relaxed, chilled out, and very happy.  Allison and I headed to bed a 
bit earlier than the others, bringing the sleeping bags inside this 
time instead of braving the morning mosquitos like the day before.

Sunday - 
Sunday started our a little less lazy than Saturday had, since we were 
aiming to get back to Boston as soon as possible, since Allison needed 
to get some serious studying in.  We made another breakfast of Bacon 
and Eggs, helped clean up the Loj a bit before the SOLO instructors 
arrived, and then got on the road before 9:30.  We stopped for a lunch 
break at Tilton Diner, figuring correctly that we were going to need 
our energy up for the rest of the ride into Boston.  And we did need 
that energy.

Traffic going into the city was amazingly bad; we spent a good hour 
stuck trying to get from 93 S to Storrough.  Once we finally made it 
back to my place we were restless, tired, sticky and sweaty; so we 
quickly unloaded the car, stripped down, and jumped into the shower.  
The cold water was amazing, and by the time we were out we had cooled 
all the way back down to April weather.  After an hour or so's worth 
of napping we powered up the computer and pulled up netflix, and 
decided on watching a movie from the year before that I had heard many 
good things about; Easy A.

The movie was excellent, but by the time it was over the early afternoon 
had already worn by, and it was time for Allison to be brought home.  I 
dropped her off at her dorm with a kiss, and then headed back to my 
place to spend the rest of the night playing video games, unpacking,
 and getting ready for the week.  I headed to bed early Sunday, not yet 
nearly ready for the work week ahead of me...

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