It was my first real hike alone, in the Whites. Admittedly it wasn't Washington, or even Lafayette, but ascending fifteen-hundred feet was not exactly easy for this novice.
The path itself was just a little shy of two miles long from trailhead to the summit, and I enjoyed the early easy-going, although the bear claw imprint on an ash tree supplied adrenaline enough.
As the incline increased, I felt my heartbeat do the same, and as it increased even more, my backpack and my breathing got a little heavy. By the time I reached the top, I was literally a mess; sweat had soaked my t-shirt through and through.
But there atop the granite features they call Indian Head, I could see the notch below in all its mirroring the humble genius of an ancient glacier's flow. I thought of subsequent Abenaki tribes who traveled through that very valley giving thanks and praying to the silent peaks above them.
And then I saw the spirit of our age emerge from out behind a thicket. He was carrying a can of beer and smoking a cigarette, so cool there wasn't any sign of sweat about him. "Hey man," he laughed, "don't go spiriting away my valuable point of view."