Dan Szczesny – Journalist / Author

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Mt. Major Training



July 23, 2016

Atop Mt. Major, Baby U grabs a rock and looks out over the long rocky summit toward Lake Winnipesaukee, and points. “Paa” she says over and over, “paa, paa!” Pani is Nepali for water and that’s how she’s learned the word, but she wants to throw the stone into the water and it takes us a moment to realize she hasn’t quite got the whole perspective thing down pat yet.


Baby U’s first stream crossing! Pic by the great one himself, Neil Lovett!

It took us nearly two hours to get her up the 1.7 easy miles to the 1,785 foot summit, not because she had a hard time. In fact, she loved it. Rather, her daddy’s knees took a little longer than usual to get used to the 40 wiggling pounds on his back. It was slow going here on our first real mountain, our first real training session to begin to prepare for the year on Mt. Washington. One of the trips I hope to take next year is to carry the toddler up. Looks like I’m going to need to work a bit harder!

But once there, along with a team of close and new friends, the summit is ours – that is, along with the easily 100 or so other hikers out enjoying this easy, open mountain with wide-ranging views. The day is hot, but the breeze coming in off the lake is steady and there’s so many dogs up there (including the three in our party) that the baby runs from one to the other fearlessly trying to pet or ride them, or both.

This was a test, of course. Of the backpack carrier. Of the baby. Of our ability to do this again after so long a hiatus. And I’ll say this; we are only as strong as those around us. In order for me to make the Mt. Washington adventure happen, I’m going to need help. From the others on our team that waited and encouraged us, to Neil, our team leader who organized the climb to Stephen who made Baby U a stone token from a rock at the summit, lesson number 1, stick close to your friends. There’s an old proverb that says if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together. On Saturday, Baby U tagged the summit of her first real mountain, but she didn’t go alone. Not by a long shot!


Members of the Mt. Major Team huddle for a pic. Many thanks to Stephen, Neil, Mark, Peter, Meena, Val and Simona and her awesome kids. Also, Maggie and Dylan and Bella, the pups! And thank you to the rest not shown, Marianne and Julie!

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