Sunday, April 20, 2008

Back home on the Appalachian Trail

We were in Hanover, New Hampshire, over part of the weekend, and we stepped over to the corner by the Inn, where this plaque is fixed in the sidewalk.

Stepping a few feet to the east (the plaque in the sidewalk is straight ahead), and looking back west, West Wheelock Street is coming up the hill toward us to the traffic signals. From the Ledyard Bridge at the bottom of that hill, crossing the Connecticut River from Vermont, the AT follows the white blazes on the telephone poles up to Main Street. (I lived in that brick house across the street when I was 20 and 21—surely the best year of my youth. Whenever I crest West Wheelock onto the Hanover Plain, I feel like I’m back home.)

From there, the AT turns south down yuppified but still pleasant Main Street...

...before taking the first left, out Lebanon Street, edging a college playing field, heading into the woods, turning back generally north, and beginning an increasingly challenging introduction to the hills and mountains that make the New Hampshire section of the trail the best.

The trees hadn’t yet leafed out, but this warm and sunny spring day brought students out onto the Green in force to sunbathe, toss a frisbie, or just loll about.

It was good to be home.

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