I lost the bars in my phone soon after leaving the visitor's center. Any pictures taken would have to wait until we got closer into town. We stopped off at Good Food for a couple of sandwiches and admired the deliciousness that seems to fill every corner: fresh pastries and desserts, organic everything, Asian rice noodles, tasty looking wine. What a great store!
We hiked to Table Rock today. I checked for a connection as we changed into hiking gear, but it was exactly 0%. Arg! Pictures would have to suffice on this one. We took the orange route up (steeper..a moderate-difficult hike as I would rate it) and the white Appalachian Train back down again. I found my groove, a good pace that passed two groups of hikers who started ahead of us. Near the top, Dave asked me to slow down. Strange for Dave. I looked back and he looked a little sick. I stopped and we rested a bit before continuing onto a lookout point under some rock to sit. We decided that he was dehydrated and overheating- nauseous. He took off his shirt and I fed him some vitamin water. When he felt recovered, we continued up the mountain at a mellow pace until we got the the caves. Now, it looked like this might have been the summit somehow after all the climbing, but the orange blazes pointed towards another path leading down. Ignoring these, we pulled ourselves up the short and steep sheerish rock to discover a little cavern created by HUGE boulders (well, whatever the next step up from a boulder would be actually) that had falled in such a way that they stayed in place. Awesome. We climed up until we could go to further and I spied a dark hole. There was a rope leading down with loop footholds. I REALLY wanted to head down and explore, but without a flashlight and without knowing how long the possible tunnel extended, I decided against it. But wow. What cave was this? Does anyone know?...
Just a little further ahead, down and then back and back up and around the corner until the Summit. What a treat. I love hikes, but I love a rewarding view at the end. And we were rewarded with a view of 2 other peaks nestled in the clouds and the full valley below. Awesome. I totally recommend this train. We traded taking each other's pics with another group of hikers at the top before descending the much less strenuous AT white blaze route. In fact, Dave and I talked most the way down about random things without thinking too much about footing. It started to rain as we exited the trail and crossed the highway.
Onto the falls...
Back towards town and across the river, a left into a grassy parking lot. We were to meet Daves parents his sister and her man there. They werent there...so we took the opportunity to chow down the sandwiches and swig some hydration. When they finally showed, Dave changed into his swimsuit and we took the trail to Step Falls. There are several swimming areas along the way, but we went all the way to the top and took a swim there. Well, Dave did. I didnt have my suit, so I took pictures as he froze his nuts off the mountain pool. the next swimming hole was a little ways down the falls and much more beautiful. we were the only ones in that area. The rock is sheer, smooth and rolling from years of erosion. Unlike a riverbed full of many stones and boulders, the "bed" was one rolling sheet of granite (i think!) all the way across. (I digress to inform you that there is a spider crawling on the ceiling directly above my head!!!) Like a gently rolling hill..all 1 piece. Anyway, the creek/ river flowing down it was narrow and pooled in places where one can swim. I was able to walk across the dry portion of rock, remove my hot and sweaty hiking boots and wade in up to my knees in the glistening coolness. Dave dove under the surface. We admired the small step falls and the waterslide way the water flew down the rock unto the next pool, overflowing and on into the next. It was paradise. If I were a better writer, I could describe in such a detail that you could see it, but im not...you will have to come to Bethel, Maine and see it for yourself. Paradise. Better than any brochure could possibly be!
(the spider has been smooshed. sorry! :( )
At 4:10pm we realized that we were terribly late for dinner (5pm), so we dried off and sprinted back to the car..managing not twist any ankles on the tree roots that were trying to do just that.
Dinner at the patriarch's house. Good catering. Good deserts. Talk talk. An 8 month old baby was placed on my lap at one point. I sat there holding the wiggley jello ball. Please dont cry, I thought. Please dont puke. Please dont drool on me. She started grabbing her foot. I asked dave about this infant reflect that makes them supinate the ankle. We played with infant reflexes. I gave the baby back to it's owner. about an hour later, the two other kids at the party had latched onto me. We practiced backbends, played soccer...I showed them my secret handshake, gave them some new excuses ("I cant do that..im geting old...") We talked about clouds and how they looked like animals. I was adopted as the new older sister...literally. I was asked if I would sleep with them, drive them home, play with them tomorrow. I decided I must be closer to 9 and 11 than 30. Huh. Dave finally made it clear at 10pm that he REALLY wanted to leave, so I left the youngsters with a promise to see them tomorrow at breakfast. I dont hear any little girl voices from the room next door to us, so I can only assume that I did the parents a favor by wearing them out.
And with that, Im worn out. Its time for bed.
Tomorrow is more family time and then off to Portland to catch a plane back to NYC.
Pictures posted today: visitors center, Table Rock hike, and the cook ole stove and roaring fire at the dinner party.