We cruised through the jumble of boulders that fill the basin of Mahoosic Notch. The kids jumped, scurried and scrambled over, around and through them. Orion, with his pads toughened by almost two thousand miles of trail, scrambled and scratched his way up steep slopes and fearlessly charged head-first down and around the granite obstacles in his path.
We climbed out of the notch and over Old Speck, the sky unable to make up its mind between burst of sunshine punctuated by hail and spitting rain. Grandpa Pete met us in Grafton Notch to hike with us the north side of the notch past Table Rock and up the Baldpates. My first trip on the Appalachian Trail was riding up to Table Rock at four months of age, sitting in the top pocket of Grandpa Pete’s army green Kelty external farm pack, grasping the top rung of the frame with my tiny hands. Grandpa Pete brought that same pack with him this time around. While I could still grasp the handle bar of the frame, no longer can I fit comfortably in the small pocket between his shoulder blades.