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Humor Columnist Sheila Moss
© 2012 by Sheila Moss
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Goodbye to Leaf Peeping
I didn’t set off any more car alarms, but I did get in the wrong car. I ran out in the rain opened the door to a car of the same color that was parked next to ours. “Hello,” said a lady inside. “Whoops, so sorry, your car looks just like ours.” Seems I’m determined to be embarrassed to death by rental cars.
We were getting tired of “leaf peeping” as the locals called it when you view the fall color, and it was raining again. We went to a railroad museum and made a few pictures while trying to avoid being trampled by tourists getting on the train or being run over by a train while we were crossing the tracks from the parking lot.
After that we looked for an Audubon trail and couldn’t find it, but figured the birds were probably hiding from the rain anyhow. Even the Chamber of Commerce was closed. Finally, we decided to call the day a rainout and go shopping at a crafts store.
“I have been to the mountain top,” Dr. Martin Luther King said. And the next day I could say it too. There is a mountain in New Hampshire called Mt. Washington that is supposed to be the third tallest peak east of the Mississippi. To get to the top, you can drive or take a cog railroad. I wanted to take the railroad. Everyone else wanted to drive.
It was a narrow, winding road, so steep a mountain goat would say, “No thanks.” But here we were, driving along with sheer cliffs straight up on one side and straight down on the other and one wheel hanging its toes over the side of the road.
I promised God when we drove to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado years ago that if I got down alive, I would never do such a thing again. But here I was, doing it again – different mountain – same thing.
At a certain elevation the paved road ended and became dirt, “no traction,” I surmised. When we finally made it to the top, we were in the clouds and you couldn’t see a thing – same as Pike’s Peak. So, what’s the point of risking your life? Don’t ask me. I’m just grateful that God didn’t hold me to my promise.
It is said that people have raced up and down the mountain road. Horses, wagons, and carriages drove it in the olden days. I feel sorry for any horse that had to pull a wagon up that steep grade. Today buses and motorcycles take it on.
Why do men climb mountains? Because they are there, it is said. I’m a flat-lander myself.
The next day it was raining again. Does it ever stop raining in New Hampshire? The group went on yet another hike at a place called the Flume, apparently a big tourist stop for buses and international visitors. The hikers came back from the trail soaking wet again.
Good news, I finally saw a moose, except it was a stuffed one in the visitors’ center. Best I could do.
At last we did something I wanted to do, which was visit the home of poet Robert Frost, who once lived in the area. It was a simple farm house with wood floors and sparse furniture. It had a big stone fireplace and one area was roped off for the poet-in-residence to live. Each year a poet is selected to live for a year and be inspired. It would have been nice visit if it wasn’t so wet.
We decided not to stay long as it was late and we had “miles to go before we sleep.” (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one.) Good thing as we went the wrong direction and ended up in Vermont, driving in circles for about an hour. Eventually we found our way back, driving more winding mountain roads at night.
By the time we got back, I was happy to pack my suitcase and say goodbye to fall leaves, covered bridges, mountain roads and rain.
Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss