By Sarah Robison
I Can See Clearly Now
“…the rain is gone. I can see allllllll obstacles in my way! Gone are the daaaark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright, BRIGHT sun shiny day…”, Wallflower and I belted out the Johnny Nash hit on our ascent of Little Haystack Mountain, the 1st of the 3 peaks along Franconia Ridge. This ridgeline mystically arches its spine above tree line for 3 miles lending to the most sought after, and undoubtedly the most iconic, 360 degree views in the White Mountains. Not being one for hiking (I know, I know…), I am most anticipatory of the smell of exhaust fumes. This means that I’m within arm’s reach of town. Of an anchovy pie. Of ginger ale. Of electricity. This said, I’ve dreamt of ambling along this winding pavé since I had learned of the existence of the Appalachian Trail and one’s ability to hike thru. I had studied the reels of YouTubers documenting their time on this very ridge as I contemplated my own attempt. The thought of me, ME, Sarah Elizabeth Robison, having resigned from my earning potential, living outdoors for upwards of 6 months, nearly walking the entire length of the Eastern Seaboard, to find myself walking this line? Huh uh. Not a chance in hell. No way. Yes way. On September 9th, I found myself at mile 1822.9 of my very own Northbound thru hike of the Appalachian Trail at the mouth of the Franconia Ridge. With a visibility of 6 feet. At best. Damn. The fog was so dense that we were going to have difficulty maintaining our sense of direction, let alone seeing the Presidentials or the Kinsmans. Control what you can and accept what you can’t, I repeated over and over with internal dialogue. Similar to what a bride must do when her garden wedding meets a tropical storm. I was wearing my disappointment, but fictional future plans to return to the Ridge next season began to dance in my head.