Forum Replies Created
SoloJoeSeptember 26, 2009 at 12:25 amPost count: 1
John’s TR may be a little late, but he was right on time Saturday, Sept. 12, and, I must add, totally prepared.
He’s an exceptional leader.
I awoke in my tent at Hancock CG, a stone’s throw from our meeting point, and rolled into the Lincoln Woods VC lot at 6:50 a.m. John had a van, choice mountain bikes, sundry gear, a 21-foot telescopic pole, and, most important, Old Glory. We waited for fellow participants until 7:30 before setting out, just the two of us, on the LW Trail, riding the initial three miles on two-wheelers. As this is my first year participating in FOT48, I intended to pick a peak that I could include on my NH48. But after hearing that John wanted to bike the opening and closing 3-mile legs, which is verboten viz a viz the official list, I realized his plan would enable me to undertake the journey strictly for the sake of FOT48, a truly impressive collective effort that stands far higher on the importance scale than my solo pursuits.
How did I land such an awesome gig as roadie for Owl’s Head? I e-mailed the FOT48 committee and told them I wanted to help a peak coordinator who, it seemed, would be traveling alone. I chose the longest trip on purpose, and SilentCal hooked me up with John, who, I later learned, had deliberately picked a tough assignment after leading a group up the North Tri Slide last year.
The trip to Owl’s Head and back was a lot of fun, but it was the people who made it great.
We met a couple of old-school hikers along the way, Bud and Steve, who, though they hadn’t signed up, happily assisted. And I got to hear a little about a big trek they made back in 1976 from Baxter to Killington that took a month to complete.
Nathan and Lesley, a pair of hikers who signed up the day before, caught us at the junction with the slide and passed me a third of the way up. Photos were shot at the summit, and around 1 p.m. a couple of more hikers, Nancy and Mike, joined us. It was No. 44 on Nancy’s NH48 list, so we congratulated her (they didn’t ride bikes) and she shared stories of her quest. A quartet of Dartmouth guys also supported the cause, one of whom hails from a town near where I live in central Jersey.
Along the trail, though, I put my head down and embraced a somber mood. I did my tiny part in the name of two dudes who had gigantic spirits: my sister-in-law’s brother and my racquetball partner, David Laychak, an incredibly noble and honorable man whose office on the E ring of the Pentagon was directly hit; and a friend I worked with in New York, Wayne Hobson, an amazing guy with endless energy whose day job was with Cantor Fitzgerald but who also ran his own bar/restaurant in Hoboken during his “spare” time. These two people, each in his own way, were truly great individuals. I may not have actually felt their spirits in the air, but I did feel the indomitable spirit of our country flow through the incredibly moving spirit of this annual event known as Flags on the 48.
I look forward to visiting Owl’s Head again soon, perhaps even this winter, and walking the entire 19-plus miles R/T as part of my NH 48. As for next year’s FOT48, I’ll go wherever John goes.
I believe it’s important in life to learn how to choose and follow the right lead/leader.