Boy, was I surprised. I hiked up the spine of Papasay Ridge in Tettegouche State Park, and what I saw was not at all what I'd expected. The spur trail to the view went away from the lake and toward...what? Instead of one more view of one of Tettegouche's many inland lakes, I saw a ridge stretching out for ten miles.
This was in the last few miles of #50 of the 50 hikes I've done for the new book, Hiking the North Shore. I was already feeling nostalgic, proud and tired.
Then I figured out what I was seeing. Along this ridgeline were summits and ridgelines I had hiked over the last two years. There was the wind turbine of Wolf Ridge. Behind it and to the right was the crest of "Fantasia." Off to the left were the cliffs of Sawmill Dome and from my hike to Section 13.
Way off to the left, tucked inside the rolling terrain, was the Humpback Trail at Crosby Manitou State Park.
No, I wasn't dying. I'd been living...a lot. All in a rush, some of the best of the 50 hikes I've just completed played themselves back like a GPS-enabled videotape on fast forward.
I can hardly wait to package up all these hiking experiences into a book. It will feel like a big chunk of my life has wrapped itself up neatly. The North Shore has so many great adventures, and I've been so fortunate to have the time and resources to get out there and experience at least 50 of them.