The trail is a mix of gravel and dirt. Pine seedlings, high grass and ferns flank it on both sides. Morse mountain starts more evenly than Madonna. Until we come to the first rise. Then the trail just keeps on ascending.
mist on Madonna breathing hard around another bend
Mira recognizes the summit. Top of the Notch is to our left, with its peeling white and red paint. Just beyond it, the top of the Sterling Lift. Looking back, we see the resort, Jeffersonville and the surrounding mountains on our final approach.
Along the way, we encounter a couple, then their great nephew. He shows us quartz laying all over. Resort Maintenance crews detonated the ground to widen the trail. Mira picks up some samples. I lower my pack for her to store them, but she holds them, instead. We part and head to the lift platform.
Sitting on rocky ground, I realize that my sunglasses are gone. She and I search for them, separately and together, from the trail to the quartz. Nothing.
cloud cover someone places sunglasses in a pocket
We see Sterling Pond again. This time, we take a selfie on the boulder along the shore.
birchwood on the beach rising above water Madonna
A different way down. Steep declines on loose-stone trails, cutaways through high grasses. They all lead to a manicured path under the ski lift—all the way back to Sterling Base.
saplings running between trails a rain-soaked creek
Mountainside. Frankie and I tumult down the tube slide. Then dunk each other in the pool.
sunlight across rippling water he slurps a smoothie
Our Smuggs last supper: Brewster River Brewery. Hot wings appetizer. A Belgian-style ale. Delicious burgers. Raucous laughter from across the bar.
moon almost full Frankie tearing-up at bedtime
Photo by adrian
first published in Image Curve, August 15, 2019