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August 24, 2012

Hiking up Mount Marcy was worth the weight


The Daily Star —

Having youth on their side, the kids were far ahead of the rest of us, but there was no hurry. We took our time, enjoyed the scenery and finally reached the bald, rocky summit of the mountain by lunchtime.

Patches of snow still lingered among the rocks high above timberline. Only mosses and lichens survived at that altitude, and even they had trouble because of the cold, harsh winters. We stayed on the marked trail and soon found a place to sit and eat our lunch.

No one said a word as Jim searched through his backpack for his lunch. We all ate quietly and watched as he dug down beneath his sleeping bag and other gear.

He finally got near the bottom of his bag and discovered our little joke, pulling out a 10-pound dumbbell weight. The expression on his face was priceless. The rest of us had all we could do to suppress the laughter.

Jim was a good sport about it. He never said a word as he pulled out his lunch and replaced the odd mass of heavy iron to the bottom of his pack. With a smile and quiet laughter, I knew it was only a matter of time before he got even.

I don’t know what jokes were played on other trips because I left teaching to follow my dreams soon after that. I stayed in touch with some of those folks for a few years, but no one ever spoke about those trips.

But as I’ve hiked through those beautiful mountains, I’ve often wondered — with a little smile — if Jim ever had his revenge.

Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at

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