“Grandpa!” Izzy exclaimed. “We made it. We’re almost to the top.”
She soon learned how wrong she was but continued merrily along. At that point, they met a woman with her daughter who was about Izzy’s age. The two of them hit it off and walked along together, even playing hopscotch on the rocks.
They had reached timberline and found that the next two hours of the climb was over large rocks and heavy boulders. They finally topped out at 12:30 p.m. It had taken them five hours to reach the summit, gaining over 4,200 feet in elevation. The temperature up there was 40 degrees with a strong wind, so the wind chill made it feel even cooler.
As I watched some video clips of their trip, I asked about a noise in the background.
“Just me,” George replied with a chuckle. “I was trying to catch my breath.”
Once on top, they had three choices. They could take the shuttle back down at $30 a person, try to hitch a ride with someone or hike back down the mountain. They chose the last but found that going down was somewhat harder than going up. It puts a lot of strain on your knees.
They decided to take the trail down through Tuckerman’s Ravine but were a little hesitant on the high, narrow section above the waterfalls.
The hikers finally reached their starting point — a mere four hours later. The up-and-down trip totaled nine hours. Both George and Izzy agreed that it was a wonderful experience, but it also was a long, six-hour ride back home.
When I talked with them Tuesday, Izzy was still excited about the climb. She can’t wait to do it again.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at email@example.com.