Every Columbus Day, my friends and I drive to the White Mountains to twist ourselves into pretzels. Yoga and hiking dominate our annual retreat, and on the hikes at lesat, hats are generally involved. It’s rained on our hikes, even hailed; this year, I couldn’t strip off enough layers and contemplated plunging into the cold river.
We did yoga in the morning, chowed on breakfast, hiked, collapsed, did restorative yoga, ate dinner, read, and hit the sack at a luxuriously early time. We’re always a smidge late for the foliage, but this year, we were a smidge too early; or the rainy season has thrown the trees off their schedule. But the views weren’t too tough to take.
This hike was so strenuous, I barely made the .9 portion before turning back and opting to lounge in the sun with a book about an owl, which seriously, was riveting and a lot easier on the calves.
Barely an hour into our first night, and safely ensconced in the dining hall of the AMC Highland Lodge, we were up and out of our chairs, pressed to the window to watch a black bear ambling by. Its dark furry coat and tan snout was quintessential teddy bear. Two arriving yogis outside, unaware of the bear 20 feet away, thought those of us at the window were waving hello, leading us to invent the universal sign for “bear” (hands raised like claws while snarling).