I can feel the muscles in my shoulders (taut like rope) as I roll my arms forward and back. My knees are heavy with weakness. My head feels fine, body warm, the temperature is 85 degrees farenheit outside, and humid. Cassi and I drove home late last night all the way from Bethlehem, New Hampshire.
Yesterday we drove through the quiet “village” of Bethlehem on our way to route 93, and we saw some odd images: an older man, his beard thick and white, a mustache; a top hat on his head, high, but sinking; a cane in his hand. The sights just kept repeating: a man with his beard braided up like a pony tail, walking beside a woman in old-fashioned looking clothing, something one might wear with a bonnet—heavy skirts and a billowy white shirt and vest, perhaps? I decided it must be a Jewish town, but isn’t that a little ironic—that the town of Bethlehem would contain a neighborhood of the Jewish people?
By night, Route 93 had been dark, the road windy and pitch black, by day, they were the opposite. We were down a twisty roller coaster of sorts, high mountains rising all around us, something out of a Jurassic park scene, and I was aghast. Thick green trees rose up the mountains and laid low at places where gray cliff showed through. These are the White Mountains, I thought to myself.
We had to drive through the little town of Lincoln in order to reach Loon Mountain. We stopped at a bookstore with “free Internet!” and where the sections were spelled out: “Fantacy” among them. We stopped at the “Paper Mill Theater,” and learned that the building was still in use, although the entire back half was basically condemned. That was pretty obvious. It was surprising to see that the building was being used at all—scary, really—seeing as it was in such bad shape and had been built only in 1902. The Half-baked Bread is where I bought a sandwich and we each had a half-made smoothie. (We didn’t expect them to taste half-made.)
Loon Mountain is a thing to experience. The actual entrance is a big thing, advertising resort hotels and horse back rides, rock climbing and bike rentals. I made sure we were there at promptly 9:30, opening time. (The ground had not been good to us, and sleep had been lacking.) Nobody else was there. We bought our Adventure packages and started with the rock wall. It was just like those plastic-things at the fair, but slightly taller and with five sections. Cassi made it up the first (her first full rock-climb!) and I went up the second-easiest. Next I tried wall four while she attempted wall five and failed. Our spotter was very pushy and poor Cassi was like, “well can’t I just stop?” I felt a little guilty about that. She couldn’t get over the ledge. He made me get on her wall after so I could show her how to do it. I’d never done it before, but I made it! SO I climbed three rock walls: one-after-another. He tried to push me to climb the challenging wall, but I was SO beat, my fingers, my toes, my upper arms and shoulders.
The jumpy-thing was boring and terrible. It gave us intense, UTI-causing wedgies, and neither of us could do a flip. The harness came up to our chests, pushing my breasts out and making me look ridiculous. The game was short-lived.
Biking. We were given some silver-colored helmets and each chose a hot-blue boys’ bike, with the little hole in the middle (for the testes?) We rode straight up past the condos, past side streets, past little parking lots where we would sometimes stop to rest. But we went high—lowest gear possible, up that road, until finally, Cassi said, isn’t this it? And we turned off on Bear Road or something like that. It was downhill and glorious, and dizzy-Cassandra wasn’t so dizzy anymore.
We came to a left-right choice. Cassi went left, I went right, noticing the big beautiful log home on the hill. I called her over and she came. (She was exhausted and all ready to go, but came anyway.) Some guy in a golf cart offered us cold waters and a tour of the house on the hill. There was a glorious kitchen-living room, big windows, a view of all the mountains across from Loon Mountain. The bedrooms were small but nice, the bathrooms had showers only. The big room led out onto a wooden deck, great for parties and things. Downstairs, there were more bedrooms and a bathtub. Out on the back deck there was a Jacuzzi or a hot tub. They were building houses like this one all the way down the road. The price? $1.8 million.
In the garage he showed us part of a house soon to be begun. It was to be in the traditional log-cabin home, and the corner was full wood, but the length and width logs were thin, filled in with, instead of wood, this foamy, insulation-type material. He called it “green.”
We thanked him profusely for the water (and the chance to break). He told us if we kept going down this slant-like hill we would find the biking paths.
Sure enough, there they were, so down “Serendipity” we went. There were many stones, large and small, and dips (some filled with puddles) and it was actually quite fun and frightening. We stopped to rest again at this big stone bench, and we went out on the Saco river to just relax. Soon we headed back, and coming up the slanted hill was a lot easier than I had expected—and we were back down to the adventure area in only a few minutes.
The gondola ride isn’t much more than a mile long. The guy at its peak said it was either 900 or 9000 feet tall. There were caves on top of the mountain, but they weren’t very much fun since Cassi had grabbed her 11-pound backpack and the squeezes were tight and moist. Just like the rain we had the night before.