On Wednesday, we made a visit to the popular and very crowded Bubble Rock, a glacial erratic, carried 19 miles and deposited precariously on the side of South Bubble near the summit (766′). It’s a short hike, about 0.4 miles up the Bubbles Divide Trail and then 0.3 miles to the summit, mostly granite steps or expanses of smooth granite incline, not particularly difficult terrain, but enough to get the heart pounding. We took the picture (without the overdone “trying to push the boulder off the mountain” shot) and got the heck out of there, as we had plenty of company. Instead of continuing down the other side of the trail, we backtracked to the Divide Trail, which we rarely ever do, but the trail guide indicated some difficult sections that may be unsuitable for Chloë. Besides, this was supposed to be an easy day on our third hiking day in a row, ankles and knees were starting to suffer.
As we were on the way down, we passed a girl, maybe seven or eight years old, hiking up the trail toward the summit with her family. She had an athletic-style prosthetic leg with the flexible foot. Mark and I glanced at each other in a moment of shared shame and, once they were past, I muttered, “no more bitching today, please.” Recovering, I said a silent thank you for my many blessings and that someone invented magic legs for tough little girls to climb mountains.
We made it down to the Divide Trail and continued down the backside towards Jordan Pond. This, actually, was the most difficult part, with a cascade of boulders seemingly straight down for 0.3 miles, a real knee killer. Not that I am complaining. We turned and went around the west side of Jordan Pond, crossing a small creek. Mark said the bridge was better than mine the day before because it was an “engineered” bridge. I said, “Fine, go get on the bridge, you’re getting your picture taken.” Chloë was no more impressed with the engineered bridge.
The north end of Jordan Pond is mostly gravel or pine chat path right along the shore: level, shady and pleasant. Except for the many roots and rocks to trip you up when you aren’t paying attention because, hey, this is an easy one right? We stopped along the edge of the water, under the shade of some cedar trees to have our lunch. Farther on, the trail became more rocky, with sections of granite to negotiate, right at the water’s edge. It’s not unusual to see people on the trails with walking sticks or trekking poles. We approached a short rocky portion and a woman at the other end with a walking stick seemed to move slightly off the path. As we got closer, she called out, “Is someone there?” It was then I noticed that her walking stick was white. It seemed she could see us, or at least our movement, once we were right in front of her, but not much more. We stopped to chat for a moment, then got out of the way so she could continue her hike. She appeared to be alone.
Mark and I, again, laughed at ourselves and wondered if someone was trying to tell us something. The trail continued to get rockier and ended with long stretches of narrow planks set across some marshy spots. We marveled at how the blind woman had bravely traveled so far, when I nearly went down every time my eyes left the path in front of me. I had my second humble, “you go, girl!” moment of the day.