Camp Savta 2014: Days 5 – 7: Hiking Black Cap Mountain

The 4 year old had no trouble reaching the top of Black Cap.

The 4 year old had no trouble reaching the top of Black Cap.

Although we had taken several long walks, my 12-year-old grandson suggested that we take a “real” hike, saying, “how can we say we’ve been to Maine and that we didn’t go on a hike?”  He remembered last year’s hike to Black Cap Mountain and wanted to repeat it.  It was easy to see why.  Black Cap Mountain is a great introduction to hiking for children.  It’s not long – only 1.3 miles each way – and the ascent is steadily upward enough to make kids put forth a bit of effort, but not so steep that it’s a killer.  Really, a two-year-old can do this hike (but be prepared to carry your kid part of the way if they tire easily).  It’s also suitable for older people – – I was privileged one day to witness a 94-year-old woman make the ascent.

They all made it to the top!

They all made it to the top!

 

Besides the beautiful view, you are looking at a very special 8 year old.  She experienced some serious orthopedic problems in her legs, which resulted in her legs being casted for several months, as well as physical therapy 3x a week.  She had only gotten these casts off a couple of weeks before the trip to Maine, and the fact that she made it to the top of the mountain when her legs were weaker than normal only shows the incredible determination and strength of character of this kid!  She never complained throughout her ordeal, either.

Besides the beautiful view, you are looking at a very special 8 year old. She experienced some serious orthopedic problems in her legs, which resulted in her legs being casted for several months, as well as physical therapy 3x a week. She had only gotten these casts off a couple of weeks before the trip to Maine, and the fact that she made it to the top of the mountain when her legs were weaker than normal only shows the incredible determination and strength of character of this kid! She never complained throughout her ordeal, either.  Thank G-d she is fine now and back to normal.

It's always more fun to go down the trail than up!

It’s always more fun to go down the trail than up!  The little kid in the center is only 2.

To get to Black Cap Mountain, one goes through the town of North Conway in New Hampshire, then heads over to Kearsage Rd to Hurricane Mountain Road.  Hurricane Mountain Road is what they call a “seasonal” road, meaning it is not maintained (plowed) in winter and as such it is gated closed after the summer season.  It’s extremely steep but the paved asphalt road is very well maintained for the heavy tourist traffic it receives in the summertime.  Don’t even think of trying the road if you have a monster RV, but cars and motorcycles aren’t a problem.

The dirt parking lot for Black Cap Mountain is at the highest point on Hurricane Mountain Road.  (You can continue further on Hurricane Mountain Road all the way to the bottom on the other side, if you want to do a pretty country drive).  The ascent is steep in places but gradual.  Once you get to the top, the views are stupendous of the White Mountains, plus the town of North Conway in New Hampshire.  You can also see Maine and the many lakes of the Western District to the east and south.  It’s also a great place to visit during leaf-peeping season.

After we finished the hike, we made our way to Lovell Library where the kids checked out plenty of books to keep them busy over Shabbat.  We also managed to have another kayaking expedition and swim in Kewaydin Lake.  This would be our last day of activities in Maine, since Shabbat was coming and on Saturday night after havdala (the short prayer ceremony that bodes farewell to the Sabbath and ushers in the new week), everyone would be packing up and my daughter would make the long drive back to Baltimore.  My husband and I spent Saturday taking a long walk of 2 miles with the kids (now that they were seasoned hikers) near our house so our daughter could have an hours-long uninterrupted nap, in preparation for the coming drive.  She would be the sole driver with 9 kids in the car (seven of hers plus 2 nieces).  The plan was to leave by 9:30 p.m. and arrive at her home early the next morning (it’s a 10.5 hour drive on average, but that’s without kids).   A babysitter had already been arranged in her hometown so that my daughter could sleep and recover from the journey upon her arrival.  The hope was that the kids would sleep through the night in the car, and fortunately, they did.  Fewer bathroom stops meant much better time – – she was able to complete the trip in only 9 hours and 45 minutes, which is practically a record.

Havdala ceremony says goodbye to the Sabbath and ushers in a new week.

Havdala ceremony says goodbye to the Sabbath and ushers in a new week.

9:30 pm and the 12-passenger van is packed to the hilt as we say our goodbyes.

9:30 pm and the 12-passenger van is packed to the hilt as we say our goodbyes.

Oh – remember that rash that my daughter had (see previous posts)?  Well, it continued to get worse, but our days were so ridiculously busy that by nightfall, when the walk-in clinic was open, my daughter was too tired to go.   By Saturday night it was huge (12.5″ x 5.5″), hot to the touch, and she was feeling achy and popping Motrin like candy.  So instead of the much-desired nap upon her arrival once back at her home, she took advantage of having a babysitter to go to the Emergency Room, where she was diagnosed with Lyme disease!  No, she was not aware of being bitten by a tick nor did she ever see one.  There is a good chance that she was bitten by a tick in her home state, shortly before she came to Maine, since the rash began only on Day 3.  The other amazing thing is that the rash appeared on her upper abdomen, an area that is covered by clothing, and she had not been in tall grass.  The moral of the story:  you can never be too careful when it comes to Lyme disease prevention.  If you have been outdoors in areas where ticks are known to be prevalent, then do a very careful body check before you go to bed each night, and don’t assume that long sleeves, pants, socks, shoes, and repellent are enough to prevent a tick bite!  And don’t be stupid like we were – – at the first sign of trouble, get to a doctor for diagnosis so you can start treatment sooner than later, before real damage is done.

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