Mime and May met the gang on the east side of the Layfayette parking lot at 6:55 p.m. Just thought we would check over there since we did say we would meet
on the west side. To our surprise (NOT) there they were... Bruce D, Bruce M, Ross, Greg, Gordon, Norm and someone new who looked like she was a daughter
of one of the former mentioned. Gonzos were in various states of undress, blissfully happy in their undies and looking like they were GOING TO GO FOR
IT!!!! (WHAT WAS IT!?!?!)
IT was a little misty and rainy but we decided that after travelling three hours, we weren't going to let a little moisture put us off. It seems that the trip takes the
Halifax crowd a little longer..... even more reason to go for it, but Greg and Ross decided, like mature adults, that they were going to stay put in a dry vehicle
with pleasant tunes to listen to from the tape deck. "Women don't like no small----- men"! (Robert said I had to edit it like this) Of course Gord, Norm, Bruce
Murphy and Maureen (we had discovered her name was Maureen and that she in fact was not the daughter of anyone on the trip.....but now that I think of it
could have been a grand-daughter) decided that they weren't going to miss the opportunity to slip on a rock and cause a compound fracture of any bone in their
bodies, and in haste ran away from the rest of us. Bruce D. played the gracious host to his cousin Dave and lovely daughter Beth (only a few years younger than
Maureen) and waited until they came to the conclusion that in fact Bruce was serious, and did want to start hiking in the rain and dark up to Greenleaf. Well,
the five of us left Ross and Greg (the adults) and began our way up.
Not before too long out came the flashlights and we picked our way up, up, up through the rocks, the roots and the odd mud pots to encounter a realtor who
tried to sell us on the idea of location, location, location. It seems Norm's batteries (for his flashlight, not for his little dog who barks and who's eyes light up )
has decided to set up a real estate office right on the trail. There is no way anyone could get by without Norm forcing them to take a look at properties. I felt
sorry for the little guy and committed to purchase 500 acres of prime Wilderness land in Conway... (next to the Reebok store). Norm was so pleased, he
promised me that he would share his coke with me at the top of Layfayette ( which he did!!).
Norm was splendidly outfitted in NOTHING but discreetly covered in his CK sleeping bag, a 2 mil plastic and an overhanging spruce bough. It was a sight we
will long cherish as wilderness views that stun and amaze...way to go, Dunker! After Dave and Dr. Mime took pictures of this amazing sight, we staggered
onwards, slipping sliding away. At one point the 5 of us were overcome with strong emotions as the moon peeked out and illuminated the ridge and revealed
the highway lights far, far below. Tears actually came to our eyes as we realized that we could have been dry and snug down there where the lights of
civilization shone. However, GONZOS FOREVER we sang, as we turned away from this proof that YES, there really is A DRY, WELL-LIT PLACE DOWN
At one point Chicago Hope and ER programs came to life as we did emergency moleskin on sweet Beth. Imagine the Ice Storm of 1998, no lights except
emergency penlights as surgeons labored to measure and place moleskin on Beth's ankle. It was right out of Ben Casey!! Upwards we slithered, over the
famous Betty Rocks, along fogged ridges and into the landing lights of Greenleaf Shelter. Who WERE these 5 hikers coming into view at 11:45 at night?!?
Searchlights shone out from the hutkeepers loft, reminding us oldsters of the Blitz of 1944. After watering-up, we skillfully erected shelters, legally OFF the
trail, and snuggled into warm, dry accommodations. It was WONDERFUL!! Who needs a lot of sleep as we finally stopped chatting around 2:00 A.M. and
woke at 5:30! Fog and steam greeted us as we stretched into the morning light. Dunker showed up soon to make us BLACK CURRANT TEA and told us
about his night "wrestling with the bears" on his prime real estate. Then Scrounger went charging by, making short work of the treacherous climb in 2 hours!!
After watering-up, we charged up Mt. Lafayette, revelling in the LIGHT and comparative DRYNESS! What a difference the sun makes!! Triumphantly we
shared GORP, COKE and healthy snacks at the top, and were rewarded with blasting horizontal rain, that had suspicious sounds of TIKA, TAKA, PLINK,
PLONK...etc. Could this be sleet? As we huddled behind a huge rock, this insanity turned to sanity as we decided that charging across a 1.8 mile ridge exposed
to the elements was a LITTLE too nuts...so we congratulated ourselves on our perfect record of never being rained out on the FULL-MOON HIKE and started
down to sunshine at the 4000' level at Greenleaf. Seriously..it was beautiful going down! Chats with rangers, volunteers and of course our special Gonzo
buddies rounded out a memorable insanity hike!!
INTERRUPT ...sorry for the odyssey, I just tore Sue away from my laptop. Enough already!!! We went down the mountain and went home....
May West & not so Mime.