A Childhood Spent Outdoors

noddayToday is No D Day when those of us who normally blog about the D-word take time to open windows into other parts of our lives.  Laddie, Sue from Pennsylvania, and I have each written posts with memories and photos of our childhoods.  Thanks to George of Ninjabetic for organizing this day, and click here to read other No D Day Posts.


Sue May 2013_Head SquareI grew up in the 50’s and 60’s in Scarborough, a seaside town in Maine.  My dad loved the mountains, and we spent our summers camping and mountain climbing and our winters downhill skiing.  My mother loved the water, so my parents would often compromise and we would camp at the lake.  When we weren’t camping, we spent lazy days at the beach.NoDDay_SueS1

My brother Bill has a funny story of the time Dad took him and my other two brothers, Dave and Rick, skiing on Mt Washington:

“When I was in my early teens, my father decided that it would be interesting to climb Mt. Washington in the winter. We couldn’t afford to buy crampons, so he made four pair, for me, him, and my two younger brothers, Dave and Rick. We went up the carriage road from Pinkham Notch to Lion’s Head. Going up Lion’s Head was very steep, and the snow was deep. We were exhausted when we got to the top. Above Lions Head, the snow had blown away, which was good, but the cone up to the summit was pure ice. At one point close to the top, I looked down and realized that if one of us slipped, we would careen down the ice until we hit the rocks at the bottom. It was bitterly cold, and there was no one else on the mountain that we could see. I wondered if this was a good idea. Of course, now that I have passed my father’s age at that time, I realize he was mad!

We got to the top, but it was late in the day. My father said: “Now for the easy part, we just ski down the auto road”. However, the auto road was also pure ice, and we only had wooden skis! At one point, my father’s skis gave way and he slid down the slope out of sight. I said “Dad?” Luckily, he responded. I asked him if I should come down to get him. He said “No, one idiot down here is enough”. He took off his skis, put on his crampons, and climbed back up.

We got below the tree line at dusk. Now we had nice snow, and no ice. The auto road was wide enough that we could kind of see the boundaries in the dark. NoDDay_SueS2However, the car was not at the bottom of the auto road, it was at Pinkham Notch. Dad decided that he and Dave would ski down a hiking trail to Pinkham Notch. Dad told me to go with Rick down the auto road, and they would pick us up in the car. I asked him if that was a good idea, and he said he and Dave would be fine. Rick and I got to the bottom of the auto road, and waited, and waited, and waited. It was very cold. Finally, the car pulled up. I asked what took them so long. They said they couldn’t see the trail in the dark, and kept skiing into trees!”

That was one time I was thankful that Dad left me home in our warm house with Mom!