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Hey y’all,

When Brew and I REALLY indulge ourselves – like buying a soda or ice cream cone, we call our extravagance a “special treat.” Yesterday was our one-month wedding anniversary (yes, we keep track and yes, we celebrated it… for better or worse we are THAT couple) and it was full of special treats.
The day started much like any other; I woke up at 5:30 AM, rolled over, kissed my husband adios and was off hiking before 6. About 3 hours into my morning hike I had a VERY special treat that I had been waiting on for a long time. I was a few miles from the VT/MA border when I heard something ahead of me on the trail. I looked up and- much to my surprise- saw a bear 30 yards away, my first bear ever on the East Coast. My initial thought was, “BEAR!!!” But then the more logical and conditioned side of my brain quickly chimed in: “No way. You’ve hiked over 5,000 miles on the East Coast and lived here your whole life and never seen a bear. You’re banned from bear sightings on this side of the Mississippi!” Then the two sides of my brain conferred through an intuitive checklist: Black? Check. Furry? Check. Rather large yet stalky? Check. Big, chubby ears? Check. (For some reason the ears were really important and this animal definitely had bear ears.) So yes, with requirements met, I decided that I was in fact staring at a bear. Then the creature spotted me, and bolted deep into the woods. But it was too late! I had seen it! I had spotted a bear! Yessss…!!!
My next special treat of the morning came from entering a new state. Not a state of mind, mind you, but a literal state. That is, I crossed the border from Vermont to Massachusetts. I love Massachusetts because it brings on a slew of short states that you can hike across in 2 to 3 days and feel like you’re making real progress.
When I finally reached the pre-appointed road, I ran into my husband’s arms and told him about the morning excitement (Yes, I literally ran into his arms and yes, I do it at every road crossing). Usually for lunch I grab some peanut butter and a banana, sit down for 10 minutes, then walk on, but on this day Brew had picked up a special anniversary lunch- a Subway sandwich! I love Subway! Some people are haters. In fact, I had to turn Brew onto the sandwich chain; but I say if you don’t like it, it’s your own fault… I mean you create your own meal – you’re your own Sandwich Artist, for goodness sake. And without prior guidelines, Brew had created a masterpiece.
After lunch I climbed up Mount Greylock and Brew started up the mountain with me. Usually you can get water on top of the mountain at the lodge, but this summer all services at the summit are closed for renovations. Brew didn’t want me worrying about water, so before he hiked back to the car, he ran to a water source three-fourths of a mile off the trail to fill up my bottle. Talk about chivalry.
Now I must have some kind of homing device that sets off rain clouds as I get close to the summit of Greylock. When I was a mile from the top, the sky opened up and I had to hike in a complete downpour. Unlike my ‘05 hike, though, there was no thunder or lightning or marble sized hail pelting me. And that in itself was a special treat.
I met Brew that evening in Cheshire, MA. We found a place to sleep and shower before going out for pizza and ice cream. And when we got back to the tentsite while we were brushing our teeth, Brew discovered that his Vaseline jar had spilled all over his backpack. While he was cleaning things up, he had the nerve to laugh at me and say I “looked like Pocahontas” with my hair parted in the middle and my headlamp over it. He might have gotten the better of me if he hadn’t spit toothpaste into his beard then laughed so forcefully that he farted super-loud. But then that brought me to tears, and the tears blinded me and caused me to hit my head on the doorframe, which turned my tears of laughter into tears of pain and confusion. (This entire episode took place in about 2 minutes, sans alcohol. Amazing, eh?)
Clearly, it was time for us to bring this day to a close. We ended it just how we began: in our tent lying beside each other. My favorite and best special treat of the trip is having Brew here to support me and share in this experience. Here’s to a great first month, and many more down the trail.