Continuing a Rothermel Family Tradition of hiking Mount Major with our grandchildren when they turn seven, Hannah and I take Max with his nearly nine year old brother Owen and his parents, Molly and Tip, to the White Mountains of New Hampshire in mid-June 2021. Click here for Owen’s hike at seven up Mount Major.
Meeting up with Molly’s family at the Liquor Store in Portsmouth, NH at 6A on Juneteenth 2021 of Father’s Day Weekend, we drive 35 minutes to the Farmer’s Kitchen in Farmington, NH on Route 11 for what can only be described as mouth-watering breakfast with huge portions and excellent service.
Fully fueled, we arrive at the trailhead by 8A for our roughly two plus mile climb to the top. Taking the Blue Trail, we ascend on a rock-strewn path that soon turns into a Bill Bryson Walk in the Woods of level, tree-lined dirt. Owen and Max come up with Hiking Game #1 where two people run ahead on the trail and hide behind trees and boulders. We all take turns and make our hike kids-centered, when usually Hannah and I would just motor straight to the top.
Within 0.7 of a mile, we turn left for the summit. With protruding stones and rocks crossed by roots, the trail gives an opportunity for Max and Owen to come up with Hiking game #2. Starting with the youngest, we each in turn name animals alphabetically. Throughout the game, Owen lays back with me, and verbally checks in from time to time to see how I am doing. If you know Owen, you are not surprised.
After an hour and a quarter we summit.
After 30 minutes, we descend on the Orange Trail, lined with blueberry bushes with most every blueberry still quite green. Still Max finds the occasional blue blueberry. Saving two for his neighborhood friend Maelys, whose sixth birthday is today, he informs every, and I mean everyone we pass, that he found blueberries. Not shy in the least, he surprises and pleases hikers who smile broadly as they pass by.
Molly comes up with Hiking Game #3 and that is to learn the NATO phonetic alphabet that begins with Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta… (see all 26 below). Molly teaches us all one by one and within a thirty minute descent I learn all 26. Test me the next time you see me!
After three hours, we arrive back at the trailhead having had a “peak” experience Saturday morning that Hannah and I plan to replicate in four years when our grandson Brooks (Will and Laurel’s oldest) turns seven and then two years later when his identical twin sisters, Reese and Charlotte, turn seven themselves. Traditions! Sing to the Fiddler on the Roof song of the same name.
NATO phonetic alphabet by memory – Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliette, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-Ray, Yankee, Zulu. This alphabet ensures that letters are clearly understood.
Papa, Oscar, Papa, Papa, Alpha signing off.
Bonus pictures from hiking Mount Major