Thursday, June 30, 2005

Hiking in Pawtuckaway with the Mazur group

Wednesday, June 29th, 2005

With wonderful planning done by Miss Jessica Watkins, the Mazur group had quite an adventurous trip to Pawtuckaway State Park. Based on everything that was planned, only the following actually stuck: having lunch on the mountain, the cost to get into the park, dinner at Pinkerton Tavern, and all the mosquitos and bugs you would love to hate.

Although we left the grounds of Harvard a tad bit later than expected due to a certain someone oversleeping (see first photo), we actually got to the park before it even opened. We all took this opportunity to poison our skin and stain our clothes with bug repellent. I guess I was the only one who truly poisoned my skin, spraying 100% deet on myself. We really had no idea what we were going to be in for. Geoff and his car mates got lost somewhere along the way, and we waited a few minutes for them to arrive before starting the hike.

Now, the plan was to hike to North Mountain, but that was quickly changed to a longer route to Devil's Den at the request of Eric Mazur. I've already forgotten to mention how absolutely gross and humid it was, so trekking along everyone worked up a good sweat. That is probably why the attack of the mosquitos was so apparent: the bug spray was rubbing off with our sweat. I was confident my poisonous spray would shield me, but it was very discouraging seeing swarms of them around. Everyone either held onto their spray or kept it very accessible. There was a constant smell of bug spray. Krystal actually bought one with a nice scent, so it wasn't so bad. Even Diebold at times seemed deranged, waving his very long arms like crazy to avoid getting bitten. We concluded that the bugs attack the tallest of us. Plus with the white shirt, he was quite the target.

I didn't have a watch on me, so I didn't know what time we made it to the top. Water was scarce and personally, it was hard for me to eat my turkey and roast beef sandwich since my mouth was so dry. I shouldn't complain though since poor Mark didn't have a chance to make a proper lunch.

The view would probably have been much nicer without all the haze, but up top, we actually caught a couple breezes here and there. However slight, it felt wonderful.

On our descent, we encountered a very large green metal and plastic structure (see video and photos) that pretty much boggled everyone's mind.

Going downhill turned out to be more of a challenge than uphill, especially with all the moisture in the air accumulating on the surfaces we walked on. I slipped, bracing my fall with my hands, Jessica almost sprained her ankle, and Tina unfortunately sprained hers with much pain and tears. But she was quite the trooper, overcoming sometimes pretty steep and rocky terrain with the help of a walking stick and supportive friends. Luckily Brian had packed an ice pack that stays cold for a long time, and it was placed on her ankle to reduce the swelling.

Because of the severity of the injury, Eric Mazur asked Geoff and Rishi to go ahead and drive back to a certain point where Tina would be waiting, which would be 3 miles away from where we parked. Brian luckily had reception on his phone, and when it seemed like Geoff and Rishi either got lost or still had a ways to go, Eric sent Diebold, Mark and Jim after them.

When we finally reached the road, Jessica kept Tina company as the rest of us made the 3-mile trek back. It was at this point when it started to rain. At least the trees were shading us from the drops...or so we thought.

First came the booming crackling sound of thunder and the flashes of lightning in the distance. Okay, a thunderstorm. No problem. Even Iva thought I was doing flash photography. But as we continued walking, there was a moment when the sky turned a bright white, as if with a burst of sunlight and then immediately, a resounding boom that scared the living daylights out of us. It happened a couple times, really freaking us out. Turns out the the boys ahead actually heard the crackling of the tree hit by lightning, and both Mark and Jim hit the ground. Crr-azy!

Then came the torrential downpour. Now, usually with a downpour, it lasts just a few minutes. This one lasted the entire walk back. It was amazing how consistently hard it rained down on us. Our trails literally became rivers. We could not get any wetter, and avoiding the deep puddles/rivers, if you could, was pointless. We started off walking rather briskly and continued to do so despite the rain, so we had to be extra careful of wet leaves and stones. Honestly, it was quite exhilarating in the beginning, but then it actually became too cold, and everyone was carrying a couple extra pounds of sopping wet clothes, shoes, backpacks, etc. Brutally hot and humid to cold. One extreme to another just like that.

What I would have done to have a waterproof camera on me...

The trail seemed endless, and we were joyous, as much as we could be in our state, when we finally reached our cars. It was a good sign that Geoff's car wasn't there, meaning he was on his way to Tina and Jessica. Diebold and Mark told us barely five minutes elapsed between their getting back and ours. They had already changed into a new set of clothes.

Oh and what a mess...Diebold's car was brand spanking new too, and we just wrecked havoc in the interior. Never thought we would ever have to completely strip off all our clothes in his car.

We all, with the exception of Jim and Bryan Menegoni, both of whom I'm sure was happy to get back home after this, drove to the store near the beach (we had planned to hang out there after our hike) where some of us bought dry t-shirts and cheap sandals before heading out to the restaurant. Diebold, for some reason, made it a point to turn the a/c on in the car. After several requests, Brian quite emphatically told him to turn it off. It was quite hilarious. But when the heat was turned on, it definitely made everyone very tired and sleepy.

We got to the Pinkerton Tavern much earlier than our 6pm reservation. Jessica was craving their gorgonzola garlic loaf the entire day and was anxious to have some. The host and waiters were very nice, providing food to snack on upon our arrival. Mark requested a bottle of red wine for the table, which turned out to be quite good and another bottle made its way around the table. The clam chowder was brought out in rather large bowls, even though we ordered the small size, and I had wished it had a little more umph in it.

The sun managed to peak out from behind the clouds while we were eating, but snuck back when we left the restaurant.

We got a sneak peak of Diebold's sweet new apartment on our way back home. Sick...really sick. Plus the previous tenants left a plethora of very interesting things behind.


definitely looking forward to the next group outing...


A video on bugs and microwaves...

Brian and Geoff serenade us...

Okay, here is a non-edit of our photos...well actually, I did take a few out. You can click on each photo to get an enlargement.

Group photo via Eric Mazur

Iva blinded me with flash...

Here's the link for Geoff's photos:

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