“You’re a manifester,” a colleague said to me one day, meaning I’m someone who moves ideas into action and reality. She’s also manifester, which is why she seemed to recognize it in me.
Yesterday, my birthday, I manifested an idea of Eric’s. Seven years ago, the summer I was turning 50, Eric and I did a lot of hiking together. I was trying to finish all 48 of the mountains over 4,000 feet in New Hampshire, which gains you entrance into the 4,000 Footer Club. It also makes you a peakbagger. Eric was happy to peakbag with me as I closed in on the last few mountains on my list, most of them requiring long, arduous hikes. We grew closer than ever that summer, even after 28 years together, spending days and days on long trails, talking, walking, just being with each other.
Due to a very rainy summer, I didn’t finish the list before my birthday. But that October, on a fine day, with blue skies and yellow birches dotting the hillsides of spruce, we did a 17 mile hike on the Zealand, Twinway and Bondcliff trails to Mt. Bond and West Bond, my last peak, then back out the way we’d come. On the hike, we met two groups of people hiking the entire Bond ridge, end to end, which also includes Bondcliff (I’d already done that peak, hiking in from the Kancamangus Highway to the south). A 19 mile hike, the Bonds traverse provides unparalleled views of the Pemigewasset Wilderness, crossing the wildest part of the state, on a rocky, open ridge. But it also presents a challenge in having a car ready to collapse into at the end of the hike. Spotting a car at the trailhead where you finish, then driving around to the trail where you want to start, is over 50 miles and takes over an hour.
“We need to find some friends who want to do the traverse with us,” Eric said that day. “We’ll start from different ends, pass each other keys when we meet on the trail as we hike, then drive each others cars to a meeting place and have dinner when we’re done.” We both loved the idea, and started talking to hiking buddies about it, but never made it happen before Eric got sick and died. We hadn’t realized we had such a tight deadline. The summer after Eric died, Anne, on of those hiking buddies, made a pact with me that we would do the Bonds traverse as Eric described, in his memory.
So yesterday we started off from the Zealand trailhead to the north, David and Betsy and Cathy and me. Anne, Ellen and Cynthia started from the Kancamangus Highway to the south. This only happened after months of planning, and an already aborted hiking date, due to weather. Being my birthday, Anne was carrying mini-brownie cupcakes, and I had a candle and matches so we could have a mini-party on the trail. Marsie, my psychic friend, who shares my birthday, told me to watch for magic, since I was manifesting Eric’s spirit on earth.
Early in the hike, Betsy took a short side trail to go to the true peak of Zealand Mountain. Cathy and David and I waited on the main trail. Two men, came up the trail from the direction we were heading. They didn’t really look like hikers — they had no pack, were carrying one bottle of water, and didn’t look particularly fit.
“Do you know Eric?” one of them asked me.
Taken aback, I simply answered, “There’s no one named Eric with us.”
“Well there’s an Eric that way on the trail,” the man said, pointing back. “He told us to look for a group of people hiking together and let them know he’s not going to make it, he’s headed back to the Galehead hut.”
“Where did you come from?” I asked.
“We stayed at the Galehead hut last night.” At this point, it was about 9:00 a.m., and the Galehead hut was a three-hour hike away.
“Where are your packs?”
“We left them back on the trail,” the other man said. “We’re just here to grab the Zealand peak, then we’re heading back to Galehead and Garfield.” Then they disappeared up the side trail to Zealand.
We never saw their packs as we continued on the trail, and we never saw them again. But we all knew someone named Eric.