We started this journey in response to the early passing of my mother. The goal was to take her with us as we journeyed to the White Mountains 48 highest peaks, and on our final summit we would spread her ashes. I always thought that this would be a symbol of understanding, a way to accept the ill-timed circumstances and let go. However, as we sat atop our 48th mountain I realized then that throughout this passage I found that the destination was not meant for a good-bye, for during our travels I had already found my acceptance. This final summit was meant to reconnect with memories and feelings I was not yet ready to handle; it was meant for an embrace. As I spread some of her ashes in a small split on the rock where we sat, and tossed the rest to a strong east wind I expected tears to come next, but instead a smile.
The photos are of our final hike and our night spent in the mountains (click on photo to enlarge).
The morning's light and river's rapids were a perfect blend creating a sense of needed peacefulness. This is exactly how we like to start a long hike off.
After hiking a little over 7 miles we finally caught a quick view of the first out of our three summits we would be reaching that July 4. This is of Bondcliff and the other two mountains that are not in sight are Mt. Bond and West Bond.
The distance only made for more excitement!
However, as soon as we hit our first summit Cullen instantly found his way to the edge and took in what he worked so hard for. One of the reasons I left the Bonds for our last hike was due to the truest forms of beauty the views offer.
By the time we hiked the ridge to Mt. Bond, our second summit, Cullen was in need of a little break. This was my outlook as I sat and ate a PB&J and apple for lunch. Not once did he take hide that smile, which only made my view more impressive.
As we sat on the top of our 48th and final peak I began to feel a sense of hesitation more than excitement. A tornado of emotions began to take hold. However, before all could get too deep Cullen found a perfect way to clear things up.
BondCliff, our first summit of the day, is in the background.
Cullen resting under the exact rock where my mother's ashes were spread. This is the closest I will get to having a picture of him with my mother. There is much joy for me to be able to have captured this moment!
We spent the night at Guyot Campground, which is just about half mile from the the summits we stood on earlier in the day. Cullen quickly took a look around, made some friends, and found his way into bed.
This was the view from our platform that evening. Not a bad sight to see before falling asleep.
That next morning we woke early to watch the sun rise from Mt. Bond. This was the first view my eyes got to see from the comfort of my sleeping-bag.
As we made our way through the mornings shadow we found our place at Mt. Bond once more to watch the sunrise together. There is no better moment we have shared then sitting side by side watching the sky turn to fire and lighting up the valleys of mountains that conquer these lands.
We conquered what we worked so hard for. We hiked together over 48 challenging peaks, hiked together through some terrible weather, and hiked together through some very hard times. However, the important part is that we always hiked together. The end of this journey is only the beginning to so much more. We embarked on this voyage, as you are aware, for more personal illumination and self accomplishment, and although we have navigated our way up all 48 of these peaks I believe we have now just found our bearings. Our next journey will not be as convenient and will be for a cause much greater than my own. Keep trailing us to discover what is to come!