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[at-l] Woods based systems

>  So many systems, so little time.
>      (Hold it now, this is not Trail related.....)

Who says? I just finished a week in the Whites with my collected family (Mother
and Father, Sister, Brother-in-law, and their four kids. (got to push that trail
thing...) Anyway, since we were stayin' in one of those condos at the foot of
Little Mount Deception, I figured having good tunes would be a bonus to go with
the sunsets...

I packed a pair of the smallest Genelecs (powered speakers), a portable cd
player, and a Headroom portable headphone amp. The amp helps get the most out of
the setup, and brings the level up for higher impedance headphones (I bring a
set of Etymotic in ears for when the kids get nuts in the rain :). Instant
isolation.) It all fits into a small carry bag except for the speakers which fit
into a courier style bag. Since I wasn't carrying these farther than from the
car to the house I figured "no big deal", and it would be nice to have tunes.

After we hiked up Mid Sugerloaf, with its wonderful panoramic view of the Twin
Mountains over into Vermont, the Presidentials and Crawford notch,  we're
sprawled out on the rocks getting batted around by the wind and my seven year
old nephew said to me that the mountains look like the music I was playing the
night before...

The weather in the Whites this week was typically New Hamphire. Raining, sunny,
cloudy, misty in perpetual rotation. The day before it had rained all day for
the first time since we were up there. I can't get anyone to hike with me in the
rain so we went our separate ways. They, to shop at the outlet stores in North
Conway and me to the Pinkham notch visitor center to get updated maps and do
some hiking. I got back before them, and being somewhat cold and damp after
hiking I built a fire in the fireplace and played Beyond the Missouri Sky by
Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny. Wonderful, gentle music -- just acoustic guitar 
and bass for the most part.

This music really suggests the yearning that "plains" people sometimes develop
to see something beyond the horizon. For me, the horizon seems to be just in
front the mountains, beyond which is the area marked "Here be Dragons". I know
they're there, but I can't see them. Maybe if I were a little taller and stood
on my tip-toes? It's like that feeling you get at a parade and you're three rows
back from the front.

I had sat for a while by myself when they all returned. The low clouds and gray
sky, the fire crackling a bit, and the music playing brought the little ones up
short in the middle of their usual boisterous entrance. They tend to explode
into room, especially the littlest one (an adorable girl).

They sensed the mood as children do and somewhat worn out, they relaxed into it.

Imagine my joy the next day as my nephew related the music and setting of the
prior evening with the beauty of the mountain view he was experiencing. The
magic of the trail that I've (we've) come to know and love so much.

I felt that just then he "saw the trail." That thing that keeps pulling me back
to the trails year after year.

For me, taking that stuff up there was well worth it (there were other moments
where it was a joy to listen to good music with some fidelity but those are not
trail related moments).

"You must be careful each time you step out of your door, because your
front walk is really a trail, and the trail leads ever onward."


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