I completed my first hike on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 as part of my Sonic Peaks project. I was out very early, in the car driving by 5:45. I was hoping to take the motorcycle, but I knew once I got North the roads would be too wet and potentially icy. That turned out to be true. The drive was smooth and I was hiking by 8:15. The plan was to summit Peekamoose and then Table, and then go back the way I came. Peekamoose has a gradual climate at first, but it’s relentless. As I got higher, the trail got more and more icy and soon I was wearing my YakTrax. Without them, and without my trekking poles, I would not have made the hike. (I learned, though, that the YakTrax are insufficient. I’ve since purchased microspikes.)
There’s nothing too difficult on the hike up to Peekamoose, but in the winter some of the steeper sections are indeed very slick. I was completely alone, and I knew that if I fell and twisted an ankle or clunked my head I could be in some serious trouble. It may be days before anyone would be able to help. And of course there is no cell reception.
That all sounds a little melodramatic, but every year hikers run into trouble, and some of them don’t make it, even in parks that are heavily trafficked. Indeed, I have a old friend whose husband died that way. I have a lot of time and experience in the outdoors, which is why I don’t underestimate it, even on smaller hikes.
The hike went well, though it’s not easy. Lots of scrambling on all fours over steep sections and a lot of elevation gain. I overshot the summit of both Peekamoose and Table and ended up on the backside of Table. For the first time I saw some tracks in the snow and I followed them to a lean-to. There were a couple other guys there, the first people I’d met all day. We chatted for a few minutes and consulted our maps and indeed I had summited both mountains and didn’t even know it. There’s nothing marked on top. So, I turned around and headed back, stopping for the obligatory summit photos on each peak. I arrived at the car around 2:45.
Did I think about music at all while I was out there? Oh yes. I had several ideas for the graphic score that eventually took shape and you can see below. The project is definitely working. I always think about music and compose when I’m out there, but making it more intentional and focused was definitely another level. I’ve already developed a working vocabulary of ideas, gestures, and sound worlds with my graphics scores, but what will be interesting over the next few years is to see how all these hikes impact that vocabulary. I suspect it will become much enriched, just like every aspect of our beings when we spend extended time moving in nature.