Remember when I wrote about the recent wedding I was in? Well, I forgot to mention that I nearly caught the bouquet. Nearly. It flew through my hands and I was left with just a few petals. As I turned to watch its arc, it slammed right into the stomach of another bridesmaid behind me. As it turns out, I did not need to catch that bouquet after all.
The air must be thinner at 5, 267 feet above sea level.
I know! I know. Before I get all weepy-engagement-storytime on you, let’s take a look at the cowl that I finished just before the bearded fellow and I left for our Baxter State Park vacation-turned-engagement.
I crocheted the cowl using this pattern from Lattes and Llamas, available now on Ravelry, here. You can also view my progress and yarns used on my Ravelry page. My favorite thing about this pattern, other than its simplicity, is the ability to choose seven different yarns to work with. Whether you have a stash of luxury yarns or have a hankering for picking out some new delights, this project fits the bill. Yardage required varies a bit, depending on your gauge and yarns used. I lucked out with a substantial amount of surplus yarn for use with future projects. All in all I used about 1,350 yards.
It can be used as a hood, shawl or even a small lap blanket. It is cushy, warm, and will be perfect for long winters. Those living in warmer areas can reduce the row repeats for a thinner, lighter cowl. I really cannot speak highly enough of the overall simplicity and instant gratification of this project. Any project that takes less than a week of occasional crocheting to finish is a win in my book.
Alright, you have waited long enough. Prepare yourself for the super-magical–backcountry-proposal-in-the-clouds engagement story. And moose. Lots of moose.
The mountain greeted us Friday afternoon with clear skies and a perfect view of the summit. It is unusual, as you will see later, to have as clear of a view as we did on Friday. We made our way through the park to Nesowadnehunk Campground where a lean-to awaited us for our first night in the park. A lean-to and a whole bunch of bunnies.
Staring contest between the bearded fellow and the snowshoe hare.
Later that evening, we heard rustling in the bushes to the left of the lean-to. Upon turning to see what the commotion was all about, the bearded fellow exclaimed, ‘Holy #$@% it’s a moose!’ Imagine (because I was too shocked to snap a picture) a bull moose as large as the lean-to emerging in the same area where the bunny is in the photo above. We were sitting where I was standing in this same photo, about eight feet away. Eight feet from an enormous bull moose. He stopped, looked at us, made a sort of burping noise, and then continued on his way. We named him Manny. Manny the burping moose.
Bunnies, moose, fields of flowers. I exclaimed on several occasions, and I quote, ‘Could this weekend get any better?!’ I am sure the bearded fellow had a field day with that one.
I did not sleep much Friday night. I was excited to summit, overjoyed to be on vacation, and slightly cold. The 3:30 am alarm arrived rather quickly, but I was already awake and ready to climb. We had a 40-minute drive to Katahdin Stream where we would hop on the AT/Hunt Trail to make our ascent. Once we arrived at Katahdin Stream we sat in the car to watch as the sun rose behind the mountain, creating this spectacular morning greeting. By 5:45 am, we were on the trail.
Other than a small group of AT thru-hikers finishing their journey, we were the only hikers on the trail. We reached The Hunt Spur (read: huge $#?!*&@ boulders) around 8:00 am, and stopped for our favorite photo opportunity. These boulders are easily eight feet high. I measure in at 5’2″. Hmm.
One, two, lift...and then scramble awkwardly onto the smooth rock like a beached whale.
We slowly made our ascent through the boulder climb and into the Gateway. This section is the steepest, leading into the mostly flat Tableland (covered in delicious wild blueberries). Some of our favorite rock creatures live in the Gateway.
His large, sad eyes meet an oversized nose above a substantial mopey lip. Thankfully this rock golem did not wake up as we passed. At this point on the trail, I would not have made my constitution save.
We reached the summit just before 10:00 am. There were only a handful of others there. It is a magical moment reaching the summit, especially when the peak is shrouded in clouds. The last mile or so after the Tableland is a true test of your ability to stay focused on the goal, rather than the Mount Doom-like climb. I feel ya, Frodo.
Usually, we stop to take our picture with the iconic summit sign, have lunch, and then start our descent. Usually. This time was different. This time, the bearded fellow did not want to take his picture with the sign. He did not want lunch yet. He wanted to sit behind a large boulder away from the crowds. There was a moment when I thought, ‘Oh my goodness. He is going to propose.’ I quickly pushed the thought out of my mind and replaced it with, ‘Nah, that would be too magical.’
After an hour of battling forty-five degree weather, crowds of hikers finishing their ascent and a (very nice, I’m sure) gentleman’s club with severe gastrointestinal problems, the bearded fellow decided that we simply must move to a more private spot. So we did. We sat down, and I knew. I just knew that it was happening. And then, it happened. He planned a speech. I probably sounded like Beaker the Muppet. He brought champagne. I tried not to hyperventilate. Eventually we emerged from our little shelter and asked a nice couple to take our picture with the summit sign.
It was a bit misty. I have waited nearly nine years for this moment. It was perfect.
The bearded fellow made the ring from twisted sterling silver wire tied into a turk’s head knot with a faceted lapis lazuli stone in the center. Lapis is a rather interesting stone. During the Renaissance it was crushed to make ultramarine, the most expensive blue pigment at the time, and Cleopatra used it as eyeshadow. I think I’ll keep mine intact.
We spent the next two nights at Kidney Pond in a rustic cabin on the water. There were leeches, so we did not swim, but we did venture out on a canoe to take a closer look at a cow moose munching on grasses across the pond. Weekend moose count: two.
Two mating loons also made an appearance, calling to each other throughout the day and at odd times in the evening. It was a bit like listening to a game of Marco Polo.
Can you hear me now?
Somehow the ring continued to make its way into nearly every photo. I wonder who was behind those photo bombing shenanigans.
Before I go, I would like to extend mountains of thanks to sweet Joan at Caravan Beads for helping the bearded fellow craft such a unique ring. You are a gem!