Smuggler’s Notch 2012 Travelogue, Part III
Sterling Pond, blue water rippling. Madonna rises behind it, a mother holding a bowl on her lap. All the short breaths and hard sweats on the steps of the Sterling Pond Trail ascending above the Notch are forgotten.
We snack and lounge
At this mountain pond
Spruce Peak overlooks the surrounding mountains. Camel’s Hump rises in the distance. We see all of Mansfield’s features.
Our legs are so much trembling Jell-o by the time we finish our descent of the Rumrunner’s Trail. The Sterling-Madonna Base Lodge at the trail’s base is a sudden oasis of rest.
Overcome by our own
Peeling red paint on weather-worn siding of a glorified barn — not an auspicious first impression!
We wait to be seated. The décor is both trendy and quaint: Dim light, dark paneling, streamers with various-colored lights, sombreros on one wall.
Seated at last, we order. My enchilada is as good as any I had at home. A delightful surprise!
A bite of refried beans, washed down
The fire beckons every child with a stick and marshmallow. Then Goodtime Charlie arrives to sing and strum.
Larry and Erica join us. Their daughter hops along to the music on both feet.
“Nice Night! Cool Night!”
Beyond the songs and “Hot Fire!”
more by FRANK J. TASSONE
photograph by Jordan McQueen
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