Monday, October 12, 2015

Camel's Hump

This weekend I got to experience two wanderlust firsts- visiting Vermont and hiking a mountain! 

Camel’s Hump is Vermont’s third highest mountain and its' highest undeveloped peak at 4,083 feet. It is called Vermont’s best mountaintop because on a clear day you can see Mount Marcy, the highest in New York State; Mount Washington, the highest in the Northeast; all of Lake Champlain; Burlington, Vermont’s largest city; and quite a bit of  Vermont's countryside. Camel's Hump is also situated on the famous Long Trail which stretches from the Appalachian Mountains to the Canadian Border.
Native Americans use to call this mountain, “Tah-wak-be-dee-ee-wadso”, which means the “mountain like a seat.” The French navigator Samuel de Champlain and his  exploration team from the 1630’s named it “lion couchant” or resting lion. “Camel’s Rump” was assigned on a historical map made by Ira Allen in 1798 and in 1830, the mountain became known as “Camel’s Hump." Camel’s Hump is the largest park in the state and one of the oldest pieces of public land. It was given to Vermont in 1911 by Col. Joseph Battell,who didn’t want to see the summits logged.  In October 1944 during World War II, a B-27J Bomber plane on a training mission crashed into the side of the mountain near the summit. Most of the wreckage has been removed, but parts of a wing still exist on the Alpine Trail just about 0.4 miles from the summit. 

Fun fact: Camel's Hump was featured on the 2001 Vermont state quarter. 

Camel's Hump is a popular destination for hunting, hiking, Nordic skiing, and snowmobiling. It is also not uncommon to find researchers here as some of the most important studies detailing forest damage due to acid rain have been conducted on this Huntington mountain. 

On Saturday, October 10, I hiked along the Burrows Trail, the oldest trail on the mountain. It was a 4.8 miles roundtrip, and its degree of difficulty ranges from moderate to strenuous. I was up in Vermont to meet my boyfriend's parents and since we started dating in August, hiking has become one of my new favorites. Walking has always been my favorite form of exercise, so picking up hiking was a natural evolution for me.  

I would recommend hiking to anyone because life is a hike. It wasn't a walk in the park climbing my first mountain. As my veteran hiking boyfriend promised, there were times along the five hour journey that I loved hiking and other moments not so much. As with life, hiking can be disorientating at times, but what blew me away the most, besides the breathtaking view from the top, was how encouraging all the other hikers were! Words of 'don't give up, you're almost there' were as constant as the sounds of our feet crunching down on crisp, burning leaves (Vermont is famous for having the best foliage in the world!) This support helped me especially during the descent, when my hands were numb from the cold and I just wanted to cry. I never felt judged for my lack of mountain hiking experience, even when I had to do some crab shuffles or get on all four. In fact, hiking gave me confidence because it made me admire my body for how strong it is! 

I think every couple should hike at some point in their relationship. Hiking not only helps you connect more intimately with nature and yourself, but with your other half as well. It reinstalls three of the most important traits necessary for a healthy relationship- communication, patience, and support! 

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Salem Ghost Tour

If you thought Salem, Massachusetts was just famous for witches, think again! In the bewitching downtown you can hunt for not only witches, but ghosts as well!
Voted the #1 thing to do in Salem in 2009 by NBC’s Official Best Tour of Massachusetts, the Salem Night Tours conduct 75-minute tours into the supernatural world of our historic New England city. Guided by a licensed tour guide, you will journey through cemeteries, former sites of the 1692 witchcraft trials, and famous locations of folklore and legend. The use of flash photography is highly encouraged as many visitors have had spirits appear in their pictures. As a resident of Salem for the past three years, my favorite thing about the Salem Night Tours was that they offered information I had never learned before!

For example, next to the Dunkin Donuts on the corner of Washington Street and Norman Street, lies the Joshua Ward House, one of the most haunted houses in America. The house was originally owned by George Corwin, a former High Sheriff of Essex County, Massachusetts during the 1600s. He was a belligerent man who earned the nickname ‘The Strangler’ because many accused witches died at his hands. Giles Corey, the well-known victim who was eventually pressed to death, was the last to suffer under Corwin’s hands. Corwin passed away at the age of thirty, but at Corey’s sentence, which you get to see on the tour, he cursed Corwin and all the Sheriffs of Essex County.   Because many people had ill feelings towards Corwin, he was buried in his house until it was rebuilt in 1784, the foundation of the original house is all that remains. After the house was completed, George Washington actually stayed there during a visit to Salem. This is why Washington Street is named Washington Street.
But it was in the 1980s when Carlson Realty made the house its headquarters, that people started discovering its haunted happenings. Doors would shut on their own, objects move, lights turned on and off by themselves, and burglar alarms would continually go off. The grizzliest paranormal activity that has occurred there has been the apparition of two women. One of them is an old lady sitting by the fire and the other is younger women who stalks the upstairs.
These women are believed to be two of the women Corwin brutally murdered. In the 1990s, a man named Dale Lewinski captured them while trying to take a picture of the Carlson Realty staff.
The Joshua Ward House wasn’t the only place I enjoyed visiting, I also liked the Gardner Pingree House, which is the house the American board game, Clue, was based on.
On the outside, Gardner Pingree is an idyllic Georgian house, but its skeletons would shock you! But don’t worry, I didn’t ruin everything for you! The greatest thing about the Salem Night Tours is that no two tours are the same!

Salem Ghost Tour 
127 Essex Street 
Salem, Massachusetts 01970