NERSFL Summer 2018 Trip
August 13-15, 2018 

Trip Report
By Joanne Jordan and Esther Levegnale

I always look forward to Ski for Light trips. I have been a member since 1978. Exercise and the challenges it brings are very important to me. I strive to keep myself in shape all the time.

I love the outdoors and do not get enough of it. Being blind is enough of a challenge especially when it comes to doing outdoor activities.

Susan Bueti Hill has been coming for a while. Our past presidents and many volunteers have worked very hard to make NERSFL what it is today. Susan watched our past president Marie Hennessy work. Susan was passionate about NERSFL and wanted to be president and ran and got elected. Susan did a lot of hard work beforehand recruiting volunteers in different locations as well as getting equipment for the trip ready. With her organizational skills, the weekend ran as smoothly as I have ever seen.

On Friday night, August 10th, we took cars and vans and grabbed dinner where we could and arrived at the Wayside Inn in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, a lovely place along a river. The rooms are very comfortable with balconies open to the river. The water was high and the river was delightful sounding bubbling up. The nights were pleasantly cool after the hot and humid weather we were having.

On Saturday morning we got up for breakfast at 7:15. It was a very happy meeting with everyone seeing who was there and saying hello and having our first meal together. After the meeting we all met in the bar. We brought some guides who drove vans and cars. Susan had arranged for AMC guides as well. One of our guides, Sharon Ferris knows all the local mountains as well.

There were two hikes, the easiest, but still a challenge was in Lincoln, New Hampshire along an abandoned railroad bed traveling through the woods and up to the Franconia, New Hampshire falls. The second hike, which I have done many times before, was the Zealand Falls hike, a more strenuous mountain which goes to the Zealand Falls Hut. The falls are located just outside the hut.

We split into groups and chose our various hikes. I went on the Lincoln hike. This I had never done but found it delightful, despite hiking boots whose soles were coming apart and old sneakers also on their way to coming apart. My guide Lou and I started out. Our group had a wonderful time. This hike reminded me that I had better lose even more weight! We all talked as we were going along.

When we finally arrived at the Franconia Falls, I had ordered seltzer for a drink and forgot what happens when you try to open it after it is shaken. Those around me got baptized, like it or not! Very embarrassing! We all had a good laugh.

The weather was delightful! It was a little humid and cooler and cloudy so that no sun was bearing down upon us. We hiked back out and had photo ops as well during the hike. The Zealand folks were longer, but everyone made it and had a wonderful time.

After showering and getting cleaned up, we all had various wonderful dinners, drinks, and desserts. Some went to a fire pit at the Wayside.

We all got up for a 7:15 breakfast on Sunday morning. We met at the dining room while finishing breakfast. We met with guides from the Adaptive Partners of the North Country and kayaked and did a tandem biking run downhill for five miles. I was hesitant to kayak because my old sneakers were coming apart even more. I walked around with my guide waiting for my turn to tandem. The ride downhill was delightful with a really experienced guide. The tandem was old and the chain broke early on, but one of our guides had a tool to fix the chain.

We all finished up our activities at about 1:00PM. The van took off first because participants needed to catch buses. I always hate good-byes. Another NERSFL trip was over, but our car had one last good time going in to Lincoln, New Hampshire. I decided it was time to buy waterproof hiking boots. One of our group was very generous and treated all of us in our car to Dunkin Donuts coffee and treats.

I went home dreading another Monday, but I am always high after a Ski for Light trip. This was no exception! This was a terrific weekend!

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