When I was very young, my dad took me camping to see the Perseid meteors; it was one of the defining experiences of my life. Now I am grown and he is nearly old, and I would like to turn it around. Help me find a suitable mountaintop in New England to go camping with my dad; somewhere where we won't have to see anyone else. Details within.
Long ago when I was but a wee lad, knee-high to a grasshopper, my father took me on my very first camping trip to watch the Perseid meteor shower at a stargazing party out in a big field. I consider that night to have been one of the most important foundational experiences of my life—the one that initiated a profound and abiding connection to science and to the natural world which has been one of the dominant themes in the narrative of my life.
Now I'm halfway through a PhD in conservation biology, and I am going to turn 30 this August—making me more or less officially a Grown-Up. My dad, who in his own youth was quite the mountaineer, is now 60 and while very active and healthy will probably not have too many more years before his mountain-climbing days are officially behind him. As a way of marking this transition and of thanking him for introducing me to one of the most personally-defining and most consistently nourishing and beneficial modes of experience for my life, I would like to turn the tables on him and take him on a more adult version of the same trip that he took me on when I was just a bairn.
What I would like to do, ideally, is to set out from Duxbury, Massachusetts
very early one morning in mid-August, arrive at the foot of a mountain somewhere in New England around 6AM, backpack all day at a gentle pace (we're both in good shape all things considered, but he's 60 after all and his knees aren't the best—a consequence of his mountaineering days of yore) and arrive at our campsite by 6PM at the latest. We would then spend probably three nights and two full days up on top of the mountain doing day hikes and general Camping Stuff by day and stargazing and general Father-Son Bonding Stuff by night. After that, we would hike back down the mountain and drive home.
What I need, then, is a mountain. We are both very experienced at this sort of thing, but I haven't lived in New England as an adult and I don't want to have to ask my dad where we should go; a big part of the idea behind this is to symbolically show that I Am Grown Now and that I can do these sorts of things on my own. (You know, like the first time you went out to dinner with your parents and picked up the check?) It should be possible, going nice and slow and taking plenty of breaks to let Dad rest his knees, to climb it in a day and get to a good campsite in twelve hours or less. It must
be a hike on a trail up a mountain, not
a walk on a path through the woods or a drive in a car to a campground.
The campsite itself must offer good stargazing opportunities, or be within a short walk of a spot that offers same. It must be somewhere where we can be alone for a couple of days without having to see another soul, despite it being one of the most popular times of the year for stargazing. Super extra bonus points if we can do a little fishing, too. The site can be as remote and primitive as you like, in fact the moreso the better. I want someplace quiet, someplace secret, someplace where other people don't go
. (If it's really actually secret, memail me. I can keep a confidence, I promise.)
We are both very experienced at the whole hiking/camping/backpacking/mountaineering thing; for reference, I am writing this within hours of finishing a three month season of fieldwork in the Congo, and when Dad was in his prime he did several major mountaineering and bicycle touring trips lasting weeks or months at a stretch. I really, really want to be able to spend a few days alone
with him, and I'd enjoy the opportunity to demonstrate my wilderness skills to him as well. We're perfectly comfortable navigating with a map, compass, and GPS.
Basically, I am looking for the most remote mountainside stargazing spot in New England that can be accessed in a day by a fit middle-aged man. It's important to me. Help me out, hive mind!