Sunday we took to the wilderness. We didn’t quite make our destination of Owl’s Head but the journey was filled with rivers, rocks, roots and beauty.
One of the positive aspects of changing from triathlon to trail & mountain running/hiking/backpacking is all the new gear I get to buy.
While some of the winter running and biking winter clothing transitions well but there are some accessories I must invest in.
Number 1: Water filtration system
I chose a collapsible water filter option so I could back it pretty easily in a small running pack. I’ll be trying the Katadyn BeFree on the long hike to Owl’s Head this week so we’ll see how it does. This is new technology for me so I can’t wait to see how it works on the trail.
Number 2: New hiking boots
I’ve been hiking in trail running shoes for so many years and never considered hiking boots. I always thought that trail running shoes were less impactful on a trail and even when hiking sometimes I like to run. This year is different and I’m winter hiking so I knew I needed to invest in a good boot. The hiking boots I currently own were given to me when I was a Colorado gear tester back in 2008. I still have them but they are pretty beat up. I’ve been reading so many hiking and backpacking websites and blogs, and one trail review writer recommended Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX hiking boots so I researched them. I liked the other reviews I read and decided to give them a try. The first break-in hike was this morning [see first photo in this post, a hike with a sunrise]. I’m not bringing them for the hike this weekend; this one’s a biggie and didn’t want to wear boots that need to be broken in. I’ll stick with the tried and true trail runners; probably my Ultra trail runners.
It’s good to get back into mountain sports. There is so much more equipment to research and try. Next up: tent and stove.
The drive to the trailhead was two hours which included a drive through Berlin and the Berlin Fish Hatchery. It is a true north country town and there were a lot of ATVs out and about.
I really liked the trail and it was extremely hard. All the leaves covering the trails made it tricky to run so it was mostly a fast hike.
My favorite part was running on the Kilkenny Trail which was mostly a ridge run.
I’ve managed to keep the 24th edition of the AMC White Mountain Guide in good shape over the years (even though I did buy the newest edition). I recorded my first hike in this guide. I visited the White Mountains for the first time in May 1988. I hiked Lafayette and Lincoln with my boyfriend and his family just before high school graduation.
I caught the hiking bug from that hike and have Nathan to thank for that. Hiking and peak bagging kept me sane in my early 20s when I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I had no goals and no career aspirations. So I hiked the 4,000 footers in NH for a sense of accomplishment.
Every weekend I would head north from Portsmouth and hike, checking off each mountain. I got to a point where I had about 10 or 12 peaks and suddenly I found my career path. In 1999 I moved to the mountains full-time and stopped hiking 4,000 footers. Even after moving to Colorado I didn’t hike the big mountains, (14ers) but choose the mountains in the wilderness around Grand County to hike and explore with my dogs.
I knew I’d be back in New Hampshire to finish the list. Once I got here it took about a year to settle in and get back to my mountains.
I hope to finish the remaining peaks this month and start the list again. It’s been too many years and I need a fresh perspective of these beautiful, challenging mountains; and I need to hike Mount Washington and the Presidential Range again. I can’t wait to start again.
Garfield Trail is the perfect trail and the Mount Garfield is the perfect mountain. Water is abundant thanks to all the rain the last few days. The trail is medium difficult the entire way so I sweated but not that much. The views from the top are magnificent.
All the hikers on the trail were kind and interesting. One woman at the top finished her 48 peaks today! So impressed. One of her hiking mates was on her second round, hiking #19 today. All dogs were friendly and CUTE! I had great conversations with a few people about 4,000 footers and hiking buddies.
The last .2 miles to the top were pretty icy and a bit scary so it’s time to buy some spikes and start carrying them with me for every hike now.
Coming back down the icy .2 miles, I have to say, it was nice being behind 10 people as they slowly descended; I felt safe from falling. Winnie did great on the ice although most the time I couldn’t watch the path she took.
I’m excited to finished #44 of the 48 4,000 footers in New Hampshire.
Now all that is left is Hancock North, Cabot, Waumbek and Owl’s Head. Hancock I can do in a few hours, and Cabot/Waumbek I’ll finish next weekend. I’m still hoping to do Owl’s Head with Cheryl before the end of the month. I’m guessing Owl’s Head will be the last, and the most dreaded but still hopeful it will surprise me and be wonderful.