Saturday’s hike was epic. North Twin 4,761, 8.6 miles round trip during peak New Hampshire foliage.
4,000 footer #2 for Winnie and #43 for me!
We had to cross the Little River six times.
After slipping on a rock half way through the first crossing I decided for safety I would just walk through the water and not worry about rock hopping. My Injinji socks and Pearl Izumi trail shoes quickly dried enough to not give me blisters.
The fall foliage was beautiful and the lighting just right:
We saw a few dogs and about 20 people total which isn’t much considering the drive past Lafayette trailhead with cars parked for miles on I-93. I can’t image hiking Lafayette with all those people. One family hiked North Twin with children who looked 5-years-old – amazing! So many smaller groups that loved Winnie and petted her.
She’s getting less scared of people on the trail which is nice.
A great day to be on the trail. I had great conversations with hikers about hiking the 4,000 footers and other trails.
Then after driving home I met my mom to see to movie, A Star is Born.
On Saturday Winnie and I hiked to the top of Mount Sunapee. The trail was pretty wet and muddy from all the rain. The streams were flowing and Winnie had fun playing in both water and mud.
We saw a lot of people on the trail and Winnie swam in Lake Solitude. Winnie was beat for the rest of the day. Unfortunately I wouldn’t be taking her to the hike scheduled for Sunday: Flume.
I hiked the Liberty Spring Trail to the Franconia Ridge Trail. The trail passed over Liberty and then I reached Mount Flume in 2 hours 30 minutes. I saw a few hikers on the trail going up and about 10 trail runners coming down. I hoped that I would be running down, too.
I tried to run as much as I could but the trail was 75% rock with large roots thrown in for good measure. Once I passed Liberty Spring tent sites I could hear the wind and it got pretty cold. I put on a warmer jacket and a beanie. I didn’t realize that the Franconia Ridge Trail is an exposed ridge only on the northern section that is closer to Lincoln and Lafayette. This part of the ridge was wooded and smelled of pine.
The summit rocks of Liberty took my breath away when I saw it for the first time.
The rock pile seems to rise out of the ground and trees. According to my AMC White Mountain Guide Twenty-fourth edition I hiked Liberty in 1988 and 1991 but don’t remember. I did note that on the 1991 trip I took the same trail starting on the Whitehouse trail. I’m so glad I kept that book over the years. I knew I’d be back to finish all the 4,000 footers.
About 15 people took pictures and hung out on the summit of Liberty. I don’t stop and continued hiking south to Flume; I passed about 10 people headed to Liberty.
Since my PI trail shoes were still soaked from yesterday’s hike in the mud at Sunapee I wore my new, not-yet-worn Altra trail running shoes. It was a risk to wear them on this important bag-a-4,000-peak hike but they turned out to be perfect. They got a bit beat up on the rocks and roots, and managed to stay comfortable the entire time.
I did like the Liberty Springs Trail despite feeling like I walked up stairs for miles on end. As my thoughts started to wander through the sometimes monotonous terrain, I thought about the Grid and wondered if I might try to do it: hike all 4,000 footers in every month.
Sunday’s Total mileage: just about 10 miles round trip. I’m pretty beat and not sure I’d want to do that hike in every month, but I’ve been thinking about winter hiking and with the right instruction I might give it a try.
Now I’m down to six remaining 4,000 footers: N. Hancock, Waumbek, Cabot, Garfield, N. Twin and Owl’s Head. My plan is to finish them by the end of October. November is too risky with the potential of ice and snow on the trails. I’m hoping that Winnie will hike Waumbek, Cabot, Garfield and N. Twin; the other two are too rocky and long.
Foliage Update: The leaves in northern New Hampshire are just about starting to turn. Next weekend they will be at their peak colors.
The last day of April and I’m sad to see it go; really I am.
April was a relatively good month despite the cold weather and Winnie getting sick with some sort of cough and the medicine that made her pee so much but ultimately made her better. It’s just hard seeing the drinking and peeing after Daisy being sick with the same effects.
April was good, calm, normal. I love my job and I love where I live. Everything is status quo. Training and writing. Working and hiking. The snow has melted, and while it is not quite warm, it is finally starting to feel like spring.
Yesterday, Sunday my training plan called for a three hour run. I was hoping for as-close-to 18 miles as possible. The route was to run to Penacook, turn onto Washington St. then turn onto River Rd. then up Carter Hill and home. I forgot what a huge hill Carter Hill is [gasp!]. Final mileage: 16. I’ll take it!
The forecast was rain all day so I didn’t wear headphones. So no music the entire time. It was fine. New running routes help take the pain away. It’s amazing the sense of wonder you can get running in new places.
The sun came out for about five minutes during the entire three hours; it was mostly grey with a bit of green.
The two best things about the run: running next to the The Contoocook River and completing the 16 miles under 3 hours, which was about the same time I did the 16 mile Boston Prep Race in January. [proud moment]
Now I have one more high volume week, taper and race.