The Osceolas in February

I got a chance to hike to Osceola and East Osceola today. Oh my gosh. The slides are so hard.

I hiked Osceola last January and didn’t quite make it to the main peak but today, I did both peaks and feel like I really don’t need to ever do them again. Well, okay, let’s be real, I want to finish the grid in the next year or two so I have 10 more months that I have to do them in. 

My friend Mark, who I know from racing Leadville last year, was up for a challenge and agreed to hike with me. The alternative was running 15 trail miles in Concord. I needed to get out of the city and head to the hills and he was game. Thanks Mark! 

The slides were harder than I remembered from a year ago. They were so freaking hard. It was cold, too. Temperatures started at 12 degrees. I debated for hours prior to leaving Concord about bringing Winnie. I love when she hikes with me because I don’t have to worry about getting back to her. And she loves hiking. She did awesome! 

On top of Mount Osceola

There were two other dogs on the trail and they were so cute and happy. Winnie didn’t quite get along with one of them but we didn’t hike with them the entire way. (I think they didn’t get a long because they were a little too much alike; not exactly submissive but not aggressive either. Not every dog gets along and it’s okay). All three dogs just loved being on the trail with their owner and having a great day. So happy!

Mark and I started with spikes and after the first peak switched to snowshoes and then wore them for the rest of the day. On the slides I was walking like an ape, just trying to grasp a hold of anything to make me not slide down. 

Mount Osceola

We were able to hike around the chimney and reached a socked-in summit. It’s okay – that hike was so hard I was just thankful to make it alive to the summit.

The hike down was tricky. We slid down a lot,  and there were some scary moments when I couldn’t stop. But you know, it was so great to be in the White Mountains, with my dog, with my friend Mark and bag two 4,000 footers.

I needed to get out of the city. I needed to be in the mountains. I needed to have a beer at One Love Brewery and just escape life and endurance training. 

It was a hard day. It was a F**king hard day in the mountains but it was life affirming and filled with all the things I love about my life: dogs, mountains, friends, checking off shit from your to-do list. 

East Osceola

I can’t wait for the next time.

Hancock Loop, So Much Joy

Saturday was a hike the Hancock Loop kind of day. The morning started out cold. When I left Concord it was 9 degrees and during the drive it hovered between 5 and 10 degrees. It was a high of 14 when I started from the Hancock parking lot on the Kancamagus Highway. 

I know this trail so well. I’ve been on it five times already in the last two years. Attempting North and South separately in all seasons. Today my goal was to do the entire loop. In my mind I knew that if it didn’t feel right I would turn around: too icy, too cold, too scary.

All reasons to turn around.

At mile 3 I met my first hiker. A solo, woman on her way back to the trailhead. At 10:00 she had already done the loop – impressive. She told me she had an early start and the conditions on the ridge were amazing: no wind, some soft snow and no snowshoes needed. She warned of icy conditions going up and coming down but said all very doable. Running into her gave me the confidence that I could do this loop.

I’m so glad I did. Going up South Hancock was tricky. Icy spots had me grabbing trees and stumps to get up. Steep. Steep. 

The ridge was awesome. Fluffy snow, cool views, no wind. I started to run when I could and felt giddy, laughing to myself at the pure joy of being at 4,000 feet in December. Joy. Joy. Joy. 

A little more climbing to North Hancock and then down the steep trail back into the valley. 

We hiked 9.5 miles; the most mileage Winnie has ever hiked. 


To live with joy is to live with wonder, gratitude and hope.

Today, Sunday is a 16 mile run and then a recovery day on Monday.

Merry Christmas!

Mount Tom

We hiked Mount Tom today, the day after Thanksgiving. There were a lot more people and dogs on the trail compared to yesterday on Tecumseh.

I wore snowshoes because reports said some overnight snow and I’m a bit of freak when it comes to hiking alone in the winter so I’m prepared.

I should’ve brought my spikes, but I left them in the car. (Note: always bring spikes.) The monorail is fine and living well on the Avalon and A-Z Trail to Mount Tom. Snowshoes were overkill ,however I feel like I contributed to the overall tidiness of the monorail so I’m okay with it!

Mount Tom

The A-Z Trail is steep in sections and I was running out of steam until I met a wonderful couple about 500 yards from the saddle who told me “that’s the worst of it, you’re almost to the saddle and it’s a nice hike to Tom”.

OMG – I love these people. They made me so happy when I was dying from too much uphill and wearing clucky snowshoes when spikes would have sufficed.

The summit was socked in with fog but I don’t care. I made the summit and it was freaking beautiful! So many nice people along the way who loved on my dog even though she barked at them (why is she barking when she typically doesn’t care about other people or dogs?). Every. Single. Hiker. Was. Awesome. And the dogs we met were so freaking cute and happy! It was a great day.

I’m happy to be home after being in mid-winter conditions in Crawford Notch.

4,000 footer Number 2 done – 48-4,000-footers-in-my-49th-year. This goal is getting me out there everyday I can, and pushing my limits and making me do the things I say I’m going to do.

Make. The. Best.Life.

Mount Sunapee in November

On Sunday, I took Winnie hiking to Mount Sunapee. I’ve hiked the Andrew Brook Trail three times now and it never gets old. It’s a gentle, nice hike to great views. Originally I was thinking about hiking the Tripyrimids or Tecumseh so I could get started on hiking (again) all 4,000 footers. But it was so cold in the morning, despite the sun, and wanted to wait until it warmed up a bit. I went for a swim at the Y and once I got back and made lunch it was almost noon. There wasn’t enough time left to hike in the Whites.

It’s a 45 minute drive from Concord to Sunapee versus over an hour to Waterville Valley, so I decided that we would hike Sunapee and get comfortable winter hiking on a smaller peak before Waterville peaks. 

Andrew Brook Trail

The first .75 miles of the trail I was able to bareboot it. Then it started to get icy and slick so I put on my microspikes. We got to Lake Solitude in an hour and then about 30 minutes to the top where snowmaking operations had started. According to the Mount Sunapee website they open next Wednesday for skiing. It’s been so cold that I suspect there will be a lot of trails open.

Monadnock Sunapee Greenway Trail Sign

I love being on the Greenway Trail. The sign reminded me of the 3 day trail running event that I’ve been wanting to do for a few years: The Ragged Mountain Stage Race. I wanted to do it last year but I trained for the Leadville 100 instead. So this year, I might just sign up. Three days of 50Ks – sounds awesome.

Solitude Trail Sign

It was a beautiful day for views. I only saw six people the entire afternoon – so quiet. I didn’t see or hear any wildlife other than chipmunks. It was a great day to get used to winter hiking conditions before heading to the White Mountain next weekend to bag some 4,000 footers.

Although, not so quiet from the snow guns at the Ski Resort.
Winnie is pooped

Total miles: 6
Elevation gain: 1,614

Mount Eisenhower

I hiked Eisenhower on Sunday like I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

Clinton Road was not well marked off the Auto Road, but once I knew I was on the right road, I found the trailhead easily. The Edmands Path is a gorgeous trail. The first mile was a nice walk in the woods although I was worried about water for Winnie. Luckily there were a few streams along the way. Once we got to the rocky section closer to the top there was water; it rained a lot there on Saturday. 

There were a lot of dogs on the trail, only two were off leash. But all well behaved and cute! One particular grey/blue pit bull – so adorable.

The top was windy and cold. Mount  Washington was in the clouds but a 360 degree view of the world was not too bad. It was Winnie’s 6th 4,000 footer and her first in the Presidentials. She did great.

I didn’t stay at Eisenhower’s peak for very long. I stayed hidden in front of a small cairn just below the summit cairn to stay out of the wind so Winnie could rest and drink water. I saw about 40 people all day. I probably should’ve done a loop and hiked to Pierce or Monroe. Next time I will plan a bit better. It took just 3 ½ hours to hike and 3,110 feet of elevation gain, according to my Garmin. 

I think next weekend I’ll try the Kinsmans.