Living the dream or just grateful

Sometimes I laugh when I ask someone how’s it going and they say “livin’ the dream”. And think, are you really? Is that cynical or sarcastic? Or do they genuinely mean it? 

What if they were to answer: “oh my gosh, I’m so lucky to have this life and I’m so grateful?”

Perhaps not as socially acceptable. 

That is my answer today, if asked, maybe, at the right time, in the right place.

Seriously. Today. My Life. I don’t want to sound too happy or too ….. I don’t know, because there are so many things not to my liking right now (not being at race weight, my dogs eating my comforter, gas prices, a pandemic, anything in the news, not running according to the plan).

But here are the things that have made me happy this week and I want to remember them: 

Despite carrying my shoes to the sofa, this dog is pretty awesome.
I get to ski as part of my job. I feel really good about this. Lucky.
Wear a helmet. This is all this means.
Seriously, this is where I work.
I biked outside this week. This truly makes me happy.
This doesn’t really make me happy but it’s reminder that Goldie needs more exercise. I’m going to run with her more.

Hiking Moosilauke via Benton Trail in November

Two weeks ago this trail looked a little different than Saturday. I attempted Moosilauke with my dogs on the Benton trail on October 18, the day after the big snow storm, and couldn’t find a good river crossing spot with the high water running, so I turned around. 

Saturday the water was much lower and I was able to cross the river and hike to the peak.

It was a good day to be in the mountains.

Tunnel Brook trail was a nice gradual walk to the Benton Trailhead. Once we crossed the river the climb began. No big boulders and no granite slabs – it was just a nice hike. 

As we arrived at the Beaver Brook trail two families with young children came up the trail. I know that trail and it’s a tough one – good for them! We hiked for .4 and came out of the woods with a short hike above the treeline to a crowded summit. 

On Moosilauke trying to get out of the wind for a break.

As I took my phone off airplane mode I got a text message from the New York Times: Joe Biden is our 46th President. I yelled to everyone on the top the great news.

It was so windy only the people closest to us heard and cheered too. 

I could see the Kinsmans in the distance knowing I would be up there the next day. And then we headed down. We only saw one other person heading up. 

Termed the quiet side of the Moose, I opted for the Benton trail since it is the easiest trail for dogs and it turned out to be both quiet and gentle. Just shy of 10 miles, it was a great hike option. Saturday wasn’t as warm at 4,802 feet than most parts of New Hampshire however Peter wore shorts and I wore regular hiking leggings.

The dogs had a great time but are definitely tired today, Sunday. Goldies 7th 4,000 footer, and Winnie’s 20th. Now it’s on to the Kinsmans today and to accomplish my goal of 48 in my 49th year.

Field and Willey Hike in October

For the first time in a very long time before a big hike, I slept in. I didn’t get to the trailhead until almost 10 a.m. It was perfect timing because it was a cold morning. 31 degrees according to my watch. 

As I hiked up the Avalon Trail I heard water everywhere. So many waterfalls and streams. A few others started right before and after me. The climb starts just after the first half mile and then the turn off to Mount Avalon has a lot of granite slabs. At first there they were just wet and a little slippery and then became icy and slippery. 

The icy granite faded away and there was just a great dirt trail. I headed into the snowy trees toward Mount Field and passed up Mount Avalon, which everyone said had great views. Some times when I’m hiking solo I get a bit nervous and just want to get to the summit. That was today. I brought micro spikes and hiking poles since I didn’t know what to expect. 

I passed a few hikers heading down and they said microspikes weren’t needed so it made me feel better. As we approached Field there were some great views between the trees and once I got to the summit. The sun came out and just lit up the iced trees. Truly spectacular. 

I continued onto Willey on the Willey Range trail. It was a ridge that went up and down with some steep climbs ups and down but didn’t last long. I almost missed the turn off to Willey when I started to hike down. Thank goodness for the GPS map on my Garmin. That was the summit, looked around and headed back. 

The slabs were still icy on Avalon as we headed down to Crawford Notch and the Conway Scenic Railroad train was stopped at the Depot. I’ve never seen that before. 

We headed home and got back to Concord by 4 p.m. It was a good weekend of hiking in the White Mountains. Six more peaks to go to hit my goal of finishing the 4,000 footers in my 49 year. 

Kinsmans, Tripyramids, Moosilauke and Owl’s Head are all that are left. Two more weekends to get them done. I think it will happen.

Mount Cabot Hike in the rain

I hiked Mount Cabot from the Bunnell Notch trail. At the trailhead it was perfect temps around 40s. I had hiked this at this time last year with Winnie and remembered the long drive to Berlin – 2 ½ hours. Ugh. And didn’t realize until after I got home that I hiked it already in October so I couldn’t use it for my grid. Bummer

I love this trail. It’s such a nice, gradual hike that at the beginning you can see where you will end up. It’s very wooded which was good since the mist and rain started at the Kilkenny Ridge trailhead. Last year there was not much standing water and this year there was plenty of water for the dogs and I didn’t have to worry about it. Muddy, too.

The summit is an open area with no view but even if there were we were socked in. It rained pretty hard once we got there and for the first two miles back. It was good to test out all the gear to make sure it kept me warm as we head into winter. 

I do love this hike I just wish it wasn’t so far away. The dogs did great and we didn’t see any dogs. For a Saturday there weren’t too many people on the trail; we maybe saw 10.

I stayed overnight in Gorham and tomorrow is Field and Willey.

Mount Isolation via Rocky Branch Trail

Vicky agreed to hike with me to bag Isolation. I knew it was going to be a long day: two hour drive each way and a long 14 mile hike – so I brought the dogs. The best trail for dogs was the Rocky Branch Trail and it proved to be a good one. 

Photo by Vicky.

I read a trail report from a week ago that said there was very little mud and the hiker reported dry feet the entire way. Well, it rained quite a bit since that report and the trail was filled with water and mud – but I loved it; so did the dogs. 

Goldie

As we entered the Dry River Wilderness I really liked that the dogs had water for 80% of the hike. The river crossings were rock hop-able. What I liked most about this trail were the parts that weren’t muddy and wet – the trail was spectacular for the ease of hiking and beautiful birch trees. When the sun hit the trees in the just the right way the fall colors were amazing. 

I love it when I can declare out loud several times while hiking: I love this trail. It didn’t seem like too much of an effort especially after the first two miles of climbing. There seemed to be some recent trail work and only one blow down that was hard to get under. 

We didn’t see many people until we hit the Davis Path and got closer to the spur to Isolation – then the people arrived. As we got to the summit it seemed like suddenly there were 20 people on the summit – crazy. We didn’t stay long. The views west to the Crawford Path and the Presidentals were clear as can be. Just a week ago I was over there looking to Isolation where I knew I would be today. 

Vicky got to feed some Grey Jays which she was thrilled with!  Goldie tried to eat them.

On the way down I did get my feet tangled in roots, falling almost down to the river – good save Vicky. Other than that Goldie tried to climb a tree to get to a chipmunk and ate a mouse. We all made it home safe and sound despite the southbound traffic on 93. 

The foliage is peaking in northern New Hampshire. 

15 peaks to go to finish the list!