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 with Peter and the dogs. 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.

Peter on the summit

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.

It was great hiking with Peter who is on a 4,000 footer kick. We didn’t even take breaks – just hiked the entire time. It’s always a good time to hike with fun, entertaining friends.

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!

Trilife update, 48 in my 49th year

Since I signed up for Ironman Coeur d’Alene that takes place in June 2021, the White Mountain Triathlon, which I deferred to 2021 is on the same weekend. I decided to sign up for an alternate race and use my credits from the White Mountain Triathlon – so I’m racing The Sunapee olympic distance triathlon on Saturday. 

When I signed up for Sunapee I knew that I would have to swim consistently for the weeks leading up to the race; and I have been. I feel like my swim fitness is enough now for Saturday. Swim fitness seems to come back pretty quickly unlike running and biking. 

This will be my first race of 2020 and I’m pretty psyched for it. With all the precautions I know it will be unlike any triathlon before but I don’t care. I’ll do what they say and get this race done. It will be race #1 for my new Cervelo tribike!

While I’ve been trying to swim, bike and run as much as I can I’m also making a push to finish all the 4,000 footers in one year. I have eight weeks to finish 21 more peaks. 

Some of the harder ones are left: Carters, Wildcat, Kinsman. Isolation. I will have my work cut out for me getting these done. But since I have completed no goals for 2020 this one just may be in reach.

On Sunday Peter, Pete and I hike Waumbek. It was a perfect fall day to hike it. WInnie and Goldie hiked too. This was Goldie’s 2nd 4,000 footer and Winnie’s 8th, plus it’s the second time Winnie has hiked Waumbek. There were no other dogs on the trail. I later read a race report that so many people were on the trails the day before, for the Flags on all the Peaks on 9/11, which was why maybe there were so few people on Sunday.

The trail is in great shape however no water at the water source. As we climbed it got colder and colder with a wind. I was sweating bullets, as per usual yet so cold, too. While Waumbek is touted as an “easy” hike, the climb is constant; just no rocks or granite slabs to contend with.

Pete told us about the blow down just past Waumbek’s peak so we had views of the entire Presidential Range. Waumbek itself has no views but we hiked a few feet past the cairn to sit down and gaze at the amazing views of the entire Presidential range. While the air was cold, the sun was warm so we took a break before heading back down. It was a good day to be above 4,000 feet.

Mount Carrigain and Ironman Training

This morning is a big morning.

Run and hike with dogs.

Swim at 8:30.

It’s amazing how motivating signing up for an Ironman can be. It’s been a while since I took the dogs for the loop hike/run at Winant but since they must get back into hiking shape to help me finish the 48 4,000 peaks by Nov. 13, they need to hike/run with me as much as possible.

On Sunday Winnie and Goldie hiked Mount Carrigain.

May 1989 was the last time I hiked this mountain. I remember it was a solo backpacking trip and I did the big loop including Desolation Trail. Wow that was a long time ago. However, I remember seeing a group of men camping with a fire going. The trail was really wet and my feet were soaked. I saw their hanging socks over the fire. They invited me to join and I declined. 

Peter pointed out that the mountain name Carrigain is spelled differently on this sign than everywhere on the internet.

This time Carrigain was a day hike with two of Peter’s friends: Pete and Eric. The first two miles are so nice – just a walk in the woods. Then the climb began to the ridge. Once we got to Signal Ridge there were amazing views. Then at the summit, spectacular 360 degree views. It was a perfect day to be in the White Mountains and the dogs did great. On the way down Winnie had two incidents with dogs but both turned out okay (Winnie was not at fault this time.)

Winnie cooling off after summiting.

It was Goldie’s first 4,000 and she was pretty tired on the ride home, sleeping sitting up. 

Now it’s time to plan next weekend’s hike – most likely the Kinsmans. 

But today I hike, run and swim before work.