Mount Sunapee in March

On Sunday, I drove 40 minutes to arrive at the trailhead for the Andrew Brook trail for a hike to Mount Sunapee. I’ve done this hike so many times in the last year and thought it would be a good, safe hike with my friend Kendra and her dog. 

Kendra needed some mountain time with her dog. I liked the familiarity with the mountain and close to home features. 

The first mile of the trail was ice-free with a lot of water flowing. The first water crossing came in the first 10 minutes and we got a bit off trail trying to find the best place to rock hop. The next crossing was about .75 miles later. 

Ice, ice baby.

The second mile was icy and I knew that coming down wasn’t going to be fun for the dogs. I tried to not let it stress me out but I realized after hiking with Kendra, who is a bit more laid back than I am, that I worry a lot on the trail. 

Like Socked In Hikes writes in her article about hiking safe and staying home during the COVID-19, I’ve read all the Search and Rescue books and I don’t ever want to be rescued. I want to be safe, always, when hiking. So today I hike with a friend and stayed close to home.

When I get nervous hiking I tend to hike faster and just want to be done, which is the opposite of what the trail is supposed to do for you. When I get anxious I hurry to the top and hurry back down. I’ve always been this way, so I solo hike more than with others. 

But on Sunday, I hiked at Kendra’s speed and comfortability. And, tried to calm down when my anxiety of my dog getting hurt on the ice, made me hike faster. 

Winnie and me at Lake Solitude. Another benefit of hiking with someone, they take pictures of you with your dog.

We arrived at Lake Solitude and it was incredibly beautiful, as always. Since I’ve done this hike so much it was great to hear Kendra saying over and over how gorgeous the lake and views were. Sometimes I forget to look around. Sometimes I forget to stop and really take in the views. 

Then we continued on to the summit. We didn’t stop at the rock outcropping because a family was there enjoying the sun. We kept on to the summit. At just about 4 miles we were on the slopes of Mount Sunapee and rested. 

On the way back we stopped at the rock and sat in the sun for a bit. Kendra and Toby explored a bit down the rock to amazing views. I stayed and soaked up the sun while Winnie rested. 

Kendra and the love of her life, handsome Toby.

We got back to the car safe and sound. It was a good day to be outside. We saw about 15 people the entire day and everyone was happy to be outside on the trail. There were a few people without spikes, which I felt we needed for all but the first and last mile. And, many happy, polite dogs.

Dog selfie

Best ideas while hiking

Today was a good day.

I took my Winnie-dog on a hike to Marjorie Swope. My new, adopted pup Goldie has only been with me a week so she isn’t quite ready for a trip in the car to hike; a few more weeks. When Winnie left the house and saw the car running with the hatch open, she acted like a puppy dancing and thrashing about – so excited to go on a hike. 

 I drove to Marjorie Swope. Winnie and I hiked for 3 glorious miles and we didn’t see a soul.

While hiking I had a good work idea; get the team together on a group hangout and talk about our days. It turned out to be really fun listening to my co-workers who have turned into teachers. It was good to hear everyone is doing well.

It’s been one full week we have been working from home. Our team is doing the best they can in the current situation.

Now as evening approaches I am writing using my story ideas from the morning hike. I caught my two dogs finally bonding with Goldie resting her head on Winnie. [Blog post image above. Heart melting.]

We made it through the week. Thank goodness for time outside. Happy to spend the evening writing and relaxing.

Kearsarge Redux, Goldie Love

Today was a Kearsarge redux

I needed to hike something familiar, by myself and get my heart pumping. I headed back to Kearsarge with the hope of two loops. No dogs.

A solo hike was just what I needed to get some perspective, stop thinking about the news and just get to the top of a mountain. 

So icy!

I knew the trail was going to be icy, and it was but it was never ending ice today. At the top I decided to head down the Rollins Trail to see where it went, since I’ve never done it. I passed the Lincoln Trail, which I knew I would do next time, and part of the SRKG. [I’ll be running the 3-day Stage Race in August.] On my way back to the top I took this video.

Very windy at the top but magnificent views.

I headed down the Winslow Trail thinking that it would be less icy and I could run; nope. It was more icy than last Sunday. Less snow pack, more ice. So many people not even wearing spikes. I headed home after one loop and will live another day.

Week One with Goldie is just about over. She is becoming herself. She is a crazy puppy with a sweet personality. I just love her. Winnie just ignores her, for now.

Monday it’s back to work. I’m not sure if it will be a work from home day but it’s an option.

Kearsarge in March

It was a gorgeous, sunny day to hike to Kearsarge with Kendra, Toby and Winnie.

The Winslow Trail was nice, at first. Then came the frozen waterfalls of ice. This was not a fun section for the dogs. But we got through it and made it to the top.

The top was windy with amazing 360 degree views.

Just about to the top

Once we started heading down the Barlow Trail we got out of the wind and could really see Mount Washington and Moosilauke. The photo at the top is Kendra on the Barlow Trail looking north. Wow. Just Wow. We met amazing, kind people on the trail today; even two fathers toting their children in packs. Everyone was so happy to be outside on a such a sunny Sunday. I think Kendra will be hiking more in winter; for sure Toby loved being on the trail.

I’ll be heading back to Kearsarge and doing a few training laps during the week. It is such a hard, steep trail.The 3-Day Stage races is in about 23 weeks.

Being in the mountains just makes me feel more alive.

Heading down on the Barlow Trail. Photo by Kendra Bassi.

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.