Monday Motivation, First Tracks in the Snow

Here in Concord we got about 6 inches of snow this morning. The roads around my house are plowed so I head to the Winant Trails with my dog and snowshoes.

Winant Park, Concord NH

The photo above shows how gorgeous it was this morning. Not a soul out yet. I could hear snowplows in the distance but other than that it was peaceful.

Last night I came very close to signing up for an Ironman and had thoughts of signing up for the Leadville Camp/Run combo. Very dangerous. But instead I walked to the store and bought a pint of Ben & Jerry’s – Peanut Butter Cup.

I woke up with a sugar handover and still undecided about what races to do.

I’m signed up for the Houston Marathon and Umstead but am too injured to run. Okay, not much for Monday Motivation except for starting the day with a great snowshoe hike in the woods with my dog.

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.

Tecumseh on Thanksgiving

Winnie and I hiked Tecumseh late Thursday morning.

We hiked it on New Year’s Eve last year. This year there was less snow coverage and I could actually see the steps that were snow covered. It was a faster hike with more snow coverage last year, but I’m not complaining. I liked seeing more of the ground. The higher we hiked the more snow but I never needed snowshoes.

View about halfway up; the slopes of Waterville Valley

It was windy in sections and not too bad at the top.

Summit of Tecumseh

The trail was perfect for hiking today. The river crossings were pretty easy. I only saw four people all day.

First big water crossing. Easy peasy.

This is the first 4,000 footer for my 48-4000-footers-in-my-49th-year goal. I like the idea of hiking the list from the smallest to the largest mountains.

The forecast looks good for tomorrow and I’ll be attempting Isolation. Twelve miles of hiking. It’s going to be an early start. I chose to #optoutside on Black Friday.

It was a good day to be outside this Thanksgiving. I stayed warm wearing my Marmot windbreaker that I bought for Leadville and Marmot hiking tights. And spikes all day.

Pemi Trail to Liberty Springs, 2,000 miles

On Saturday after an attempt to hike Willey in Crawford Notch I headed home with the thought that I would stop at an unknown trailhead and explore for a few hours before driving back to Concord. 

I stopped at Lafayette Campground and Trailhead Parking to hike towards Kinsman. I thought for sure there would be parking since it is mid-season. But nope – no parking at all. So I continued south on I-93 and decided to take the Flume exit and hike around the Liberty Springs Trail. Last year I hiked from this trailhead and knew there would be parking. Yep, just a few cars. 

Winnie and I started hiking the Pemi Trail around 12:30 and needed spikes from the start. The trail was spectacular and we crossed many streams. The bike trail had a coating of ice so spikes were still needed. 

We took the trail to Liberty and while it would’ve been great to summit Liberty it was 1) too late in the day (although I did have my headlamp and enough food and water) 2) the 5 mile hike in Crawford Notch really was tough. I decided that I would go slow, look around, meditate and just really enjoy the day. The sun was slowly descending and just made the afternoon so enjoyable. 

I’ve never hiked so slow. I’m not in my ultrarunning shape that I was in four months ago when Mount Washington was a piece of cake. Really, I thought that in July.

Now, fast forward to November when every leg muscle seems to hurt before, during and especially after running and hiking. 

I have goals and want to be outside hiking, running – but it seems I’ve slowed down. There will be time to pick up the pace but for now, slow hiking is amazing. 

Two miles into the hike we turned around and headed back to the car the same way we came. 

While on the hike I hit my 2,000 mile mark for 2019. I set this goal at the beginning of the year and am pleased that I reached it in November. Next year, 4,000 miles! I’ll be figuring out my race plan for 2020 in a few weeks. I’m thinking mainly New England running events but first – core and strengthening to finish out the year and get rid of these aches and pains.

Mount Willey, Ethan Pond Trail November

Winnie-dog and I started hiking Ethan Pond Trail with the goal of hitting Willey, Field and Tom. One hour in I started thinking, maybe just Willey and Field. It was a gorgeous sunny day at 9am when we left the icy parking lot off 302 in Crawford Notch.

This picture was taken at the start of the hike. I love being on the Appalachian Trail.

It was a tough trail especially once we hit the ladders. The first few were okay and Winnie was trying to figure out a path up them. She avoided actually using the ladders. At one point she jumped up to a rock and fell down. I watched her trying to figure out a way back up again and had to help her up. 

A few ladders later there was no route and it was steep. I was going slow and methodically plodding up but I couldn’t figure out a way to get her up the last set of ladders. So I turned around. It’s okay because it was such a great day and the trail was so nice until that point. I knew I would do it again. Several hikes in the last year I have turned around when Winnie wasn’t having fun anymore and I went back the next day by myself to summit the mountain. I also realized, later, that we could try the mountain from the north side too. 

Trail Junction Crawford Notch State Park

We hiked down and then I turned on the Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliff Trail in an effort to stay hiking in the woods; and just be in Crawford Notch a little longer to enjoy the sun. We stopped at the big river crossing and looked up to the Falls. Gorgeous! All the water and ice. 

As I look back at trail descriptions I read that there are other way to do the three peaks and will try it again another day. The point is to be in the White Mountains and to get to know all the trails and mountain peaks. It was a great day!