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!

Leadville Pacer Planning

I’m in Colorado, and today I meet with my Pacers and Crew to discuss race day planning. But first a short run at 5,500 feet in Littleton. The picture above is me stretching after a run, looking into that gorgeous blue Colorado sky.

Here’s my hope for pacing on August 17:

Pacers as of July 13. Please Roger, say yes!

Today, Mary and I head to Manitou Springs to check out Garden on the Gods and Cliff Dwellings. A little more acclimation training for me and tomorrow – Pikes Peak to bag a 14’er.

Hiking Whiteface, what cures hopelessness

This morning I head up to the White Mountains to hike Mount Whiteface. I attempted her early this spring and turned around at the granite ledges because I seriously thought I would die. It was snowy and icy and I brought my dog. I wanted to live. So I turned around.

Now, June 1 I hike Blueberry Ledge solo. I want the peak. I am not sure what the day will hold for me; maybe Passaconway, too. But I don’t have a plan except to bag Whiteface.

The trailhead has a little history for me. Back in 1988 my boyfriend at the time took me to Sandwich and Wonalancet for a second-hike-ever to Whiteface. He told me that he wanted to be buried in Wonalancet because he loved the place so much. Now, so many years later I had a first kiss in the trailhead with a guy I really liked. Hmmphf. The mountains. The place where I felt reborn after not having any goals and not knowing what my life would be like after high school graduation – the most confusing time of my life. I feel for high school graduates.

June 1, 2019 – I’m running/hiking Blueberry Ledge for the third time in my life and I’m feeling great. One week after running 50 miles I feel like a million bucks….. Until I get to the ledges where I turned around a month ago. It is so steep and scary and I feel at any moment I will fall to my death. Okay, a little dramatic, but I’m not in love with this trail or this mountain in any way, shape or form. I somehow manage to scramble to the top and I’m pissed. The trail diverges and I don’t know where to go. I go left and then it doesn’t feel right. The view is amazing but I’m distracted. I take off my pack and look at the map and I have to decide where to go. I’m not going back the way I came; certain death. I decide to go the Rollins Trail and just go home. I know I should summit Passaconway, I’m so close. I’ll wait and see.

But my mood is dark. I’m mad. I’m pissed. It has more to do than the hike and certain death; I’m just mad.

I follow the trail and it meanders into dark, moody places along the ridge. I run when I can; I want out. I think about Leadville and how I will feel running downhill. Will there be as many rocks and roots? There will definitely be more people. I stop and eat and finally take a picture.

I’m praying and hoping the mountains change my mood but I’m mad. I want the mountains to change my mood; I want to be happy and hopeful – but I’m not. There are no people on this trail. I finally reach the trail junction where I can head to Passaconway or go down Dicey’s Mill Trail.

I chose home.

I run as much as I can and finish 9.7 miles back to my car. The parking lot is overfilling with cars. I only saw 5 people the entire day.

I actually came to do what I set out to but in the back of my mind it would’ve been good to get Passaconaway.

I stink. I’m mad. I drive home.

I walk down to the Concord Co-Op for dinner. My heart hurts for a million different reasons. I feel like a teenager whose heart is broken and my stomach aches. As I enter the store I hear the song, Let It Be from the Beatles.

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree

There will be an answer, let it be

I buy my food and walk home. I hear a line from a book I read so many times, so many years ago: Running From Safety, that reminds me –  take me out of the ball game, tell me it’s over, and I get instant perspective.

The anger, frustration is gone, gone. Instant perspective is all that I needed.

While the mountains didn’t cure me today, I’m still certain they will.