Dakota, and Home

I’m re-reading Dakota by Kathleen Norris.

Her book makes me think of Granby, Colorado, the place I lived when I read the book for the first time. Her “Dakota” was a place that was barren, isolated and windy, but there was art, magic and spirit in this place. South Dakota came alive for me from her stories about small town life on the prairie.  

Dakota, A Spiritual Geography

Norris brought a spirit to a place with her poetry and story telling. She made a life as a writer there. In a place where most people would think as isolating, she found a life. I felt that way about living in Granby. Granby is a small town (population 2,000) and most people would imagine it to be stifling and not very fulfilling to live there; I thought the opposite. I loved the isolation – being surrounded by wilderness. I found joy in the same walk up the mountain behind my house everyday with my dogs. I loved the quiet and beauty of small town living. It was my home for five years.

Dakota, A Spiritual Geography

This is the landscape where I live these days. 

The trails near my house in Concord NH
Concord NH Population 43,000

Next February I will be living in New Hampshire for three years. Three years is around the time I start looking for a different place; always needing a change. 

The funny thing is – I kind of like living here. I’m happy with my job and the people I have met. The interesting thing is – those two things rarely happen to me at the same time. 

As long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be out west. Or at least living in the mountains. When I traveled to Colorado this summer every place I spent time in made me want to live there: Littleton, Leadville, Copper Mountain. I started making plans in my head to move back. The mountains of Colorado just seemed to jive with everything about my personality. But then, I’d get home and not think about it again. 

I’ve been thinking about the idea of home lately and what it means to me. I’ve been thinking of staying.

I’ve always said – home is where my dogs are.

East Osceola Mountain

Made it to East Osceola Mountain on January 28, 2019. New England 4,000 footer list: 2/69.

I didn’t take any photos at the top because it was so cold and windy; I couldn’t wait to get back to the car. Even with spikes, I superman’d it at one point on the steeps going down, which was pretty nerve wracking. Once I got to the flatter section I put on my snowshoes and enjoyed a walk in the woods as the snow started to fall. I will make it to the main peak, Osceola another day.

Save the best for last

I had the best mileage-wise training week this past week. I hit 50 miles, probably for the first time ever. This is good – going into 2019! Now I just need to keep the momentum going.

Today I hiked to Tecumseh with Winnie to start the New England 4,000 footers. I hope to hike them all in 2019. I still have one more summit to finish hiking all the NH 4,000 footer.

New Hiking Gear Winter 2018

Sunrise Concord NH

One of the positive aspects of changing from triathlon to trail  & mountain running/hiking/backpacking is all the new gear I get to buy.

While some of the winter running and biking winter clothing transitions well but there are some accessories I must invest in.

Number 1: Water filtration system

Katadyn BeFree Water Filter 0.6L
Katadyn BeFree Water Filter 0.6L

I chose a collapsible water filter option so I could back it pretty easily in a small running pack. I’ll be trying the Katadyn BeFree on the long hike to Owl’s Head this week so we’ll see how it does. This is new technology for me so I can’t wait to see how it works on the trail.

Number 2: New hiking boots

Salomon X Ultra 3 – Day One, 1.4 miles

I’ve been hiking in trail running shoes for so many years and never considered hiking boots. I always thought that trail running shoes were less impactful on a trail and even when hiking sometimes I like to run.  This year is different and I’m winter hiking so I knew I needed to invest in a good boot. The hiking boots I currently own were given to me when I was a Colorado gear tester back in 2008. I still have them but they are pretty beat up. I’ve been reading so many hiking and backpacking websites and blogs, and one trail review writer recommended Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX hiking boots so I researched them. I liked the other reviews I read and decided to give them a try. The first break-in hike was this morning [see first photo in this post, a hike with a sunrise]. I’m not bringing them for the hike this weekend; this one’s a biggie and didn’t want to wear boots that need to be broken in. I’ll stick with the tried and true trail runners; probably my Ultra trail runners.

It’s good to get back into mountain sports. There is so much more equipment to research and try. Next up: tent and stove.