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
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
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.
I’ve clipped articles all my adult life and the ones that have made it past the years of cleaning out and reducing my crap, are in the white binder. These articles inspired me through the low points of my life and kept me moving when I didn’t know what to do; which was a lot.
There is a frequently-read article I clipped in 2007 and placed in a sheet protector written by Drew Munro, then editor of the Sky-Hi News, a newspaper I later worked for in Grand County, Colorado. The article is titled: Distance sometimes offers a better view.
I didn’t know Drew at the time but his story touched me and I understood his feelings. I had visited the area, too as a 17-year-old traveling through the western National Parks. Now I was living in Granby, Colorado as well.
In the article he is new to the newspaper and his story starts as he is running around the Middle Park High School track at night for a cancer benefit. As he progresses around the track he sees the Rocky Mountains in the distance and thinks about a cross country trip in his youth; he is now living where he explored years ago.
He said quoting TS Eliot, “I intend to step back far enough occasionally to see [this place] or perhaps know it for the first time.”
And maybe that is what I need to do now here in New Hampshire. Step back, and get reacquainted with the White Mountains. I knew them so well over 20 years ago. I spent so much time hiking and camping and almost hiking all the 4,000 footers. I need to get north and hike those peaks that inspired me and gave me goals.
I finished Where You’ll Find Me: Risk, Decisions, and the Last Climb of Kate Matrosova in two days. Matrosova’s story was so well told by Ty Gagne. As I read, I researched all the organizations and people. The SAR organizations are so interesting to read about. It was a sad story because she perished but every hiker/mountaineer should read this book and learn the lesson of doing research about a mountain region especially the weather; learn when to turn around. Here is a link to the NPR interview with the author, a guide and a rescue organization.
It’s also inspired me to want to hike in the winter – and hire a guide. So I began researching guide services, which I’ve never done. But I never have been interested in hiking in the winter. What I really want to do is be comfortable in the mountains since my new life goal is to be a mountain runner.
A book that was listed in the bibliography is Desperate Steps, Life, Death, and Choices Made in the Mountains of the Northeast by Peter W. Kick. The book is really interesting and the stories of rescues and (not) rescued are well told. These stories are educational about hiking in all terrain and conditions.
I found a link in an old email to this story about Ironman from Coeur d’Alene in 2009 and this picture of me was in one of the photo gallery . I love that I finished my first Ironman on a Trek road bike.