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

New routines, escape the news

I woke up with a weird feeling in my ears, like they were clogged. I Googled the symptoms of the coronavirus and this is not one of them. I’m hoping it’s nothing. But it makes me think I picked up something at the grocery store, the only place I go. 

Despite morning drama, today was all about getting out of the coronavirus-induced-funk and running outside, doing my core workout, writing and reading. I did it all today. Plus tons of dog walking. 

While I walk the dogs I pick up trash. In the wake of disaster picking up trash has lifted my spirits. There seems to be so much trash on the streets in Concord. With all the wind from last night and today, I’m sure there will be more. 

What also lifts my spirits is watching Parks and Rec. I started watching the first season, again and it is seriously so funny. My favorite quote is from Leslie: “I get to build a whole park from scratch. This could be my Hoover Dam.”

this could be my Hoover Dam.

What I love about her character is she is so hopeful and always looks at her problems from a wide lens. How can I translate that in my world and get through the pandemic?

I get to write a new book. This could be my Eat, Pray, Love”. That is my equivalent to Leslie Knope’s Hoover Dam. 

My second favorite Knope quote from Parks and Rec Season 1, Episode 1 that illustrates how much I love her character:

“We’re a nation of dreamers and it is my dream to build a park that I one day visit with my White House staff on my birthday. And they say, ‘President Knope, this park is awesome. Now we understand why you are the first female President of the United States.”

What also lifts my spirits is reading stories about people doing amazing things. Jessica Wheeler Russell of Concord, wants to help by connecting people who want to help and those who need help. Wow, just an amazing story. Unfortunately the story doesn’t list her organization and I couldn’t find it while searching. 

There are stories all over about people doing kind things to others. These stories make me sane as I read news online at least 10 times each day. 

And finally, there is this from the NYT. An opinion piece written by Kiley Bense about the nuns who turned into nurses during the Spanish Flu in Philadelphia, 1918. Many of the nuns died while helping but later were honored for saving so many lives when they left the safety of their church and helped the people of Philadelphia, with no medical training. The author of the story parallels the crisis today with 1918. We need to help protect and care for people in our community, she writes. 

While most people have no reason to fear the coronavirus, we have a responsibility as a society to protect and care for those who do have reason to fear it. The sisters’ quiet, determined selflessness is what is needed now, and what we will need more of in the weeks and months to come, not only from doctors and nurses but also from ordinary people, who will be asked to alter their daily lives in ways both large and small, giving up comfortable routine for the sake of the vulnerable”. 

For now, I’m going to pick up trash. I know there is more to do and I will be a helper. 

But in the meantime, I might just stay away from the news for a bit. I just found out Showtime is free until April. I’ll be watching The Affair (love Josh Jackson) and Homeland. Escape into the world of affairs and CIA operatives. Escapism at its best.

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.

Training Update, Pivoting

A buzzword I’ve been hearing lately is a pivot. 
That is what training and life have been like lately – I’m pivoting. 

While the coronavirus and lifestyle changes don’t really affect me in the sense that I don’t go out a lot or congregate in groups all that much, now I just don’t have that option. I’m not complaining, not at all, because I have everything I need. It’s what everyone has to do now – pivot – make changes and adjust thinking and activities. I still have a job; that’s always good. 

Take a deep breath.

What I like about the concept of pivoting is that it doesn’t mean desperation; it can be additional growth. It’s changing what you do right now to maintain your vision; your vision of what the future will be.

While races are canceled and training is in flux, I still am running, walking a lot and reading. 

Race calendar updated
This week’s training plan

The world is changing – every year brings something we didn’t expect; globally and locally. As a GenXer this is our world, something we always have lived with and for me it makes me not trust anyone or anything. America’s neglected ‘middle child’. Could it be true that “being in the middle is a power place to be.” Doubt it.

Ha. But I’m getting away from my point. 

Maybe pivoting is what I’ve been doing all my life, always re-imagining what I could do and be. Maybe it’s time to reassess and make some changes. Pivot.

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.