The Osceolas in February

I got a chance to hike to Osceola and East Osceola today. Oh my gosh. The slides are so hard.

I hiked Osceola last January and didn’t quite make it to the main peak but today, I did both peaks and feel like I really don’t need to ever do them again. Well, okay, let’s be real, I want to finish the grid in the next year or two so I have 10 more months that I have to do them in. 

My friend Mark, who I know from racing Leadville last year, was up for a challenge and agreed to hike with me. The alternative was running 15 trail miles in Concord. I needed to get out of the city and head to the hills and he was game. Thanks Mark! 

The slides were harder than I remembered from a year ago. They were so freaking hard. It was cold, too. Temperatures started at 12 degrees. I debated for hours prior to leaving Concord about bringing Winnie. I love when she hikes with me because I don’t have to worry about getting back to her. And she loves hiking. She did awesome! 

On top of Mount Osceola

There were two other dogs on the trail and they were so cute and happy. Winnie didn’t quite get along with one of them but we didn’t hike with them the entire way. (I think they didn’t get a long because they were a little too much alike; not exactly submissive but not aggressive either. Not every dog gets along and it’s okay). All three dogs just loved being on the trail with their owner and having a great day. So happy!

Mark and I started with spikes and after the first peak switched to snowshoes and then wore them for the rest of the day. On the slides I was walking like an ape, just trying to grasp a hold of anything to make me not slide down. 

Mount Osceola

We were able to hike around the chimney and reached a socked-in summit. It’s okay – that hike was so hard I was just thankful to make it alive to the summit.

The hike down was tricky. We slid down a lot,  and there were some scary moments when I couldn’t stop. But you know, it was so great to be in the White Mountains, with my dog, with my friend Mark and bag two 4,000 footers.

I needed to get out of the city. I needed to be in the mountains. I needed to have a beer at One Love Brewery and just escape life and endurance training. 

It was a hard day. It was a F**king hard day in the mountains but it was life affirming and filled with all the things I love about my life: dogs, mountains, friends, checking off shit from your to-do list. 

East Osceola

I can’t wait for the next time.

Cannon Mountain January 2020

I headed up north to hike Cannon Mountain today with Vicky and Mike. It was raining hard in Concord and all the way up to Lincoln. Then suddenly, no rain. The Lafayette Campground parking lot had three cars in it (there were actual parking spots, imagine that) as we started up the trail to Cannon. 

The snow was sand-like and the trail pretty steep for most of the hike. Despite a few icy sections, and the ladders, we made it to viewless summit. 

It was a fun hike. A great day to be outside while it rained in Concord.

Vicky on the ladders.

The last time I did this hike was July 1989. It was time to get on this trail and mark off number 10 of 48 at 49.

Just before the summit

The Pemi Traverse in Winter

While I’m not sure it is the proper name, I called our hike on Thursday, December 26 the Pemi Traverse since we hiked 25 miles through the heart of the Pemigewasset Wilderness and didn’t loop it. It seems like the right name, though.

The day started with a car spot coordinated by Ross. The four of us left from Route 302 and walked 2.5 miles on Zealand Road to the Hale Brook Trail. The hike was steep in section but spikes were the right choice. The temperature was warm enough to warrant wearing just a wind breaker, hat and gloves. We were the only ones on the trail and at the summit, so far. I don’t remember ever being at the summit of Mount Hale alone; it’s usually crowded.

Mount Hale, 4054, done! 

Now onto Zealand via Twinway. While hiking through the low laying areas, the snow was sand-like. The streams weren’t frozen, but icy,  and at one point I stepped the wrong way over a stream, lost my balance and face-planted into a pile of soft snow. There were a few false summits and I was glad to reach the junction for a right hand turn and a .1 mile hike off Twinway to the summit. 

Zealand, 4260, done!

We hiked over Guyot, 4580, but unfortunately it doesn’t count as one of the 48 4,000 footers.

Onto the Bondcliff Trail and a short 1 mile diversion over to West Bond, 4540.

Originally I was going to bypass it and keep on with Vicky who was having leg cramps, and didn’t want the extra miles. I bypassed this peak on the summer Pemi Loop run because I was exhausted. But on this hike I felt great and wanted to go for it once I saw the trail sign. It was soooooo worth it. Great views, no clouds and no wind. I hit my head twice on tree limbs dangling across the trail (Stop staring at your feet while hiking!) while on the final 10 miles of this hike. Ouch. 

I hiked up Bond as fast as I could to catch up with Vicky. Hiking above treeline is amazing. By 4:15pm there was still no wind and the temperature seemed to be staying steady but I was losing light. Bond, 4698 done! I took a video and some pictures and continued on to Bondcliff. 

I wanted to arrive at Bondcliff at sunset because it is my favorite mountain. I missed the sunset but it’s okay. Vicky was waiting at the top. I took in the amazing view and the colors to the west. I just love the rock formation and the feeling of being in the middle of a protected wilderness. There was very little snow and I could’ve taken off my spikes but I opted to keep them on; they made me feel more confident despite so many rocks. Dark was approaching and I wanted to hike the difficult descent off Bondcliff with Vicky so we headed down.  

Bondcliff, 4265, done! 

The slogfest back to Lincoln Woods began in the dark. It was my first time hiking with a headlamp in the White Mountains. We ran some of the trail and then really picked up the pace the last four miles. We made it safe and sound to our cars. 

Things I learned on this trip, luckily not from difficulty but just knowing that so much could’ve gone wrong, and always thinking about worst case scenarios:

  • Always carry extra batteries for your headlamp
  • Never hike long distance that begin and end in the dark, alone
  • Hike with more gear and more food than you need
  • Stop staring at your feet and look around while you hike so you don’t get a concussion from running into trees

What a day! Here’s the crew stopping at Zealand Hut for some water.


Hancock Loop, So Much Joy

Saturday was a hike the Hancock Loop kind of day. The morning started out cold. When I left Concord it was 9 degrees and during the drive it hovered between 5 and 10 degrees. It was a high of 14 when I started from the Hancock parking lot on the Kancamagus Highway. 

I know this trail so well. I’ve been on it five times already in the last two years. Attempting North and South separately in all seasons. Today my goal was to do the entire loop. In my mind I knew that if it didn’t feel right I would turn around: too icy, too cold, too scary.

All reasons to turn around.

At mile 3 I met my first hiker. A solo, woman on her way back to the trailhead. At 10:00 she had already done the loop – impressive. She told me she had an early start and the conditions on the ridge were amazing: no wind, some soft snow and no snowshoes needed. She warned of icy conditions going up and coming down but said all very doable. Running into her gave me the confidence that I could do this loop.

I’m so glad I did. Going up South Hancock was tricky. Icy spots had me grabbing trees and stumps to get up. Steep. Steep. 

The ridge was awesome. Fluffy snow, cool views, no wind. I started to run when I could and felt giddy, laughing to myself at the pure joy of being at 4,000 feet in December. Joy. Joy. Joy. 

A little more climbing to North Hancock and then down the steep trail back into the valley. 

We hiked 9.5 miles; the most mileage Winnie has ever hiked. 


To live with joy is to live with wonder, gratitude and hope.

Today, Sunday is a 16 mile run and then a recovery day on Monday.

Merry Christmas!

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.