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!

My 49th Year

The photo above was taken on the morning of November 14 on one of my typical hikes in Concord: Marjory Swope Park.

While I usually have yearly goals and give updates on them as part of my posts, I’m going to change it up. I’m starting a new timeline for my 49th year. I’m going to set goals for 11/14/2019 to 11/13/202. I have 365 days before my 50th birthday and I’m going to make my 49th year the best ever – live my best life – as so many people like to say. For me, I need to set goals and have a plan or I will sit on my soft and binge watch Netflix shows all day. 

What is new this year from my typical athletic-related goals is reading a book every week. As of right now I have eight books on my table, all in various stages of being read or not read (but wanting to read). 

Last month my friend Jeff invited me to a book club he has been going to. The book they were reading was A Gentleman in Moscow. I haven’t been part of a book club in years so I looked up the book and it sounded pretty good. I started reading it and loved every sentence. However, on November 14, the day of the meeting, I only finished half of it. I wanted to talk about it with other people who read it, though, because, seriously, it was so good. I don’t mind spoilers because I like knowing what’s going to happen (same with Game of Thrones, I watched the final episode before finishing season 5). The book club met at To Share brewery in Manchester. The brewery is in an old garage, well lit and the beer was fantastic. I’ve been into New England IPAs lately. 

I met some awesome men and women who love to read and were so animated about the book: everyone loved it. 

I can’t wait for the next meeting. We are reading The Girl With the Pearl Earring

My other goal is to hike all 48 4,000 footers in my 49th year. I just finished them this year after starting them in 1988 and I want to hike them all in one year. I think it’s possible.

Then, of course, to actually finish a 100 mile race. I’m signed up for Umstead. Training right now is not going well. It’s taking a while to get used to running outside when it’s 30 degrees.

My 49th year will be about reaching goals and having the best life ever.

Mount Eisenhower

I hiked Eisenhower on Sunday like I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

Clinton Road was not well marked off the Auto Road, but once I knew I was on the right road, I found the trailhead easily. The Edmands Path is a gorgeous trail. The first mile was a nice walk in the woods although I was worried about water for Winnie. Luckily there were a few streams along the way. Once we got to the rocky section closer to the top there was water; it rained a lot there on Saturday. 

There were a lot of dogs on the trail, only two were off leash. But all well behaved and cute! One particular grey/blue pit bull – so adorable.

The top was windy and cold. Mount  Washington was in the clouds but a 360 degree view of the world was not too bad. It was Winnie’s 6th 4,000 footer and her first in the Presidentials. She did great.

I didn’t stay at Eisenhower’s peak for very long. I stayed hidden in front of a small cairn just below the summit cairn to stay out of the wind so Winnie could rest and drink water. I saw about 40 people all day. I probably should’ve done a loop and hiked to Pierce or Monroe. Next time I will plan a bit better. It took just 3 ½ hours to hike and 3,110 feet of elevation gain, according to my Garmin. 

I think next weekend I’ll try the Kinsmans.

4,000 footer club

It only took 30 years to get the 4,000 footers done, however, I was out of the region for 15 years. I finished my last one yesterday, August 11, 2019.

But I love a challenge and reaching long-term goals so I’m doing the 67 4,000 footers in New England next so I’ll be heading to Vermont and Maine a lot in the next few months. And, I might have just found a companion to do them with ….. and his dog.

4,000 Footer List, page 1
AMC Guide 24th Edition 4,000 footer list

#doepicshit #ne67

Owl’s Head NH, Finishing my 4,000 footer list

Black Pond Trail

It only took 30 years to finish hiking all my 4,000 footers in New Hampshire. Granted, I was out west for 15 of those years. 

Owl's Head Summit
Owl’s Head Summit

I hiked Owl’s Head on Sunday, August 11 to bag my final peak. Owl’s Head has been my nemesis since several attempts last year and having to turn back due to high water. Fortunately, this year, I met the right person at the right time who was able to hike the mountain with me. I was so afraid of getting lost after reading hundreds of trip reports. But Ross hiked it several times and I felt confident I would make it without being lost in the woods for days. 

We took the Black Pond Bushwhack route and made the round trip in 16 miles and 7 hours. 

Black Pond looking to the Bonds
Black Pond looking to the Bonds

I loved the gently hike to the base of Owl’s Head; just walking in the woods next to a river. It was peaceful and beautiful. 

View from Owl's Head Trail, Franconia Ridge
View from Owl’s Head Trail, Franconia Ridge

The slide and boulders were tough but I gradually got into a rhythm and just headed to the top scrambling up rocks. Hiking down was just as slow. 

I’m so happy to have finished this hike and now I can do the list again, or go right to the 4,000 footers of New England. 

Ross hiking Owl's Head
Ross hiking up the steep trail, Owl’s Head

I love completing life goals. On to the next. 

Next Saturday – Leadville.