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

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.

Pemi Trail to Liberty Springs, 2,000 miles

On Saturday after an attempt to hike Willey in Crawford Notch I headed home with the thought that I would stop at an unknown trailhead and explore for a few hours before driving back to Concord. 

I stopped at Lafayette Campground and Trailhead Parking to hike towards Kinsman. I thought for sure there would be parking since it is mid-season. But nope – no parking at all. So I continued south on I-93 and decided to take the Flume exit and hike around the Liberty Springs Trail. Last year I hiked from this trailhead and knew there would be parking. Yep, just a few cars. 

Winnie and I started hiking the Pemi Trail around 12:30 and needed spikes from the start. The trail was spectacular and we crossed many streams. The bike trail had a coating of ice so spikes were still needed. 

We took the trail to Liberty and while it would’ve been great to summit Liberty it was 1) too late in the day (although I did have my headlamp and enough food and water) 2) the 5 mile hike in Crawford Notch really was tough. I decided that I would go slow, look around, meditate and just really enjoy the day. The sun was slowly descending and just made the afternoon so enjoyable. 

I’ve never hiked so slow. I’m not in my ultrarunning shape that I was in four months ago when Mount Washington was a piece of cake. Really, I thought that in July.

Now, fast forward to November when every leg muscle seems to hurt before, during and especially after running and hiking. 

I have goals and want to be outside hiking, running – but it seems I’ve slowed down. There will be time to pick up the pace but for now, slow hiking is amazing. 

Two miles into the hike we turned around and headed back to the car the same way we came. 

While on the hike I hit my 2,000 mile mark for 2019. I set this goal at the beginning of the year and am pleased that I reached it in November. Next year, 4,000 miles! I’ll be figuring out my race plan for 2020 in a few weeks. I’m thinking mainly New England running events but first – core and strengthening to finish out the year and get rid of these aches and pains.