I picked up the local newspaper when I was in Lincoln on Sunday. In it I read an article by Tom Ryan about hiking with his dog Atticus. Ryan said that hiking is not about bagging a peak and heading back down. Hiking is about the journey of getting to the top and somehow finding your way home. It’s about being somewhere that isn’t as safe as your living room.
The article reminded me that every time I am about 5 minutes from a trailhead I’m scared. As I get closer to the start I get really nervous about getting lost, kidnapped, killed. All the irrational fears appear. Maybe not all irrational because I do watch, listen and read the news. All my outdoor activities take me out of my comfort zone. Not knowing the outcome is hard for a control freak – and let’s be honest – we are all control freaks.
I always forget about that fear as I’m planning the next hike. The feeling is similar to fear I have prior to flying and traveling to a new place; thinking of all the bad things that could happen.
What I like about Tom Ryan’s article is how he loved the end of day when he was simply exhausted and fell asleep getting ready for bed. That is a great feeling.
At the end of Sunday’s hike, that didn’t result in bagging another 4,000 peak, I stopped at the One Love Brewery. I’ve been meaning to go there just because I love the name. They can your choice of beer behind the bar. I chose the Octoberfest beer.
After hiking for 12 miles hike with my dog on a trail that meandered into a wilderness, I got home safely, I enjoyed a One Love beer and fell asleep exhausted. It was a good day.
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.
Our hike on the Starr King trail began around 8am since we stayed in Gorham for the night. The wind was howling and it was only 25 degrees.
The trail meandered through the forest and since all the leaves were off the trees (and covering the trail) the views were nice except but hiking was difficult since the rocks were covered.
It was a steady incline and after hiking Cabot yesterday my quads felt it.
As we got closer to the the summit of Starr King I had to put on my wind breaker and my face was cold from the wind and cold temperatures. I wanted to get there as fast as I could because I was getting nervous about the wind.
We got to the top of Starr King with cool views and the Jay birds flying around.
We saw a few people and decided to run to the top of Waumbek to just get it done and be out of the cold. The ridge run to the top was an amazing forest and a lot of mud!
We made it and hiked/ran most of the way back to the car.