Sunday, June 26, 2011

All Future Posts...

...will be on our main blog, Trish, Alex and Sage.

I can justify each of the girls having her own blog (if you have more than one kid, then you can understand), but I can no longer justify an entire blog just for little ol' me.

See you on the other site,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Max's 1st 4K, Tecumseh (9). March 19, 2011

Mt. Tecumseh Trail from ski parking lot, 5 miles roundtrip.

Guess I won't be solo hiking for a while; Max, our border terrier, is old enough to accompany me on 4Ks.

Border terriers were bred to keep up with horses during fox hunts; they are energetic and hardy little dogs, and they require a lot of exercise. When I asked the breeder and our vet about the minimum age for safe 4K hiking, both told me Max would probably be ready at six months. As long as we walk and don't run, and as long as I pay attention to his rather obvious cues, hiking will be good for him.

Here he is, ready to roll...

Max was a happy little pup as we set off along the trail. His tail was high and wagging, his ears were perked up, he walked with a bounce in his step...and then we came to....a water crossing.

Water crossings scare the bejeesus out of Max. All four paws dig into the ground in the classic nuh-uh-I'm-not-budging pose and that's the end of that. In the woods around my house, I pick him up and carry him over any water we come across. For 4Ks, however, all steps must be walked on one's own two feet (or four paws), so carrying is an illegal tactic.

Since I'd no intention of dragging my dog across the snowbridge, I came up with a solution that worked for both of us; out came the doggie treats. Max saw the little bones, immediately lost all fear of the water, and followed the moving treats across the stream and up the bank.

Besides the crossings, the hike to the View went smoothly and quickly. Max walked at my normal hiking pace and showed no signs of stress or fatigue. His happiness increased when we took a break to watch the skiers fly down the hill. Max was very, very interested in those skiers and ruffed at me for not allowing him to give chase.

Next came the never-ending slog part, one mile of repetitive this:

I thought Max would tire at some point along this section, but he never did. Once, he stopped right in front of me and looked up as though expecting something. At first, I thought he was ready to go home, but then I realized it was lunchtime. We took a break, I poured his food into a little bowl, and he ate. When his food was finished, he perked up his ears and continued up the trail.

We conquered the slog and got past the intersection with the Sosman Trail. Views opened to our left...

Max gave me a curious look whenever I used the camera...

Not too much longer....and we made it!

Max ate some treats and drank some water while I took in the views.

We greeted some members of a Boy Scout troop who arrived on the summit while we were resting, then we took our leave and headed down.

Max's tail never stopped wagging, and at home he acted his usual self. Can't wait to take him with us on some backpacking trips this summer.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cannon Mt. (6), November 13, 2010

Kinsman Ridge Trail, 4.4 miles roundtrip.

I had a rare Saturday to myself, so I took a quick hike up Cannon.

The bottom half of the trail was leaf-covered, rocky and steep (I always forget how steep this trail is!)

Echo Lake peeked through the trees.

Then...the ice started. At first it wasn't a big deal.

And then, it was.

The problem wasn't the ice itself, it was the inconsistency of its appearance. Sometimes it was there, sometimes it wasn't, sometimes it was easy to manage without microspikes, sometimes I felt like I needed crampons. My 'spikes went off and on and off and on...irritating!

Finally, I got above treeline. The views made up for the recent angst.

Up the remaining bits...

...and to the summit. The actual highpoint is under the tower; no one can get to it anymore, since that area is now sectioned off.

Views from the top of the observation tower...

After chatting up a few nice people on the tower, I headed back down. Another nice walk in the woods.

This may have been my last solo hike. Very soon, a puppy will enter my life. Though I know it will be a long time before he will be able to hike a 4K, I do plan on bringing him with me as much as I am able. He'll ride in a sling, and he'll walk a bit here and there as he's able. We'll take it slowly, and by this time next year he'll probably be a little peakbagger. He's a breed that likes to hike in all kinds of weather -- the girls and I look forward to his company.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mt. Moosilauke (3), November 1, 2010

Gorge Brook Trail, 7.4 miles roundtrip.

Mondays are my Saturdays -- Hugh takes both kids and I have 24 hours to myself. I've vowed to hike every Monday, come what may...this week, I chose to ascend Moosilauke.

The trail was icy from the get-go; I donned microspikes at the car. The ascent to treeline went well...lots of snow and ice, but I thought it scenic.

Above treeline, the wind was roaring! I layered up before stepping into White World.

The last couple tenths of a mile were...interesting. Visibility was less than ten feet at times and I could not see from one cairn to the next, so I took out the trusty compass and double checked a few things on the way up. Finally, I came to the block of rime ice that currently encompasses the summit signs.

A video of the experience...

Descending was easier. I found treeline after only having to use the compass once; visibility was a tiny bit better on the way back down.

Once in the trees, I could see again. Made short work of the rest of the trail and made it down in time for a late lunch.

Good times.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mt. Flume (2), September 27, 2010

Lincoln Woods and Osseo Trails, out and back. 11 miles roundtrip.

I forgot my camera! No pictures for this brief TR, my words will have to suffice. Later, I'll add Silverfox's photos if I can.

SilverFox (of VFTT) and I have been talking about hiking something together for a long while. Finally, the stars aligned themselves properly and we were able to schedule Flume for this morning.

We met at 10am and hit the Lincoln Woods Trail.
Here's a photo taken by Silverfox:

We walked at a brisk pace, and I relished our conversation. I love my usual hiking partner, of course, but it IS nice sharing the trail with a grown-up every once in a while.

A short while later, we arrived at the Osseo Trail. The Osseo is lovely -- it must be the most rock-free (relatively speaking) path in the Whites. Thanks, FisherCat, for doing such a wonderful job maintaining this trail!

Silverfox and I conversed our way up the wooden ladders and to the summit. I was relieved to discover that my pace wasn't too slow for him. He hikes about a million times a week; I had been concerned that I would slow him down. Glad to know that wasn't the case.

The summit was encased in cloud, but it was still good to be up there. We sat and ate for a bit, then we made our way back down the trail and to the parking lot.

It was truly a lovely day -- thanks to Silverfox for his enjoyable company.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tecumseh (8), September 6, 2010

Tecumseh Trail, 5 miles roundtrip.

I hit the trail at 10am on beautiful Labor Day. My hike was the typical mix of rocks and roots, ending at the familiar cairn at the top of my first 4K peak, Tecumseh. Since Tecumseh was also Alex's -- and Sage's! -- first 4K, this mountain holds a special place in my heart.

Since it was a holiday, there were tons of people on the trail; I'm used to having this mountain mostly to myself. No matter, it was still a lovely walk in the woods.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cannon Mountain (5). August 15, 2010

Hi-Cannon Trail. 5.6 miles roundtrip.

I had a few days to myself after the girls and I returned from our two month roadtrip. On one of my solo mornings, I thought I'd take a walk up Cannon to see how well my legs remembered New Hampshire hiking.

Most of our summer's highpoint trails had been smooth and relatively devoid of rocks and roots. I prefer stones and boulders, as they bring a more interactive feel to a hike. Thankfully, I now live in the Whites, where all kinds of large objects litter the trail. Rocks, roots, stones, boulders, cliffs, fallen trees, etc. -- they're everywhere. One can't daydream too deeply while ascending a 4K, for there are too many things to step around and climb over!

The ladder was...interesting. I'm not convinced it's all that stable...

Lonesome Lake down below...

A teensy bit of smooth trail, which greatly resembled most of our summer's highpoint paths...

Up top, on the way to the observation tower, I noticed that a couple of things have changed since my last visit. Since December 2009, they've roped off environmentally sensitive areas...

and built a new staircase (which one can only ascend when the weather permits).

The tower itself...

...and views! Looking east, there's Franconia Ridge...

Looking south...

the Kinsmans...

Looking southwest...

Looking west...


I was pleasantly surprised at myself. Ascent time was 1.5 hours, which is pretty good considering I've spent most of the summer sitting in my car.

It's good to be back.