Monday, November 25, 2013

Owl's Head and Mt. Martha (52WAV). November 22, 2013

Cherry Mountain Trail, Martha's Mile, Owl's Head Trail.  Just over 5 miles (traverse).

Last Friday, the girls and I joined forces with one of our favorite hiking families and tackled two new-to-us peaks, Owl's Head (52WAV, not the 4K), and Mt. Martha.  Our original plans were to ascend Moriah and Shelburne Moriah, but the weather forecast turned sour at the last minute -- we therefore opted for a shorter trek.  Many thanks to Kelly, Isidora, and Elmore for a fun (but chilly) day out.
We were lucky.  There was a 70% chance of sleet or freezing rain, and all we got was an hour or two of light snow.  Still, I'm glad we chose the easier hike.  Better safe than sorry.

Here we all are, ready to head up Cherry Mountain Trail (Elmore was camera-shy).

The first mile or so was easy-to-moderate.  Conditions on this stretch were favorable.  Just a dusting of powder, no ice.

The trail became relatively steep for the last six or seven tenths of a mile.  Still, there was no ice -- just "powdered sugar." 

We reached the intersection with Martha's Mile...

...and continued up an easy grade to the summit of Mt. Martha.

Summit!  Our view -- Cloud.
The kids stood on the official highpoint.

Sage, not Alex, is pursuing the 52 WAV list (she'll finish next spring/summer).  Therefore, I wanted to get a picture of just her on the highest point.

Congrats on another 52WAV peak, Sage!

After hanging out at the socked-in viewpoint for a few short minutes (it was cold!), we headed toward Owl's Head on Martha's Mile.

The ice began a couple tenths of a mile before the summit of Owl's Head.

I didn't get any other photos of the icy spots, since most of the time I was spotting kids or navigating my own way across tricky, treacherous, and slanted frozen ledges.  The six of us managed well enough with teamwork and care.  I'm very glad our dog wasn't with us today, though.  This was not the place for canines, leashed or unleashed.  Primates only on this one, in these particular conditions.

The summit of Owl's Head was just as socked in as the summit of Mt. Martha.  Oh well.  'Twas still a good hike.

The crew on the official highpoint...

We ate, we paused (it was too cold to properly lounge), and we descended.  Owl's Head Trail was fairly ice-less once we were down a few tenths of a mile.

Info about Cherry Mountain Slide, by the trailhead for Owl's Head Trail,
off Route 115 neat Jefferson, NH.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, folks.  We'll be back the second week of December.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

John Muir Trail 2014

Just a reminder that the girls and I are hiking the John Muir Trail next summer.  We have a blog dedicated to that adventure -- GIRLS ON THE WAY -- JMT 2014 -- please visit that site for more details.

The girls and I didn't hike a mountain last Friday.  We had to stick around our home while some (excellent) tree service folks removed massive and heavily leaning pines from around our house.  I now sleep much better knowing we're not all going to be smushed in the night.

Instead of a mountain, the girls and I walked seven miles to Dunkin Donuts and back.  It was fun...we hadn't walked to Dunkin Donuts before, and it was interesting to discover how fast we now are on hilly and smooth pavement as opposed to steep rocks, ice, and roots.  We did the three and a half miles from our house to DD in just over an hour, and the pace felt casual.

Funny, I've gotten three advertising requests in the past week...this is right after I announced that this site is returning to its "hiking blog" roots.  Our hikes will continue to be recorded, and I will also, from time to time, record my thoughts on hiking in general, and on how hiking affects my mood and the rest of my life, etc.  What I won't do anymore, however, is advertise.  Not that I did much of that before.  I was -- and still am, apparently -- routinely contacted by folks who want to post ads or write guest blogs (with ads), and/or pay me to advertise.  I've only allowed a few ads/freebies/gear reviews, and only for products/sites I genuinely found useful and enjoyed.  (EDIT -- I sought out and asked Marcy Light to guest blog a few months ago -- she's awesome and her blog is great -- that had nothing to do with advertising).  Now, however, I'm only interested in reporting our hikes and exploring my own thoughts as I grow into a more experienced and intense hiker myself.  The girls and I hike once a week, but I also hike on my own once or twice a week, and I'm getting more and more comfortable in all kinds of extreme weather and terrain. 

Enough blathering for now -- the girls and I will get back into the mountains on the 22 (this Friday), so there will be a proper trip report posted next Monday (November 25).

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Roots and Introspection

This blog is slowly but surely returning to its roots.  I started recording my daughters' mountain adventures as a way to keep track of what the girls had done and where we'd been.  I published our reports to let friends and family know what we were doing, and to offer information about the trails to interested hikers. 

Up: A Mother and Daughter's Peakbagging Adventure hit the physical and virtual shelves in April 2012, and during the months before and after my memoir's publication date, my posts were relatively big and broad.  That was fine, that was what was called for at the time.  Now, however, my daughters are getting older and they -- and I -- want the blog to go back to what it used to be.  All three of us want me to publish our weekly trip reports, and all three of us want me to blog about our long-distance hikes.  Personal details regarding the girls that have nothing to do with hiking, however, will no longer be shared. 

Each of us wants more privacy -- I actually feel like I'm becoming a recluse.  I'm more and more choosy about who I hang out with, I'm unfriending people on Facebook who aren't my actual, real-life friends, and I'm enjoying most of my peace and happiness amongst the trees and peaks.    

The girls are getting older, more mature, and more and more independent.  In each of them, I'm seeing more and more young woman and less and less girl.  Their maturity levels and intellect have taken major leaps forward lately, and that's prompted me to think about what my life might be like after they have both left for college.  One of the most important jobs of motherhood is to let your grown children go -- without guilt trips, without mama-drama, and without clinginess.  Alex and Sage's lives have been and always will be THEIR lives, and they do not owe me a thing (they did not ask to be born, and it's a parent's duty to do the best she can for her children).  I think, when the time comes, I'll be able to properly let my chicks fly.  I've got plans for my life after my girls leave.  Raising my children to the best of my ability has been my number one priority since the day I discovered I was pregnant with Alex.  After Sage leaves for college, I'll consider myself mostly retired.  The empty-nest portion of my life will be filled with as many long-distance hikes and low-budget travel as my health will allow.

Of course, we've some time yet.  Alex has another seven years at home and Sage has nine, provided both enter college at the traditional age of eighteen.  Given the girls' interests, those seven to nine years will probably be filled with hiking, homeschooling, and a myriad of other activities.  Both girls love to see new lands, and they love camping and hitting the trails.  Sage recently told me she missed the Camino, and Alex has been looking through our John Muir Trail guidebook.  Our lives are good and I am grateful for our time together.  Both my girls are humble, polite, respectful, and intelligent.  Hugh is a great father, a solid provider, and a good friend.  I'm a lucky woman.

This blog will continue to contain weekly trip reports, and, from time to time, I'll comment on the long-term effects of this year's Camino.  For example, I've taken huge and necessary steps to simplify my life, and, as I mentioned above, I'm becoming more and more of a recluse (my children have their friends and social activities -- I'm speaking strictly for myself here).  I'm happiest when I'm in the woods or on a trail, and I don't feel the need or desire to join any particular groups or cliques.  That being said, I am all for making and strengthening honest friendships with folks whose values I deeply respect.  In other words, quality over quantity.  More on all that later, perhaps -- time to go walk my dog through our acre of pines.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mt. Major. November 1, 2013

We had a wonderful time meeting the SheJumps folks!  What a fantastic female-empowering organization!  We were honored to speak at their event. 


Mt. Major Trail, Brook Trail.  4-ish roundtrip miles.

The girls and I summited Mt. Major last Friday.  We went up Mt. Major Trail in a mist and descended Brook Trail in a downpour. We enjoyed this easy hike -- the grades were never steep.  I had to stop taking photos and stash the camera soon after we began our descent, though; it rained buckets that afternoon!

Starting out.

Heading up Mt. Major Trail

Near the top, one can choose the ledge route to the right
 or the easier route to the left.  We chose the ledge route.

View from near the summit.

Alex and Max on the summit of Mt. Major.

Sage and Alex on the summit of Mt. Major.

Views from the summit.

Sage getting blown off the summit.

Heading down.

This was a nice way to burn off some of the previous evening's Halloween candy!

We won't hike this Friday, as we've got other plans.  We'll be back on the trails November 15.