Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Muse: Alex Finishes the Winter 4Ks

Many congratulations to Alex -- she's now climbed all 48 of New Hampshire's highest mountains during calendar winters; her final summit was Mt. Flume, which she ascended on March 17.  She's happy and proud of her accomplishment.

I'm happy and proud of her too.  Mostly, however, I'm relieved.

This has been a fun and worthwhile endeavor, but I did spend most of the last twelve weeks glued to various weather sites and losing a lot of sleep.  Though I don't regret one second of our adventures, I'm happy I no longer have to obsess about wind chills and ice conditions and visibility.

These mountains are tough.  Elevation gain is often over 4000 feet, and a good handful of these peaks require 10-18 miles of roundtrip, rough hiking.  The weather can be unpredictable and New Hampshire winters are snowy and COLD. 

Alex did good.  :)  I've watched her grow from a six-year-old who could only winter hike on packed snow to a nine-year old who broke trail up closed Zealand Road and most of Mt. Hale.  She used to depend on microspikes, now she's comfortable with Hillsound Pro Trail Crampons.  She's learned how to stay covered during wind chill advisories, and she's not afraid of hiking in cold, stiff wind (she enjoys that, actually).  Her endurance has increased to the point where 15-18 mountain miles feels routine.  It's been fun, watching her grow and thrive in the mountains.

Each of our winter 4K hikes was its own adventure, though Alex's three favorites were our trips up Jefferson, Washington and Monroe.  Her least favorite was our hike of East Osceola (so much work for a treed-in summit!).

Many thanks to Sage and Hugh, who have been consistently supportive.  Sage accompanied me and Alex on six winter 4Ks this year; my six-year-old daughter now has 14-mile Mt. Carrigain, the Tripyramids, Mt. Garfield, and Mt. Isolation in the bag should she decide to pursue the winter 4Ks next year.  Those are serious winter peaks!  My hat's off to her.

Thanks also to Mike Robertson, who watched our dog, Max, while we hiked.  We often made boarding arrangements at the last minute.  Mike knew of and supported our quest; we appreciated his flexibility and understanding, and Max appreciated having a warm and fun place to stay.

Thanks to Tim, Val, and Rick, who watched Sage during the times she did not want to hike and Hugh was unavailable.

48 mountains down, 0 hikes to go!

I'll post the trip report tomorrow evening.

Feels good to be done.


unstrung said...

way, way, way cool. kudos to team herr!

Patricia Ellis Herr, Alexandra Herr, and Sage Herr said...

Many thanks, unstrung!

Mark Truman said...

" Alex did good"? More like you both did GREAT, The W48 is a huge accomplishment for anyone and so much moreso for a 9 year old. Not that I think that Alex is a typical 9 year old by any stretch of the imagination. For me the best part has always been that both your kids do this with such obvious joy. Can't imaging what could be better. Major congrats to you both! Can't wait to see the full report. Sure wish we could have been there to share it...

Patricia Ellis Herr, Alexandra Herr, and Sage Herr said...

Thanks, Mark! We had a great day.