Monday, February 24, 2014

Mt. Crawford (52 WAV). February 23, 2014

JMT planning is underway!  Please don't forget to donate to Feeding America.  The girls and I thank you!!

Davis Path.  5 miles roundtrip, about 2200 feet of elevation gain.

The girls and I tackled something new yesterday -- we ascended Mt. Crawford, an easy-to-moderate (by 4K standards) peak on the 52 With a View list.  I greatly enjoyed this trek.  Though the 4Ks are beautiful, sometimes the girls and I prefer to explore new-to-us territory.

We arrived at the parking lot off Route 302 to find the "Davis Path" sign slightly buried...

The trail begins down this road and to the right...

...just over this bridge.

A slew of snowshoes must have been on this trail the day before.  We had a nice, firm path that easily supported our weight.  We were able to ascend in microspikes without damaging the trail.

Approaching the first viewpoint...


Only a few tenths of a mile to go...


Though the day was warm by winter standards (30 degrees or so), the wind was strong and snow and ice kept blowing in our faces.  The girls tried to stand still for a few summit shots with the Presidentials in the background, but it was difficult...the wind kept pushing snow into their eyes.

After I stopped taking photos, they were able to turn (out of the wind) and admire the view.

We descended into the trees a bit and ate whoopie pies before descending most of the trail on our bottoms.

End of hike!

What a great day in the mountains!  Life is good.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hermits on the Hancocks (Desserts on the 48). Feb 9, 2014

Woo-hoo!  My leg feels completely back to normal.  Hooray for stretches and recovery exercises!

The girls and I got back into the woods yesterday and ascended a couple of mountains.  It felt wonderful!  I think we can now resume our usual once-a-week hiking routine.

We are currently chasing multiple lists, but in a casual fashion.  During the next six months -- hopefully, before we leave for the John Muir Trail in August -- we should finish, or almost finish, the following lists: 52 With a View (Sage), Trailwrights 72 (Alex), Desserts on the 48 (both girls), and the Terrifying 25 (both girls).  FYI, we made up the last two lists (we enjoy rock scrambling, and we all wanted to do another round of the NH48...this time, with different desserts).  When we come back from California in late August/early September, we'll probably start visiting the New Hampshire peaks we haven't yet seen.  We live in a gorgeous area of the country, and the girls love to get out there, so why not keep exploring.

The hike up the Hancocks was the perfect get-back-into-it venture.  The first part of this trek is 1.8 miles of flatness along the Hancock Notch Trail.  All that flatness gives a recovering body ample time to get warmed up before hitting the steeps.

The entrance to the trail, in the parking lot off Route 112.

The trail was nicely packed from the previous day's foot traffic, so we didn't need to wear our snowshoes.

1.8 miles of flat!

We took a short water break by the first intersection.  Then it was on to 0.7 miles of Cedar Brook Trail.

Crossing a snowed-over stream.

We reached the Hancock Loop Trail, took a few more gulps of water, and walked the 1.1 miles to the beginning of the actual loop.

This part of the trail's grade is easy-to-moderate.  It only gets steep on the actual loop over the peaks.

Sage with frosty hair and eyelashes.

Loop time!  We chose the common North-first approach so we could experience the dangerous joy of butt-sliding down South Hancock.

The trail up North Hancock goes down for a tenth of a mile, then it ascends steeply for six tenths of a mile.  Up to this point, the girls and I had flown through the woods.  When we reached this stretch, however, I had to slow down.  Alex and Sage kept their same pace, which meant they kept going ahead of me, way out of eyesight.  Both of them now hike like fit young athletes, whereas I hike like an aging mom.  There may soon come a time when I ask folks I trust in the hiking community, young adults known for their quick pace and strong (and safe) hiking skills, to allow my girls to go with them from time to time so they can keep hiking to their ability (and not be handicapped by the presence of their mom).

On top of North Hancock...

We're counting this as part of our quest for Desserts on the 48.  Store-bought hermits served as our summit treat.

We're not paid to endorse these hermits.  We simply find them yummy.

The temperature up top was a balmy fifteen degrees (F), but the sun was out and we felt fairly warm.  We therefore lounged for a few minutes and soaked in the view before continuing the 1.4 miles to South Hancock.

Moving along the ridge toward South Hancock.

On South Hancock.

We lounged for a while on this peak, too.  Eventually, we got up and began the crazy-steep 0.5 mile descent back to the loop intersection.

Sage looking at Arrow Slide and North Hancock.
After this photo was taken, we sat and descended via buttsliding.

I don't have photos of our buttsliding descent.  I was concentrating on protecting the girls and not impaling myself on any branches while we zoomed down at approximately 100 miles an hour.  The girls laughed hysterically all the way down the mountain, and we all ended up with frozen rear ends and huge smiles on our faces.

This was my fourth time, Alex's third time, and Sage's second time on the Hancocks.

'Twas an excellent day in the woods.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Thanks, Alexander B. Bruce Elementary School!

Last Friday, we had a wonderful time speaking with a crowd of fun-loving and intelligent students at Alexander B. Bruce Elementary School in Lawrence, MA.  Many thanks to Allison Nadler for introducing us to her fabulous class!

Have fun in the snow today, everyone!

Monday, February 3, 2014

More Presi Rail Trail. Feb. 3, 2014

Presidential Rail Trail, Appalachia to Bowman, 6.2 flat miles, roundtrip.

This is Recovery Hike #3.  Recovery Hike #2 was a 5-mile jaunt up and down some hills near my home last week.  The leg is feeling great, thanks to the stretches I mentioned in a previous post, along with some new ones my local (and excellent) sports med doctor suggested (specific flexion and Range of Motion stretches -- see your doctor for individualized recommendations).  All these stretches, combined with light and cautious exercise, have brought me back into mountain-hiking shape.  At least, I hope I'm back in mountain-hiking shape.  I'll find out this Friday or next Monday, when I hope to summit something (anything!).

Thanks for all the well-wishes, folks.  I'm grateful for all the supportive emails!

The Presidential Rail Trail is barely used by hikers.  Guess it's too flat and boring compared with the gorgeous local waterfalls and peaks.  Even so, I enjoyed my stroll this morning.  Any stretch of forested trail is a good thing...especially in the Whites, where Mother Nature displays her beauty year-round.

The long and flat -- but effective -- road to recovery.

Frozen stream.

The intersection of a snowmobile trail, near Lowe's Path.

Heading west.

Nearing my turnaround point.

The intersection with Castle Trail.

Heading back.

The girls and I haven't been on a mountaintop in FAR TOO LONG.  I think it's been over a month -- that is forever as far as we're concerned!  Soon though, soon....just want to make sure my iliotibial band has its act together before we resume our usual hiking routine.  I hope to personally see a mountaintop within the next seven days.  Wish me luck!