Sunday, October 23, 2016

Schoolwork, Extracurriculars...and Hiking. Always Hiking.

I have already passed on most of the blogging privileges/responsibilities to Alex when it comes to our trip reports.  Alex will share the blogging with her sister, Sage, when Sage reaches the age of 13.  Both girls enjoy writing, and they both obviously enjoy hiking, so it's appropriate that as they each grow older, their voices are heard more and more.  I have been the voice behind our adventures for long is their turn now; the torch has been passed.

That being said, I'll chime in from time to time, and I'll keep posting photos so I can keep records for myself of our hikes.  We hike so often that I need the reminder of what we did and when, especially when it comes to keeping track for the NH Grid.  I keep a paper record and I back up all photos, but it is nice to also have a record on this blog.

A note regarding Alex and her blogging these days -- she is fitting in the blogging, and both she and Sage are fitting in the Global Fund for Women fundraising, between a mountain of schoolwork and other extracurricular activities.  Both girls are taking high school classes now, though each are not yet of usual high school age.  This is one of the reasons we homeschool, so they can take the courses that work for them at their own individual levels.  This means that both girls have high school-level homework and tests, so they need to spend a lot of time with their studies.  They are each extremely involved with karate (tournament circuits and everything...the whole shebang), Girl Scouts, artwork, a local math circle, enrichment classes here and there, plus they make time to connect with their friends.  Our blogs only detail the hiking part of their lives -- and that hiking part is indeed a huge part of their lives - but each girl is an individual with a large variety of interests and committed involvement in numerous activities.  All this is to say that right now, Alex gets on her blog once a week to write her reports.  She greatly appreciates the comments and support!  Please understand if she responds to your comment the next time she writes a trip report as opposed to the same day you posted, though.  She better manages her overall time when she has one specified time each week to write and manage her blog.

I am immensely proud of both my girls and these past 14 years have been a wonderful journey.  I understand how lucky I am to have experienced so many hikes and trails with my two daughters, and I look forward to the next five to seven years and all the adventures those years will bring.

After both girls go off to college, I'll probably hike the AT to help me through Empty Nest Syndrome.  That's still seven years away the meantime, I'll keep enjoying the trails and mountains with my two girls, and they'll tell you about those trails and adventures on their blogs.

Happy Hiking, Peregrinas.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Lafayette and Lincoln. October 17, 2016

Alex will have a full trip report, along with a complete set of photos, on her blog tomorrow morning.

**We still need to raise a little less than one hundred dollars to round out the "individual contribution" portion of this year's fundraising goal for Global Fund for Women.  The girls wanted to get five or six $576 donors, and they have five generous $576 donors and a bunch of wonderful individual donors whose contributions almost reach $576 dollars.  If they can get a few more donations that add up to $94, then that rounds things out nicely for the year and puts them ahead by about $450 for next year's goal.  So if you can donate to Global Fund for Women through the girls' CrowdRise site, that would be great!  Every penny helps Global Fund for Women support human rights for girls and women around the globe.**

This is a crazy week with many academic and extracurricular responsibilities!  Actually, it's a crazy month.  Thankfully, we're good for the Grid as far as October goes; the girls already have a ton of October 4K hikes under their belts.  As long as both girls average four hikes a month for the next three years (Alex)/four years (Sage), both girls will finish the October portion of the Grid well before they finish their high school years.  We can therefore relax a bit when it comes to the rest of this month.  Not that we like to relax, mind you...if we don't hike once a week then we all feel a little off.  We each need our weekly dose of mountain therapy in order to feel strong and on top of things.

Alex didn't go solo on this one.  Her solo days will soon be over for this year; I don't want her to hike by herself when the temperatures gets below a certain point and/or the cold rain, snow, and ice arrive.  It's too easy to become hypothermic without realizing it when you're on your own, and though Alex is an experienced and responsible hiker, the margin of error in the mountains falls to zero in the late fall and winter months.

This day wasn't least, not down below...but I saw the forecast for Lafayette's peak and wasn't comfortable with Alex going solo.  Low 40s, near-zero visibility along the ridge, and robust retrospect, Alex probably would have been fine since she knows that trail well and she knows how to keep herself warm and dry...but still.  Next year, I will likely be fine with her going up on her own in such conditions, but I wasn't quite ready to trust everything would be totally okay this time around.  Again, Alex is capable, experienced, level-headed, and prepared...but we need to let my Mama-nerves handle this process in a way that's comfortable for me.

Something's up with my iPhone...many of my photos from this hike disappeared.  The following is what I still have, most of which were taken on Little Haystack as the sun finally burned off the clouds.  Alex will have her own trip report with a complete set of photos on her blog tomorrow morning.

We might wait until November to hike again, since we're in good shape for October and both girls have many academic responsibilities in the coming weeks.  Then again, we don't like to let too much time pass until we can get back up on the peaks, so we'll see.

Happy Hiking,

Friday, October 14, 2016

Field and Willey (for Sage). October 9, 2016

Avalon Trail, Willey Range Trail. 
8.4 miles with 3050 feet of elevation gain.

Columbus Day Weekend!  I knew there would be a hundred million people on the trails since this is prime tourist season, so I wanted us to get an early start.  We were at the trailhead by 7am; cars were already all over the parking lot.

Alex geared up and went ahead while Sage and I lounged a bit.  She needed Tom for October, but Sage and I didn't.  Alex would therefore go up Tom while Sage and I went up Field, then Alex would cross over to Field, catch up with us somewhere between Field and Willey, and then continue on her way (Alex's trip report of her hike will be posted to her blog by Sunday morning).  This would be a first for Alex.  Her solo hikes thus far have been her going ahead of us a good half mile or so at the beginning...and then, because she is faster than I am, she usually increases her distance between us and is back at the car at least half an hour before we are.  Still, we always cross paths at some point, since we are taking the same trail and doing the same route.  This time around, however, she'd be ascending a different trail than Sage and me and doing a slightly different route.  Still, our plan would have us on the ridge at the same time, so Sage and I should run into her somewhere between Field and Willey at some point.

After Sage and I felt we had waited long enough to give Alex a half mile head start, we began our own hike.  The leaves were's prime leaf-peeping season up here.

Crossing the tracks

Looking at the Depot

 It was a gorgeous hike.  Leaves of all fall colors were all over the trail, but they weren't in thick enough layers to trip a speedy hiker.  Sage and I made good time to the intersection with A-Z Trail.

Alex had taken a right here.  We took a left.
 The path up to Field is STEEP, especially in the first half-mile.   I didn't get a photo of the grade, but trust me -- rocks and roots and steepness!

The trail levels out a bit after the spur trail to Avalon. 

Continuing up to Field...

Much easier grade near the top...


Sage on Field
Alex contacted me; she was on her way to Field from Tom, so we were now ahead of her.  We took a quick snack break and began the trek to Willey.

The trail between Field and Willey always feels longer than 1.6 miles.  I kept expecting Alex to come up behind us, but she never did.

Little viewpoint close to the summit of Willey

Sage on Willey
 Sage and I went to the viewpoint by the cliffs and admired the stunning view.

After staring at the gorgeous scenery for a bit, Sage and I went back to Willey's summit cairn and ate another snack.  I was just beginning to wonder if I should worry about Alex when there she was, all smiles and rosy cheeks.  She had taken her time on Tom's summit and had enjoyed her walk over Field and to Willey.  Sage and I left her by the summit cairn after a couple minutes of chatting and headed back over to Field.

Alex is so fast these days that I was sure she would eat, admire the cliff views, and still manage to catch up to us before we returned to Field.  She didn't, though -- Sage and I got to Field a couple of minutes before Alex arrived.  Sage and I had yet another snack on Field, but Alex wanted to head straight down, so we said our farewells and watched as she disappeared down the trail.

After a few minutes of speaking with a kind couple on the summit, Sage and I began our descent.  Once we got to the intersection with Avalon, we saw TONS of people coming up.  Almost all were tourists out for a hike up Avalon.  We never caught up with Alex...and I hadn't expected to.  She contacted me when she finished her hike...we finished ours 35 minutes later.  Turns out she had taken the spur trail to Avalon to check out the views and STILL managed to get to the car half an hour before we did.

Sage and I did the Field/Willey hike in about five and a half hours, which is book time.  Alex did Tom, Field, and Willey (plus Avalon) in five hours, which is far faster than book time.  I should note that if Sage weren't stuck hiking with me, she'd probably go just as fast as Alex does.  I am wondering if I should look into trail running for the girls.  Maybe have them enter some trail races just for fun?  I want to encourage them to go as far and as fast as they'd like.

It's getting colder out, so Alex's solo hikes will soon cease (for now).  It was never our plan to have her hike solo during winter, so at some point in the near future she'll hike with Sage and me again.  Next spring, after the air warms and the snow melts, she can resume her solo adventures.

Alex will have her trip report of her Tom, Field, Willey, and Avalon hike posted to her blog by Sunday morning.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Waumbek. Oct 2, 2016

The girls are fundraising for Global Fund for Women -- click here to learn more about it!

The Iceland blog is coming along.  I just need to write two more is busy, so I'm taking longer than I'd like.  The link is here.

Alex has the main blogging responsibility now for trip reports; Sage will share the writing when she turns 13.  Alex's account of her (solo) Waumbek hike can be found here.  This report on this blog is just record-keeping for myself, so I can note when Sage did this peak for the Grid.

The girls and I did a moderate 4K last Sunday -- Waumbek.  Alex went solo, and Sage and I went together.  We caught up with Alex on the summit just as she was finishing her break and getting ready to descend.  She went ahead of us again on the descent.

It was a perfect autumn day -- not too cold, just cool enough to not heat up while hiking, but not so cold that we ever had to add additional layers.

Another good day in the mountains.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Hiking in Iceland, four 4Ks, recent press, and this year's fundraising goal MET

Hard to believe a month has gone by!  So much has happened, and all of it was documented on either Alex's blog or our Laugavegur Trek blog.

First, to catch up on our 4K blogging --  we did the Osceolas on September 18, Moriah on September 25, and today we did Waumbek (trip report coming soon on Alex's blog).

Second -- we hiked Iceland's Laugavegur Trail from September 8-11!  It was a wonderful experience. Trip reports for that trek can be found here.

Third -- The Concord Monitor did a lovely piece on Sisters Hiking for Equality!  Also, the podcast Journey Seekers interviewed us; that podcast will be broadcast in February.

Fourth -- the girls met their 2016 fundraising goal for Global Fund for Women!  They went over the $3000 mark yesterday with two $576 donations.  They need to repeat that fundraising every year from now until they go to college to make their final goal of around $18,000.