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Clarity on the Tri's

This was the last weekend available to me to hike any of the 48 peaks before the holiday season came into full swing. Next weekend, I would be wrapped up in a family party and my licensure exam and thus, knocked out hiking on Sunday. As much as it appealed to me to go on a hike, I knew that my mother would be disappointed in the choice. The holiday season is a great time in my family and I needed to be present. So, in spirit of everything I had coming up to fill my plate, I decided to take out the Tripyramids. Two peaks that are normally done by slide trails (trails formed of rock slides). Except I was going at them a different route by using the Pine bend Brook Trail. This trail of course would take me up and into the ravine and up onto the ridge. A tougher hike and one that I of course welcomed. The snow had been falling more up north than down where I lived in southern New Hampshire so, I was equipped with my winter traction for my feet. I had grown to love winter hiking already and planned on keeping going as long as I was able to and hoping that I would be able to just roll right into the spring hiking season.

At first, I missed the trailhead on the Kancamangus Highway. There was no real parking area and it was just a trail sign by the side of the road. An easy miss so early in the morning so, I turned myself around and parked right in front of it. Another truck had pulled up across the street and looked to be “official” as in, National forest service official. I changed my shoes in the car and got myself ready. Piled the gear outside on the trunk and began to suit up. I heard a man from behind me call out “Dave?” Apparently this man was waiting for Dave to come and hike with him and as it turned out, he worked for Mt. Washington’s Observatory. I’m always impressed with these folks. I told him my story and how this would be my 29th and 30th peaks if all went well today. He was equally impressed with my experience which in turn built me up, especially given his status in my eyes.  I wished him luck waiting for Dave and I was on my way. I was almost positive he would not only catch me but also over take me and move ahead. I was Ok with this. We all hike our own trails up here. 

There was no snow on the trail when I began. There was ice at the water crossings but no snow and I laughed about this. I felt the weight of my pack and thought I should really lighten the load I was carrying. Of course, then began my talking again. Except this time it was more focused on my career and what I really wanted to do. I had been thinking about trying to become a motivational speaker with this journey I was on. There are doubts about how many people would be interested in hearing me pour my heart out about trying to find a life on a trail with a disease and all the ins and outs that go with it. It was a thought in its infancy at this point. Then there were thoughts about my career and my longing to be my own boss. To do this, I would need my license. That test was looming and I don’t do well with tests. No matter how much I study, I doubt, I freeze, and then I rush. Trying to work out a way to slow myself down was tricky. Short of taking mediation breaks, I was unsure how to maneuver this one. Occasionally, a current client would creep into my thoughts and I would cringe. I didn’t need work creeping into my personal life. The simple fact of the matter is that it does though. And I can’t stop it. Everyone else was confident for me and I tried to feed off of their energy. Even the guy I had been dating was confident… Too confident.

The trail presented me with lots of interesting knot holes on trees and some great water ways to look at. I loved the sound of the water on the trail and let its comfort wrap around me like one of my old blankets. This was of course followed by some balance beams which reminded me of my very short stint as a gymnast as a child and how I would fling myself over to vault in high school. Ass over tea kettle without a care in the world. Great memories are evoked for me on the trails. And also some not so great ones sometimes. It seemed that as I was walking, I was remembering all my past mistakes and trying to wrestle them down to a manageable level. Today I tried once again to put the one that stole my heart to rest. He had reared his ugly head in my heart again recently in spite of my moving on and actually dating others. I just could not shake him. But I could try and shake him… Again.

“It’s not fair that you creep into me without my knowing. It’s not fair that I am doing this without you and wishing that you were here. And it’s certainly not fair to the one that I am trying to move on with. Regardless of whether it works or not, I need you out of my head. I cannot do this with you in my head. Please Chief, get him out of my head.”

I kept moving along the trail and went silent for a while mostly because my new friend had caught up to me and as I predicted, passed me. Dave was nowhere to be found. Walking, I noted that the snow was becoming more evident. I also noted that I was going up the ravine and that it was getting tougher for me to breathe again. I needed to slow myself if I was going to make both peaks. I needed to set the pace a little slower and a little less frantic so, I needed to calm my thoughts. And my thoughts turned to how everything was connected in my life and how I could draw connections from way back in my childhood that would lead me to this very day. I was meant to be here and like most things, it felt like I had already been here. So, what was the outcome? What was my heart telling? Well, beyond the insane beating in my ears. As for the outcome, I was going to have to wait for the big reveal. Any move that I make shapes it so, I step with purpose much like I do on the trails.
There is a lot of ice on the trees going up the ravine by some water. It looks pretty in the sun and then I capture a look at some of the views. I stand in amazement.  The trail was getting steep and my attention turned to it rather than my latest stint of mental gymnastics. The snow was growing deeper and I was wondering if I would need snowshoes before too long. If that was the case, I’d need to turn back since I didn’t have a pair currently. So, I secretly hoped that I would not need them so, I could have my success. Soon, the trail gave way to boulders to climb on and some were ice covered. The trail would alternate between flat and steep climbs and I loved it for the challenge. The combination gave me a chance to forget all the thoughts on my mind and just concentrate on making my summit.  By now, this was becoming as much of a mental game for me as it was a physical game. As I passed a particular section of boulders, I notice that a lot of the snow had been warn away. This was evidence of what we call, ‘Butt sliding’ where you essentially use your snow pant covered ass to slide yourself down the trail rather than walk it. It cuts out the falling really. I figured I would get my chance today and I smiled.

Coming up and walking the ridge, I made it to the first summit of the Tripyramids. It was rather uneventful and I had to sit in an awkward position for the summit picture. I stopped on the summit for a granola bar and a chance to catch my breath. No microspikes on the shoes yet, I rested long enough to regain my wind and was off down the ridge. Along the way, I ran into a complete stranger coming from the other direction.

“Are you the girl who is going for her 30th peak?” I literally looked around to see who he was talking to. It was quite comical.
“Yes… Yes… That would be me. I’ve started this journey back in September and I intend to finish it before Next September.” I told him and spared him all the details. He seemed cold save for the bug ball of green snot that was hanging from his mustache all frozen and I wanted to flick it but figured that would be way rude and over stepping some kind of social norm. I could not look at it though which meant I had trouble with eye contact.
“Good on you then doing them all in one calendar year. That’s an accomplishment that few can do.” He smiled at me and it was in that instance that I forgot the snot and just thanked him. From some place in my heart, I was lifted again. I wished him happy trails and good luck o him on his journey.
As I continued on, I began talking again.

‘Where was I?” I paused. “Oh, yeah… I need him to get out of my head. I need a distraction. Something to take my mind off of him. Something to smash and break the thought. I need something to happen and someone to spark my fire in my soul. He’s no good for me. He wanted to change me and all I want is a partner. Maybe not a partner in crime but certainly a partner in life. Someone I can be crazy with and he’s not going to freak out on me. I really need him out of my head though. OK?” Yes, I had resorted to pleading my case and even I can’t explain why after so many months, he had creeped back in. “I’m suppose to be staring this new thing with this new guy and I can’t if he keeps creeping back in. So, get … Him… Out….. NOW.” I kept walking over the ridge and down again heading over to the next peak.

There was more evidence of butt sliding but I did not try it yet. I was graced with beautiful views and one spectacular one of Tecumseh. I was standing in awe of everything around me. And for the first time in a while, I became slightly overcome but the view. The day had been emotionally charged and as I took it all in, I felt warm and at peace. The summit was mine. I had made it to 30 and felt a rush of pride for what I had done. I took in the summit with my PB&J and even attempted a text to the new guy. It barely went through. I bid my summit farewell as I needed to start the long hike back down and back over the ridge I went.

As usual, the hike back went quicker and my legs carried me back over to the summit of North Tripyramid. Mostly I was accompanied by the sound of my own breathing. Occasionally, I would think of the new guy and hoped that my feelings would make themselves known. And oddly, I was OK if they did not. As I continued past the summit, I began the descent and I came to the pace where I saw the original butt slide. I squatted and kicked my legs out from under me, and I slide down the rocks and around the corner. With a girlish squeal, I was in love with movement. One part slide and one part sled ride, I wanted to do it again. And I wished that someone was there to get it on tape. It was at that point as I stood up, that I knew the new guy would not make it and maybe we could find other common ground. But he was not “the one”.

I continued to make my way back to the car and out of the woods. Reality was coming and so was a long break to spend the holidays with my family and friends.

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