Skip to main content

An Escape to Mount Hale.

In the process of making my way through the holidays, a lot of things began to happen for me. First and foremost, even at 39, I was like a kid at Christmas ripping into gifts like snowshoes, poles, and hiking cloths. I could not wait to get back out there. Time with family was always precious and I loved every minute of it. It was nice to share what I was doing and feeling good about myself again. For two days, I was able to forget a few dark spots on my horizon. The first being that my job was officially dropping me down to part time since enrollment was down. In between smiles, I was terrified that I would lose everything I had worked for and I longed for a good hike. I had not passed my test and I was devastated. Still I smiled and said that I had not heard anything. And I had become increasingly worried that a new relationship was bordering on just two people filling a void. His depression was suffocating and still I accepted his gifts and spent New Year’s with him, partly because I wanted things to work out between us and partly because I really didn’t want to be alone on this holiday of all holidays. I knew it was going wrong but how do you tell someone that you’ve fallen out of whatever it was you fell into? In the history of human relationships, this has happend a lot. All the same though being on either end is not a good place to be. So, I did the next best thing, on January 2nd, I decided to take off and hike up Mount Hale. And I was very happy.

I was able to pack up all my new gear in grand fashion. I felt like a winter hiker with my snowshoes and poles, microspikes, and crampons (courtesy of a gift card from the guy who got me through the holidays). I really didn’t need all the gear but, what they heck, you just never know what will happen. The good thing was that the days were getting longer and even though the road to the trailhead was closed, I was up for the two and a half mile hike in on the flat trail. The start of it however, was a hill covered in ice that caused me to put my spikes on immediately. I began the walk at about 8 am and reached the trailhead by 9am. Not bad doing two and a half miles in an hour with stops and a pack on my back. Along the way, I saw about 5 deer walking through the woods. That was, walking until I scared them into running.   There were some great views along the way over waterways and glimpses of mountains yet to come. And again, I dreamed of the one that could actually join me on these hikes.
At the trailhead, the parking lot was also an ice skating rink and I remembered my days of figure skating lessons. Yet another thing that I never stuck with but enjoyed all the same. Starting the hike, I had just over 2 miles to walk and there was no snow really to start with. This winter had been strange and snowless in places. I also knew that there would be snow at the summit. It was cold so, I had worn my parka and I had no intension of talking it off for a lighter layer. The flat trail greeted me like an old friend I had not seen in years. I was at ease as I walked and able to just hike for the first time in a long time. Nothing else mattered and the thoughts drifted in and out without too much perseverating over them. Surely I had things to deal with and confront in reality. But for today, I just wanted to hike and today would be easy for me. I was able to notice the little wonders on the trail that I don’t often notice when I am too overcome with reality. The snow mingled with the ice and the water in the water crossings and made interesting patterns that I could see.  At one particular crossing, I determined that a fox was looking back at me. I was sure that it was trying to tell me something as animals in Native American culture always have meaning.

As I kept walking, the snow was getting deeper and to my surprise, it was still not consistently deep enough for my snow shoes. In places though, the scene was very peaceful and very beautiful. Long corridors of snow covered trees that made a hallway out of the trails for me to walk though. It was as if today, someone wanted me to just notice Mother Nature and get my mind off of reality for just a brief time. At 11:11 am I arrived at the summit and you can bet that I made a wish.

The summit itself was rather interesting. Everyone had said it was nothing but a giant cairn that was slightly magnetic. Give the snow cover, I was unable to test that theory so, I figured a trip back in the spring or summer was in order. The wind was picking up so, I set up the tripod to get my summit picture. I thought for a moment how much I hated that stupid tripod because I wanted someone to take my picture and at the same time, it made things so much easier. I ducked into the trees to have some lunch and for the first time I had a pack of spicy tuna fish over my usual PB&J. Just for a real change of pace and to try something new.
As I made my descent, I was encountering more and more late hikers. Some were well prepared over others that were just plain hiking stupid and very ill prepared. I just shook my head and continued on. There was not a whole lot to this hike up Hale and back out for me but, the quiet of my mind allowed me some clarity to continue fighting for those things that I really wanted in my heart.


Popular posts from this blog

Mount Willard

All I wanted to do this week was climb to the top of a mountain. Any mountain at this point as I have been dealing with something that keeps me down. I had been thinking of Mount Willard... 2,865Ft and a 1.6mile trail. Small compared to what I usually hike. But small enough I might be able to summit.

It's a Saturday and I left my house a little after 8am. So much later than I usually leave to hike. But this is not a long hike at all so, after a cup of coffee and making myself one for the road, I loaded the car and headed for The Whites. I knew it would be crowded today since it is Saturday and as I thought, I'm parking on 302... Both the Depot, and the Highland Center are packed. It's .1 to the junction after the cross of the tracks and then we head up the Mt. Willard trail. So far, the trail itself is uncrowded but I assumed that everyone was already up there. Isis on the other hand was busy smelling markers for every dog that has hiked before her. 

The trail is super pa…

Franconia Falls

This morning, I had my sights set on Mt. Waumbek. I figured it would be a good one as I continue to get my legs under me from being sick last month and I had not visited it in a long time. I parked at the winter lot since the residents on the road leading to the trail head love to tow cars that park on the side of the road (believe me, do not tempt fate). Secure my snowshoes to my pack and got Isis all ready. In-spite of colder than cold temps, I really wanted to summit. As I walked up the road, I felt the tightness in my ankle and hoped that it would go away and loosen up and maybe I'd stop sucking wind too. I kept going up the trail and got to the well for a reluctant Pup picture. The trail itself is good and packed. I did not wear microspikes and had no need for snowshoes. I was hopeful that I might use them later in the day. Waumbek starts out with not a great deal of elevation gain but today, it was just enough to make me question... Things in my joints have not been quite r…

Mount Waumbek

It's Mount Waumbek, in Jefferson NH. 4006ft and only 7.2miles round trip. Why is today such a fight? I started out from the gas station in town since I wasn't sure if the hiker lot was plowed out from the latest blizzard. Made my way to the trail head up Mt. Starr King Road. There is a large snow pile from the plow right at the start to the trail head. Once at the trail head parking lot, I put on my snowshoes. I was thankful to not have the weight on my pack anymore. Switched Isis to her longer lead so she can run a bit. We started off on a decently packed trail. Looked like someone had dragged a polk behind them to break it out, it was so nice. Climbed past the well and continued with the steady incline, I seemed to slow down. I also felt tired but, I pushed on. I wanted this summit today.

The sun was bright and warm which was helping move the day along. The Mt. Starr King trail remained in great shape through this section too. I was dragging on the inclines but continued to…