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Showing posts from August, 2013

How Did I Get Here?

I've Returned to BlogSpot....

  I have this reoccurring thought in my head presently…. How did I get here? Of course, the here that I am talking about is: 88 summits, 64 individual peaks, 21 deep in the winter of the white mountains, and 586.5 miles hiked and climbing? That’s right, I’m not done yet. I still have to finish the New England 67, my grid, and maybe even redline the entire region. The mountains are my playground and I would not have it any other way. But, how did I get here?
I got really sick one early spring in 2010. I was tested for all kinds of cancer that really gave me some perspective to my life and scared the crap out of me. I had abused myself for the longest time and this was my wake up call. I was finally diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease after countless doctor’s appointments and tests and a lot of tears. It’s a thyroid disease… No cure… It gets worse before it gets better… And I get to be on medication for the rest of my life. Oh, and let’s not forget that …

Saddleback and the Horn....A Beautiful Challenge Full of Hope.

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Time… Seems like I’ve had too much and yet not enough all at the same… Time. I’ve learned a lot can happen in two weeks and it seemed like someone grabbed all my balls and threw them up in the air to watch me try and catch them all. All the while, my mind is on one thing… Get me to the mountains. I can find myself there and make sense of things easily. At 2am, the alarm went off… Time to hike my ass off. Hopeful words sent to me prior to my adventure beginning. Time to grab some peaks.

It was a 5 hour trip to Rangely Maine and they were not going to get any shorter any time soon. I zoned out for a change and just drove. Isis slept next to me in the passenger’s seat. The sun was not even up as I drove through Franconia Notch. I always loved the mountains silhouetted in dawn colors. I knew that I’d find time to hike the ridge soon and as I moved through, my focus became Saddleback and The Horn.
I was sticking to the AT and knew that it would be pretty straight forward. As the road too…

Pierce, Eisenhower, and Monroe... Complete's the Presi's

Incorporating blogs for Isis' 48, My Grid, and the remainder of the NE67... It's a blogger's paradise and my journey through the mountains...

 Something woke me at 1:30am and the next thing I knew, my mind was firing on all cylinders. Then it was 3am and my alarm was going to go off at 4. I had insomnia all week so, it was not surprising that I would again be awake early and stay awake. I told myself at 3:30 to just get up and get moving. This was going to be an interesting hike in the southern Presidentials. I was super over tired and wide awake at the same time with a mind full of self-doubt, remorse, regret, worry, and hope for things I had done and would like to do. Isis and I headed down the road and made our way to the Highland Center. All during the ride, I held a conversation with myself. Something a kin to encouragement even though it was more “How could you be so dumb”? I chose to do the hike simply because, both I and Isis would complete the Presidentials (for my…

Sampson's Day on the Trails... It's Not About the Human's Anymore...

I don’t usually do blogs outside of the NH48 or the current list of the NE67 but this hike was special. This was Sampson’s first 4k and Scott’s initiation into hiking with a dog. Isis and I met them at Scott’s house at 6:30 in the morning. I walked Isis around while Scott got Sampson ready to be put in the car, which of course meant a quick walk around for both of them. Isis was then put in her crate and Sampson was to sit next to her. And we began our drive up north which was full of barks and snarls from both pups since they were just getting use to the idea of being around each other. Isis was not thrilled with all the changes in her little world. Scott and I tried to provide both comfort and discipline and as we traveled, I thought for sure that the request would be made to turn the car around. I was happy to make it to the trailhead.
I let Scott get Sampson settled over by the sign and got ready to hike. I did the same for Isis. We were off down the trail in no time. Isis…

Suagarloaf and Spaulding... Ledges and Missing Elevation?

I woke up feeling heavy. The wind had whipped around at night and the rain thankfully had stopped by the time I woke up. Everything was quiet in terms of the search and rescue operation and the only problem with that is it makes you think that it’s over (for better or worse). I went about the morning and got my breakfast of eggs cooked and a nice cup of coffee. I sat on my sleeping bag and enjoyed it all. There was something about a cool morning and my hands around a warm mug of coffee that I loved. Today it was going to be Sugarloaf, Spaulding, and hopefully Abraham. It was going to be a long hot day as the sun would be out. I packed up most of my camp as I was planning on heading on the Saddleback and The Horn for tomorrow. I also didn’t need rescue looking in my tent anymore so; the less I left for them the better. Only the tent and my sleeping bag and pad remained. They could not call me bear bait now. I get my pack together at the car in terms of food and water. I had also decide…

North and South Crocker. And a Rescue Effort.

Thursday morning, I left for Maine. I left behind any worries I had and that included my pup who had a recent trip to the vet. This was probably more traumatic for me than for her. I had a plan to get 8 peaks which was lofty at best and I knew I’d be happy to get what I get. I was on my way after a few texts good bye and to give my itinerary. I arrived at Caribou Valley Road some 5 hours later to chilly temps and what looked like rain moving in. I was greeted by a Maine Fish and Game warden who explained that there was an active search underway in the area for a missing Thru Hiker named Inchworm and he wondered if I had seen her. Since I had just gotten there I explained my itinerary and assured him that I’d keep my eye out and cooperate with search and rescue.
I chose to set up my tent just up the hill from the parking area. It was grassy and seemed suitable for me. I was surrounded by wildflowers which made me smile. It reminded me of that Tom Petty song “Wildflowers”. I settled in …

Seek the Peak... Peak Sought and Attained.

I began raising money for the Mt. Washington Observatory back in February of this year (2013). Out of a desire to give back to the mountains that had in a sense given me back my life, I embarked on this adventure. Now, a week before the hike, I had two “thyroid attacks” that really threw me for a loop. I literally felt like I was back at square one health wise and wondered if I would pull it off. I had decided to take a different route than my usual trip up the Ammo trail. This time, I was going up Tuckerman’s ravine on the other side of the mountain and I was bringing the pup with me. As the week before the hike moved on, I tried to take care of myself and correct whatever health related issues I was having. Nightly, my heart was racing and I was just feeling miserable. I caught an extra break from the weather and postponed reluctantly until Sunday. I had an extra day to at least get myself physically healthy. I was waiting for the mental fog to clear right up until Sunday morning.
I…

Vermont Completed... Great Morning on Camel's Hump.

Once again, I found myself heading to Vermont the day before a hike. Once again, I stopped at Scotts for a quick boost of encouragement and some granola bars. I was on my way traveling 3 hours to again, sleep in my car for an early morning hike. It was almost time to put Vermont behind me and complete my final peak for that state; Camel’s Hump. First I had to get there and then I had to sleep. One may be easier than the other these days. The ride was quick except for the rain and a giant flea market clogging up the local roads to get to the state park. I sent off a quick text to say that I was almost there and then promptly lost cell service. I had hoped that I would get it back at the park however, that was not the case. I was now on my own for the night.
This second time around in the car was not that bad. I parked in the winter lot away from the main parking areas. The pup and I settled in and ate. I crawled in the back with a book and my headlamp promptly died. Thankfully it made…

Mt. Mansfield... Bringing Focus and Enjoying the Ride.

One thing I am starting to realize as I am moving through the New England 67 list, the road trips were starting to get longer than the actual climbs. My desire to get the Vermont peaks done was beginning to grow and now I was eyeing my #53 Mount Mansfield. From my place, it would be about 3 hours away which either meant a really early rise and a rushed day or I head up the night before and sleep at the trail head. Latter was the optimal choice and I decided that it was how I was going to do it. I wanted the experience and I was sure that it would not be the last time I would sleep in my car at a trailhead. I just was unsure of all those little details that made me think this was a bad idea. After work Friday, I packed up my gear and the pup in the car and headed down the road. A quick stop at Scott’s for some reassurance and I was on my way north to Vermont.
The ride was no problem as I genuinely like to drive and explore places. It seemed to fly by in no time and felt as though I wa…

Abraham and Ellen... Not a Care in the World.

A 5am wakeup call seemed so late and I even had time to lounge around before making my way to Vermont. Normally I’d be up and out the door however, things were different now. Things were more relaxed these days. With a quick stop at the store for some coffee, Isis and I were on our way. We were going for numbers 51 and 52 on the New England 67 list for me and 9 and 10 for her (individual peaks that is although I am at 58). Our first solo hike in over 2 months would be a good one: Abraham (4006ft) and Ellen (4083ft) in Vermont’s Lincoln Gap.
It was only 2.5 hours to the trail head and the ride was through some pretty peaceful back country roads. We gained a lot of elevation by going up Lincoln Gap Rd which, reminded me of Jefferson Notch and Hurricane Rds. over in the White Mountains. Parking was easy to find at the trail head. Everything was situated and we were off down the trail. The summit of Abraham was 2.6 miles away and I was prepared for an easy day. Vermont trails have a gradu…