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 second round and her first) and it would test me to see if I could complete such an undertaking.
There was no parking at the Highland Center. At 6:30 in the morning, you’d think there would be. I parked down the road in an over flow lot. Looks like we were road walking to the Crawford path and then the fun would begin. Crawford is usually in great shape but it is a little water logged and there are a lot of rocks for a tired hiker to trip over. I tried to get my feet under me instead of walking like I had clown shoes on. Isis was pulling and tripping me up which was unlike her and I did my best to be understanding and guide her. Heading up, I only ran into one other person coming down from the hut. She had completed a hut traverse and seemed very satisfied with her trip and of course, showed some love to Isis. As we kept climbing, the pace was stop and go as I tried to catch my breath. The inner monologue continued as I went up. There were plenty of rocks to hop and the trail was wet with running water. Typical of this end of the Crawford path.
I came to the Mizpah Cut off and suddenly realized that I had done this trail. I thought it would be a new red line however, I had done it in a failed attempt to get Pierce this past winter. I smiled and considered this a win for me. Isis and I had .7 to go to the hut and the terrain was varied between rocks, mud, logs, bridges, and dirt. I remembered this trail when it was covered in snow and wished that winter would come sooner. We reached the hut in what seemed like no time and things were busy. I was greeted by a band of bearded Thru Hikers and Isis of course got more love. They were trying to secure any left over breakfast for themselves. People were approaching Isis and she handled all the attention well. She’d jump but quickly stop. We ate and prepared to head up to Pierce.
The path up is steep and there are a few ladders. The rocks were slick and I thought for sure I was going down considering how Isis was behaving. We made it to the flatter ridge and she got her rhythm. We were joined by two other novice hikers who had plans to going to Washington and down. I knew that my trip to Monroe was lofty at best for me. I could not see them making that trip. We exchanged cameras and snapped pictures for one another. I left them while they were continuing to take pictures of themselves. I had a bigger journey today. One that would rest in my heart and hopefully put some uneasiness to rest. The mountains had a way of making me feel better and yet, I was craving company beyond the dog again. My next stop would be Eisenhower.
I had never been on this section of the Crawford path and from here on out, it was completing a red line for me. I was excited and as Isis and I moved, the trail was the typical dirt of the Presidentials. The alpine scrub was present as well and the view was for miles. I was pleased that I had decided to go through with the hike. The climb up to Eisenhower would prove interesting. Rock hopping and climbing steep trails. I was met by a family that was hiking up as well and it goes without saying what they thought of Isis. They didn’t seem like serious hikers but they were talkative. AS we made the final approach, the mother opened up about her eldest son that had passed and how they do this for him every year. I was honored to be walking with her. At the summit, they separated from the groups at the summit and I just marveled at the view. I had never had a view of Eisenhower and I smiled. More pictures were snapped and then I was the only one on the summit. I stood in quiet and just took it all in.
The path to Monroe was tough. First to get down from Ike, we needed to rock hop and pay attention to our steps. She was doing better listening to commands and I was pleased with this. We would meet people on the trail and hike with them for a while. One particular woman was familiar with the group we usually hike with (Gumby Hiker, Heather and Kali, and NHITHIKER). I made up some story as to why they were not hiking with me on such a glorious day. She had a toy poodle named Napoleon who Isis actually tolerated from the beginning. This also made me smile as she has such a hard time with not nipping at dogs that get in her face or getting in other dogs faces. Karen was a hiker like the rest of us and the conversation was nice. Isis and I did pull ahead and continued on the section of the Crawford path that we needed While Karen and Napoleon went another way.
Isis and I made our way over the Crawford path and each time we would come to a rise, I thought it was Monroe. Still had a ways to go until I realized that I had finally made it to Franklin. I was almost there. My legs were getting tired and I could tell that Isis was tired too. Final push came over rocks and we reached the summit. I stood looking down on the Lakes of the clouds and the clouds swirled around me. I had succeeded in touching the clouds as I had posted. Two college students joined me and I had a chance to brag about myself and all I had done along with Isis. They were impressed and could not believe the trip I had today. Let alone that all summits were reached by noon. More pictures snapped and as the wind picked up, I left them to head back to the car. Not that I was looking forward to heading home. But I had to at least hope that sleep would find me.
Isis and I reversed direction but avoided the peaks by staying on the Crawford path around the summits. The section to get around Ike was particularly difficult and my legs felt weak. I pushed through it and Isis and I tried to keep a good pace. The thoughts would flow in and out and mostly I just tried to keep focused on the trail. The time seemed to pass quickly and we found ourselves at the junction by Pierce again and we met with Karen who remembered both of us. We let the dogs greet one another but Isis’ cranky side came out so we got moving. I was anxious to get home for some reason even though it was not going to be anything spectacular.
On our way down, we ran into amateur hour. This is what I call running into hikers that are about to get in over their head. I must admit that I did a lot of bragging about my accomplishments and the looks of astonishment were priceless. I felt as though I was a serious hiker talking about all I had done. Of course, a few groups were lost to the concept of the 48, the 67, or gridding. Those I didn’t really spend a lot of time with. I even spoke of my group of hikers and all their accomplishments. We have a good group of hikers up here and we always have fun, is what I would tell them. And then there were the groups closer to the bottom that was just starting out. They usually had no maps or headlamps. My best advice to them was turning around now. It was almost 3 and they would more than likely run out of daylight. Of course, it was not about them. I didn’t want rescue to have to go out and look for them. Isis and I then popped out of the trail at the road. We were almost home.
At the car, I envied her for falling asleep so quickly. Of course she’s a dog so there is no real comparison. But insomnia for a week straight was wearing on me. I wondered how some did it constantly and hoped that sleep would find me at home tonight. We headed for home happy and more hopeful than when the day began. I was no longer berating myself but calm and positive.
To date I have:
64 Individual Peaks
17 Individual Isis
12 NH48 Multi Isis
58 for NE 67
24… Multi season 2
2 Multi Season 3
1 Multi Season 4
81 for the Grid
600.9 Total miles… And that is something to be proud of.