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The Tripyramids in Winter and in the Moment.

                There are a lot of goals out there for people to strive for, to improve one’s self, to be more open, to take a step forward career wise, or maybe to scrap everything and start over. I feel as though I have had a chance to start over with a new job that is essentially a new career for me. After an exciting week of learning the new job and one snow storm flat out in the middle of the week, I reached Saturday and it was time to get to my other goals. Back in September, as I was finishing the New England 67, I told myself that a triple win at the next annual meeting would be possible. Those wins being, my New England 67, Isis’ multi season 48, and my Winter 48 set. It would be a great undertaking and one that I would have to dig deep for. Today, the alarm was going off for the Tripyramids. I am now 14 peaks away from my final goal for the hiking season (prior to the annual meeting). I’m happy to hit the trails and at the same time fighting with myself to make this a hike and not a “get it out of the way for the goal” hike. It’s the Tripyramids. Not very exciting or spectacular. NO, those hikes were coming and I was worried and struggling to keep my head in the present moment.
                At the trail head for Pine Bend Brook, there are already 4 cars there and I swing around to park on the opposite side of the street. It’s not very plowed out so I am careful with Isis and the cars as they pass by. I decided to leave the snowshoes in the car. Reports I had read said that people did the same things. The lower part of the trail is packed out rather nicely so, I am feeling OK with my decision. Isis and I continued up the trail and began dealing with some cold temps and a little more snow on the trails. We had encountered another couple that were hiking with their dog (We’d later find out that it was Alison and her dog Izzy as well as her hiking partner). Isis and I did not stick with them as we really wanted a day to ourselves. We knew we’d be doing some leap frogging and we were OK with that. The water crossings on Pine Bend Brook were negligible. Either they were frozen and bridged our moving so minimal that they could be stepped over. Both Isis and I made our way to the steeper section while we dealt with some nippiness on the part of Isis and Izzy. While I keep Isis on a leash, she becomes protective of me as well as a little nippy when dogs charge, they are not meaning harm, it just seems threatening to her. She’s also not crazy about new dogs on the trail (she’d rather start a hike with them like she does with Kali sometimes). Just before really getting into the steep section, I put on my new Hillsound trail crampons (finally getting to use them after purchase a few weeks back). They have a decent grab to them so, I am all set to slowly make my way up the trail.

                Isis doesn’t seem too thrilled to be on the trail today. She’s having some issues with her paws that make me concerned and seems to be stopping a lot more as well causing me some awkward stops on the steep trail. I do my best to keep her moving while wondering about turning back.  We keep bumping into the other couple on the trail and try not to crowd while keeping a good pace. Approaching the junction of the Mt. Tripyramid trail, Isis and I take a break for food and drink. I take a look at her back paws and see two HUGE snowballs. This is not good and has never affected her before. Getting her squared away, we keep moving forward on some flatter trail where we make up some time. We come across another guy and his dog Luna just before the summit. Isis wants nothing to do with Luna and makes it known as we bushwhack around an icy steep section. She is just not having a good day and I’m hoping to put some space between us and looking for some quiet. Slowly, we make our way to the summit of North Tripyramid. The snow has since covered a lot of the difficult rock sections that on our last pass through were covered in minimal snow and lots of ice. At the summit, Isis and I celebrate with cheese for her and soup for me. We are closely followed by the other group and while we talk briefly, Isis and I begin to make our way over to Middle Tripyramid. Again, the snow is a little deeper although I am still doing well with just the trail crampons on. Isis seems to be moving a little better as well and we make our way over to the next summit. On the incline to Middle Tripyramid, we are approached by another gentleman in black and immediately recognize Tim C. He’s excited to meet Isis officially and Isis is excited to see him too. The three of us make our way to the summit and celebrate another victory. Pictures are taken and Tim is off down the trail again (we never did catch up to him).

                The way back to the summit of North Tripyramid is a little more crowded with groups and dogs and Isis appears to be getting more stressed out and it’s all I can do to keep her moving. Some owners are not too thrilled with me at the requests to control their off leash dogs however, I need to look after my little girl. Stopping briefly to speak with friends in a meet up group, Isis and I come back to North Tripyramid and stop briefly to rest and grab another piece of cheese. I remind Isis that going back down is so much easier. A lot of the down is spent sliding down the trail again and that passes the time. Once we were truly descending, we didn’t see another soul and the trail was peaceful for us. There were a couple of sections of Pine Bend brook where I either slid off trial or got my leg caught. Lucky, I was not going fast enough to break it and still I became a little more cautious with my sledding.  Isis was doing better with the pace and we were down from the steeps in no time. The remainder of Pine Bend Brook was well broken out and traveled so, we moved quickly. I picked her up for some of the water crossings due to the earlier snow balling. On the lower sections before the trail came to the road, Isis and I ran into two ladies who only made it half way due to time (they started late). Turns out, it’s the mother of an old high school classmate proving that it truly is a small world. Isis and I are back at the car by 3pm and after a quick change into dry cloths, we are destine for coffee and a munchkin and the ride back to Southern New Hampshire.

                Not a bad day on the trails (not that there ever is a bad day). It seemed like both Isis and myself were struggling with trying to stay in the moment and in the game for the day. I could not seem to get my head out of the future with 5 hiking weekends left to winter and all 5 packed with peaks, I will need to dig very deep to get my goal done. I’m prepared for anything and at the same I’m so close, I can feel it. I also wanted so much to make this a hike for a hike and not for a number or something akin to my goal. It just was not possible today. It was the Tripyramids and while not a favorite hike, one I was glad to do for the things I learned about myself in terms of tolerance level and endurance. I could have given up at a few different moments however, my desire to see this goal through seems to win and will hopefully keep me strong through the remainder of winter.   

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