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Tecumseh For the WIN!

     Tecumseh may be tiny. It may be the smallest of the 4K peaks but it is still worthy of Presidential respect. It is still just a fierce and mighty peak in my mind. I have to say that these past two weeks above and below 4K have not been kind to me. Things move too fast and I get anxious as well as maybe a little depressed. I have not made a summit for a while either and that really kind of frustrates me. So, I set myself up for a win... Tecumseh is a quick hike and since I am expecting yet another front to move some snow through, I figured this would be good for today. I could make it home before the snow flies since it's not the hike in the snow I dislike but the drive home in the snow that gets me worried. So, Isis and I get on the road around 5am. Early for this peak but I also wanted to beat the crowds at Waterville Valley ski resort where the trail head is. We were underway on the Mt. Tecumseh trail after viewing the beautiful sunrise at 7am. It's cold... in the negatives cold. 

      The first water crossing is a little open but not really flowing. We rock step it just fine. After this, I put my snowshoes on even though the trail is packed out nicely down here. We begin our climb to the summit and wind our way over a decent trail. I'm reminded of the rocks that lay under the snow with each step. I don't really miss them. I'm anticipating the steep trail by the ski slope to see how smooth it is from sledding. As Isis and I walk, I can hear myself think because it is still early. It's quiet and we are so  far the only souls out here. Today feels like a good day to reach a summit and as we walk, my thoughts drift in and out from past to present to future. I'm smiling and happy here. 

           Isis and I reach the last water crossing which is bridged and push to the first outlook to the ski slopes. Another beautiful view of the Tripyramids and I am reminded that I need to get back there too. Time enough for everything now... I'm no longer trying to rush this journey but rather enjoy each step. After a quick food break, we begin our climb to the summit ridge. This is a straight shot that follows the ski slopes on the Mt. Tecumseh trail and as I thought, it's pretty smooth. With the traction on my Tubbs VRT 24's, I am all set though. It's better than any crampon/microspike I own. Isis has fun dipping into he soft snow on the sides of the trail looking for mice and other small rodents. To my surprise, the grade of the trail is not that bad. No televators needed (yet) and I'm not breaking too much. I am however, taking it slow. No need to kill myself here by running up the trail. Slow deliberate steps are good. I can hear the sounds of the ski resort just through the trees. Things are cranking up for the days skiing.

      Isis and I actually run into the boot prints we have been following. A young redheaded and bearded hiker is on his way down and had excited Isis. She loves her people. We are informed that it's drifted a bit up top so, I am happy I have my shoes on. It's still very cold so, the interchange is quick but not before we are passed by a guy skinning up to the turn for the ski slopes. We are on our way following him up and keeping a safe distance. I seem to be looking for the last push to the ridge and notice that with each rise, I am given a false sense of reality. I can't seem to recall the landmarks for the final push. So, we keep walking and I'm softly singing to the trees. It's such an enjoyable mellow day out there. Isis is having fun and the trail is manageable. I'm going to make it! The sky is blue right now too which means we will have a view once we arrive at the summit.

      Finally reaching the final push and I put my televators up on my shoes. This just takes the pressure off my legs as I climb the vertical trail. Again, careful deliberate steps and we crest to the ridge. I'm so happy for this and put my televators back down to relax my legs. Isis is ready to move as I am ready to catch my breath. The next landmark I am looking for is the summit directions sign. I always go left. First though, as we cross the ridge, I encounter the drifting. It's deep in some places and in others, it's wind swept making the trail firm. Isis powers through the powder and we reach the sign... Like I said, I always go left. Usually a rocky section, it's all filled in right now. The trail is thin in places with barely room for a snowshoe step. I hold on to trees and we climb just a little. The wind is picking up and the temps are dropping because of this. The trail alternates between packed and unpacked powder. Hopefully more snowshoes will pack it down today. A few more feet and we reach the summit to blue skies and views for miles. 

        Even though it's getting cold, Isis and I enjoy the quiet of the summit to ourselves and have something to eat. We take our photo op and then try as I might, she will not look at me for hers. She never looks at me when I have the camera out. Ever. I think it's her game with me and secretly she is laughing. Today on the summit, I sampled some of the best Gluten Free home made beef jerky (Chinese 5 spice teriyaki) that I made myself. Having recently purchased a food dehydrator, this was the first attempt... WIN! It tastes so good but I know that we need to get moving... It's cold up here today and I can feel the chill setting in to my smiling face. We begin our descent and quickly start running into others that are coming up. Very nice people on the trails today and great to meet everyone. Some were out with the same idea I had of getting a hike in and beating the storm and others were on their first hike... Ever. Welcome to the sport. It's a wonderful place to be and a fabulous journey. Isis and I again stop to watch the skier's coming downtime slopes by the outlook. We made very quick time heading down which is always the case. With the trail in such good shape, it's easy to just cruise down. And I managed to stay on my feet as I relied on my shoe tails to help me remain anchored. On the lower trails, we pass along information of the drifting to hikers coming up. Some are very receptive and others are not so interested. It's always funny the reactions I get but really, the information might do someone some good. I can hear the music from the ski resort and I know my day is coming to an end. It's a little off putting but then again, I had a full day of next to no sounds that were not natural so I am still really happy. Back at the trail head, we speak with another hiker about our adventures. He's impressed with them and also that we are coordinated in purple. I'm sure that we will run into him again as the seasons progress. Today took a total of 4 hours for 5 miles (2.5 hours up and 1.5 hours down) which for me is not bad at all. Always good to keep my feet under me and I was so thankful for the trip today. It felt good to summit!

      I'm still hopeful for a Winter finish this year. A few weeks left of this season and 3 peaks to go. I am hoping that a more favorable weather pattern emerges from the constant snow we have been having soon. I plan hikes as I move through my week which pretty much has me glued to checking the weather for temp, snow, and wind speed right now. This gives me something to look forward to as I am working in a crazy fast paced and often times confusing environment. I hold mixed emotions about my days but I always look forward to my nightly planning sessions. And there is something else I am planning for... It's official that I will attempt the Long Trail this summer (I'm hopeful for the time off). Three weeks on the trails with Isis and I am very excited for this. A new challenge is just what I have been craving as I continue to move through my Grid. I think the break will also give me new perspective on the Grid as well. In an effort to help me plan, I have also entered a contest to have my trip sponsored. Due me a favor, and click on the link below. Read my story and then give me a thumbs up to tell them to sponsor me. There will be another round of voting if I make it to the finals so... Stay tuned. Life is about to get exciting. Thanks!

First phase of voting to get into the top 10 ends April 15 so keep giving me the thumbs up. Thank you for your help!

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