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Finding the Fight on Waumbek

       What's a weekend without hiking? Probably something that's not going to happen unless I am occupied with work (AKA: On Call). Yesterday, after a big trip to Cabela's where I picked up some more Long Trail gear, I just had to get out to test it. Knowing the weather and that I had a few things that I needed to do prior to returning to work, I chose Waumbek. Plus, it had eluded me earlier in the month (call it redemption). Isis and I even slept late and left close to sunrise from Southern New Hampshire. On our way to the trailhead, I just took my time and stayed in the moment. Once we got to Starr King Rd, I was surprised to see that it was bare. We drove up the very frost heaved road to the trailhead parking to find a BMW sitting almost right in the middle of the parking area. There were hikers milling around so, I I rolled down my window to tell them that it's better if you park your care horizontal to the trail sign rather than pulling up right to it. I think they were a little confused since they told me that they didn't think that a lot of people would show up today. Once I backed my car into a spot next to them, I told them that they'd be surprised once they returned at how full the lot can get (which it did). I got ready in peace and let them go ahead. I didn't care if I caught up to them or anyone today. I strapped my snowshoes to my pack and we were off.

      The trail at first was pretty easy to get up. Just enough snow but not enough for shoes and I got by without spikes too. Isis and I made a stop at the well and that's where I put my spikes on. The weather looked like it was going to give me a run for either rain or snow today as we kept walking and let another couple pass us. Isis of course was excited to see them and each time they leapfrogged us, she was still happy. I just wanted to hike today so, I kept to myself. The snow was pretty soft but still easy to walk through and I felt that maybe the snowshoes would just serve as extra weight for me to carry. Isis and I kept moving up the Starr King trail and watched as the clouds rolled in. It was so quiet that it was almost eerie but the snow falling off the trees with a thud would catch my attention. I was looking forward to getting to the flatter section of ridge on my way to Starr King first. That was when Sheba caught my eye. Sheba the dog that is. I quickly warned the group coming up that I had Isis on a leash and they put Sheba on hers. To my surprise, it was Rebecca and Robert. Great to see them and let Sheba get to know Isis. I let them pass and held back just a little.

        It just seemed like Winter was trying to hang on up here in the elevation. Just before making the turn to really push to Starr King, I suddenly felt my heart let go. I had been hanging on to a lot of negative energy and just suddenly in the re-emergence of winter, I felt powerful again. I felt like I wasn't going to let anything bothering me, or beat me down anymore. I was going to fight back and stop the landslide that might very well take my trip of a lifetime on the Long Trail away. Isis and I made our way over the ridge and the trail was filling in with snow. I kept pushing back and kept pushing forward. Still in just spikes, I did navigate some post holes but this is spring and it's to be expected. This is a relatively flat section with a few pushes up and Isis and I made good time. This is also a really enjoyable section of trail for me.

          Pushing up and onward, Isis and I made it to the Starr King fireplace which is a favorite place to break and have something to eat. Sometimes there is a view but not today. The snow is falling and I layer back up with gloves, shell, and hat. Isis gets fed and we admire the grey jay watching from the tree. Isis kindof wants to eat the grey jay but she knows that she can't catch it. After resting, we begin pushing to the summit of Waumbek which is a pretty easy walk except for the few sections of post holing. But even those sections are solid so, there is not a whole lot of sinking. Winter really does still have a grip up here. We kept a good pace and broke only a few times. I was expecting to catch up with people close to the summit and as we approached, we met up with Rebecca and Robert again.

     Still carrying my snowshoes, I did fall a few times but I didn't sink in. I had decided that I would snowshoe back from the summit though. Isis and I felt the cold creep back in as we approached the summit of Waumbek and pushed up the final section. We were greeted by the group that had moved their car at the trailhead and stood talking with them. Most had a few hikes under their boots and I shared my plans for the Long Trail. This time though I shared them with confidence that it would actually happen rather than with a  tone of maybe. They departed and Isis and I stood in the silence. The trail was filled in to the view but then again, there was no view to be had today. I was just happy to be out again. I took out my new piece of gear, a goalzero solar panel, and stopped it to the front of my pack. I wanted to see of it would charge in these conditions plus I wanted to see how it felt on my pack. Lucky, it was not heavy at all and it stayed secure as we moved over to the Starr King Fireplace. As usual, it takes no time at all and the trail is pretty fast in my snowshoes. Once back at the fireplace, I plug in my phone with the USB cord and the battery turns green for charging. I am now even more excited to get to the Long Trail. I have power, even in crappy sun. Even better, my pack liner has been keeping things dry without my outer pack cover on.

          From here it was pretty much back down hill and the snow was getting soft as it was warm and the sun tried to filter through the clouds. Isis and I would get hit with snow falling from the trees. It still looked like Winter up here and while I liked it, I also like this trail when it's lined with flowers. Next month I tell Isis, next month the flowers will be back and we'll see them in the Alpine Garden. I made plans most of the way down. and when the snow got thin, I took my shoes off and left off my spikes too. I kept winter in my mind though as we made great time back to the car.

      It's really been a struggle to hold onto what I want and not let it all fall out of my hands lately and I realize that I have a tendency to cut and run before things get too bad. I think that today, I finally found the fight and the motivation to get to what I want and what I want is to hit the Long Trail this summer. This trip for me is such a stretch of my comfort zone and I want it really bad so, I have a chance to stop the landslide which is what I intend to do. I'm not going to let the negative win this time and I'm going to keep on training. Today was just a small hike to Waumbek. It always goes quickly and in many ways, it goes way to quickly. It was a great treat to head up the Starr King trail to Waumbek today in Winter conditions. The snow was sticky and I had a few issues with snowballing under both spikes and shoes but all that didn't matter because I felt strong again. The carousel never stops turning... But how I react to it will make the difference. May begins next weekend and I have big plans for the month... I just hope the snow is gone by Memorial Day weekend. :)

Happy Hiking Everyone!

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