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Redlining Lincoln Woods... The East Side and Pine Island Trails.

         Today probably could have panned out just fine had I not listened to the voice in my head. No... I'm not crazy but the weather was a little this morning. I was heading to Waumbek as a kind of throw away peak. I knew the weather was not going to be great in the morning so, I didn't want a good view to be wasted. I backed off the Kinsman's last night and reduced it to Waumbek based on forecast. Driving up, I was approaching Lincoln and saw the reduced speed limit due to "snow in the road". The plows were out and well, it looked to be about 4 inches on the road through the Notch. I pushed on in a Whiteout trying to find a place to pull off the road due to other's not remembering how to drive in winter conditions. I find a parking lot to calm myself after pulling off at Exit 35. I decide to head to the trailhead anyway and drive through squalls to find that the road to the summer lot is not plowed... No way I am getting up there. And I turn around and check out the Winter lot with the new snow plus the incline, I'd probably not get out of that at the end... Crap, this is not happening today. Of course, I had this feeling when the alarm went off at 4am and I snoozed until almost 5am. I should have stayed in bed. Determined to not waste the day knowing that next weekend I am on call and need to stay within 2 hours of work, I decide to do some Redlining... The act of hiking EVERY TRAIL in the White Mountains... And marking them off with a red sharpie. 

        I first think of Aerathusa Falls and double back that way... Not plowed and a little too deep for my car still. I head the long way home through NoCo and hit the Kanc... I half wondered if I was making a big mistake given the drifting out there, but I pressed on. I first thought of Sabbaday Falls but I really want to see that one when I can get to the summits and the falls are flowing. So.... Lincoln Woods! Plus, I have to pee now too. I decide to check out the Eastside trail instead of the often busy and really congested highway that is the Lincoln Woods Trail. Plus, I really owed Isis a walk at this point.

    Lincoln Woods parking area has about 3 inches of wet sticky snow. The skies are now bluer than blue of course and after my pit stop, I get my boots on and Isis all set. I leave the snowshoes in the car and we are off down the East Side Trail. It's well packed and icy to start with spring snow on top. Still easy to walk with just my winter boots (Merrill Whiteouts). After about .6 miles, I take the Pine Island Trail which leads you closer to the Pemi and gives me that view from the other side that I have seen and often wanted to explore. I really like this section of trail and it's so quiet and less congested than the other side. There are a few water crossings that are open. One is still bridged though. That's the one that I unintentionally slid down the bank on my butt because of the ice.... Ouch! This is a nice .9 mile trail that brings you back out to the East Side Trail going to the Franconia Brook Tent sites.

       The next 1.4 miles out to the Tent site is a mix of rolling hills and flat sections. It would be a great hike in any season. Right now, it's a little tough with the Spring thaw slowly creeping in. I am still bare booting and contemplating my spikes. Probably could have used Snowshoes too. Isis and I break and I debate turning back, which is so easy when you are solo. I can talk myself out of the best (case in point today). I override myself with food and water. We walk and find some great views and a rock for Isis to climb on. We have some fun walking and talking... Planning. Yes, I talk to myself out in the middle of no where. How else can I organize all these ideas in my head? I come to the tent site and see a friendly reminder to NOT peel the Birch Tree's. Well, there goes my reason for heading out there today (kidding!). I love the random signs in the Whites. This was an easy walk today to make the most of some jumpy nerves and over active brain thoughts. I am a work in progress and at least I got out instead of just driving home or sitting at home and not even trying. I'm just not the sit at home type... I'm not even good at being sick. Maybe the answer when I back off a peak is to redline instead? Today was actually kind of fun for me. The walk back is just a little tougher with the melt in full swing since it's now decided to be Spring as opposed to the Winter that was happening this morning. I'm even hot in my gear... But I have forgone the winter pants in favor of my wind pants over my hiking pants and base layer. As we approach back to society, I am hit with a few dogs that crash my calm and a family that just looks miserable because they are not prepared for the snow (a particular fowl mouthed Dad remind me of someone from my past and I stared at him in disgust)... Ahhh, the absurdity of it all. I change and Isis and I head for our Dunkin' Doughnuts off of exit 28. Then it's home to get ready for another week and a week's worth of On Call to ground me next weekend. The weather remains Spring like all the way home.

        I've got to change it up a little these days. The Grid is a great long range goal for myself but, it's not the be all and end all of my hiking career and maybe I need some short term goals too? I need to also incorporate some long hikes for my Long Trail trip coming up this summer. I can't continue to feel discouraged every time I back off of a peak. I'll eventually just hang up my boots for good if this keeps happening. Trust me, I don't want that to happen. So, I'm backing off my "Gotta get a peak" weekend mentality that I have somehow incorporated into my thinking and mixing it up a little. It's getting to be no fun waking up in the morning to drag myself up North and feel like I'm not enjoying myself. I really do admire those that can do this and also these massive long hikes in crazy conditions (day and night) but that's not who I am (and I need to stop comparing myself to them)... I need to find my own groove and stick with it. I need to keep moving forward without feeling bored... I need to explore more and concentrate on the peak less. So, I hang up my Gridiot status and see where I go and what I do. Today was a small hike but I think it's pointing me in a good direction. Zero weekend next weekend so, we'll see what I can plan for the long weekend I have when I am free of work obligations. 
(Photo from an earlier hike of Mt. Willard)

Speaking of the Long Trail.... I am hoping to have my trip sponsored and have entered a contest that would mean $5,000 to spend on Gear and to fund my trip this summer. The Top 10 Finalists are going to be chosen APRIL 17th and 4 winers will be chosen to have their adventure with their best friend sponsored by Kurgo APRIL 30th... I am in the Top 5 for votes right now. Can you click on the link and GIVE ME A VOTE? Thanks so much... This trip means a lot to me. 

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