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Humbling on the Tripyramids

Today was full pack day for me... A weeks worth of my food, Isis' food, and the remainder of my cloths were now in the pack. I was at capacity. So, what do I pick for today's hike? Tripyramids. These are not my favorite peaks. They are not even my second favorite peaks. The last time I did them there was snow on the ground. So, yeah, let's close June and do a full pack training run. AND we're going up Sabbaday Brook Trail and Down Pine Bend Brook Trail. It was going to be a long full day and I knew it. I just didn't REALLY know it until I was in it. So, I got up and got everything in the car and we headed down the road to Exit 32... Into the Kanc and we drive past the trail head for Pine Bend Brook. In hind sight, I really should have parked here and taken the road walk to Sabbaday Brook trail head but I can't change that now. So, there are a few people milling about some are staring at me as I get ready which can be very creepy when you are a solo hiker. So, I hoist the Beast on my back and feel comfortable. We start down the trail....

After a section of wide tourist path that is very well groomed, I decide to take the detour around the falls and I am not sorry about this. They are beautiful and my eyes sparkle with what they see. I really enjoy things like waterfalls and flowers and well, the little things. There are a few people on the board walks and all seem friendly. Some would be going on up the same trail as me... Mostly all, I would never see again. So, Isis and I continue walking and the trail gets narrower and narrower as it follows Sabbaday Brook. Then it stops. I look around, I think I see it across the brook, I start to cross and get to a center island and I see the trail continues on the same side I was just on... Back we go and we get over to the trail and keep going. It's a decent trail. At least it's pretty typical for this region. Not too muddy and rather even. Then it stops again... I look around to make sure I don't need to stay on this side... Time to really cross. I see the blaze on the other side and all rocks are submerged. It's time for water shoes and a little refreshing water walking.... It's up to my knees. Isis and I get to the other side and I change again... Keep walking down the trail a short distance to another one. We repeat this process about 5 times and some are pretty close to my upper thighs in depth. I'm awake now... I'm also a little cold. I really try to not let these water crossings affect my day but it was a little frustrating for me as water crossings cause me a lot of anxiety... Anxiety that stems for hikes past where I was judged as doing it wrong... I'm so aware of this fact that I try and work with it on the trails today. I try and turn this past into a powerful learning tool. This is how I work. At a certain point, Isis and I begin to gradually climb up the trail. No more water crossings and we enjoy the quiet... No road noise. No one else on the trail.... Heaven. With bear scat! Fresh too... So, I make a lot more noise. I'm ok with my noise. 

We have been following the upper sections of Sabbaday Brook and then we make a turn and I'm met with more crossings. I sucked it all in and resisted the urge to turn tail and run. I wanted to cry but I held that in too. Isis was really hating me and I can honestly say that I felt so bad. We continued and found one crossing was going to teach us a lesson. As I cross with Isis in my arms, I slip and I regain my balance. Then I step and I slip on a root and I go down. Isis goes down too. My first thought is not for the electronics in my hip belt pocket but for the sleeping bag at the bottom of my bag (not to self, put it in a trash bag!). Thankfully, only my ass and well, most of that region got wet. Oddly, my electronics were spared and my right shoe. The left shoe well.... I needed a break once I got out of the water. I wanted to cry. So, I ate something instead. Isis ate too but looked really upset with me. This was still just the beginning. I gathered my thoughts and told my demons to F off. We got moving again and dealt with more water... Then the up came in. The steep up of Sabbaday means business. We encounter scrambles and then slabs. Isis wants to play with sticks and at one point, I had to get stern with her. I love her playing but I count on her moving forward and we were on a pretty steep and exposed section. The slabs were slick and there were few hand holds. I did not want to fall here and I was a little scared. While I thought about calling it, I pushed forward. I pushed everything I had out there and we kept going. I sent a quick text to my mother to let her know that this would be a long day with very little cell service and not to worry. This made me feel a little better. I break when I can and try and keep my legs stretched out. I'm cramping with 45 lbs on my back but it still feels comfortable. It's been the use of my legs on this steep trail that is making me cramp up. We finally break out of this up and arrive at the junction. My pack comes off. and I look at my map. We are going out to Middle Tripyramid and then to North.... We'll go down Pine Bend. It was official. 

We make quick work of the ridge to the up for Middle Tripyramid. I feel better now and my legs are stretching out. We begin running into people and most are friendly. We again break as we head up to Middle Trypramid. I stop and take in my Tecumseh view and see that there are two others at the very small summit. We join them and they don't stay long. They pay no attention to Isis. They barely talk. The bugs are buzzing about and I manage to get a summit photo. I feed Isis a lot of extra treats and I have some tuna I had packed for myself. For just a blissful moment, we had the summit to ourselves and I was able to smile. Just a note here, I have not eaten nearly enough today... Anxiety does that to me. I forget to eat and just keep going to push through what ever I am experiencing. There are about 3 dogs getting ready to over take a very small summit. I am quick to try and get out but Isis starts barking. She's a dog, she barks. Why is it that some other owners view this as an issue? I really don't care if she barks at your dog. I'd care more if she tried to do other things. but really, she's just barking... She's not a monster. We try to make our way quickly down but my feet get tangled in each other and I need to slow down or fall. We are over taken by another couple and an AMC group. We chat a bit but I don't want those other dogs to catch up. The question of the day for the AMC is whether to go down Pine Bend or Sabbaday. I fill them in on my experiences and my choice. Back at the junction, they are debating the crossings. I tell them that at the worst, they get a little wet and it's actually refreshing. Then another dog comes running up to the group. No owner in sight.... I yell "Who's dog is this". The owner catchs up wanting to know the problem. I keep Isis sort of calm but again, she barks... The ugly look comes out... She's a dog. She barks. I swear that I'm about to loose my mind. Have we become that perfectionistic that now our dogs cannot bark? Besides, you should have a visual on your dog at all times.... But I'm not going there. The AMC group is going down Sabbaday and Isis and I are bound for North. The trail quiets and my mind settles again. I always have these strange experiences on these trails. I loved talking with the AMC group... My feet are getting tired and I'm looking forward to a good sit at the summit of North. I was planning on eating again there and feeding Isis too. There are a few ups and then a final push and I see people at the summit... Too many people.

We settle off the summit a little near some mud... Feeling a little put out by the larger group, I try and eat something and I try and feed Isis. The other dogs catch up and set Isis off because she was eating. The comment is made that she's anti-social. She's not anti-social, she's eating is what I say and begin packing up. The young guy in the fashion plaid shorts tries to apologize but, I'm really done. The owners of the other dogs were again, no where to be seen until they heard the commotion. Control your dogs. Mine is in control. We begin down the steeps and the sections are tricky with tired feet, a dog, and a crowd coming up. A crowd who is not stopping even though I am coming down a tough section. There is no room for... Another dog. Isis wants to go meet this dog. She's pulling me over with 45lbs of gear and everyone is taking up the space that I need to get to. I'm about ready to scream but I bite my tongue as I watch the bigger dog struggle and slide back down the steep rock. He does not want to do this either. Poor thing. I try my best to manage the situation and I get myself to a safe place and catch my breathe, my patience, and my balance. My legs are throbbing and all the dog's owner can say is that her dog gets along with every other dog on the trail? Come on... This isn't about the dog. This is about etiquette and the fact that the dog slipped down some pretty big steep rocks. I bite my tongue but I am really considering night hiking now and wishing for winter. It's so much easier to get down this trail in winter. You just sit down and go! I shake this off and the trail quiets again. Every bad experience with my dog comes flooding back to me. I feel bad. Why do I feel bad because my dog barks at other dogs? Why do I take all this to heart... It's my nature. It's my past shaping to who I am today. Can I please just get a break? I regret things... I can't change anything. And I love my dog more than my own life.

I pull myself together and I'm able to focus on all the lady slippers on the trail. It's a tedious trip down full of slips and falls. I ripped my hiking pants. I bruised my pride until I got through all the rocks and  finally hit the flat sections of Pine Bend Brook. Then I realized, I did it. I freaking did it. I carried a full pack for a long distance hike up and over the Tripyramids. No one else did this today. At least not that I saw. My pace quicker once I was on level ground and the remaining water crossings were a bit cumbersome and the mud was plentiful but Isis and I eventually popped back out at the road for the Pine Bend Brook Trail Head. The kids were coming down behind us and congratulated us for making it out. I smiled a thank you and kept walking down the road. It was a mile back to the car. I think this is where I killed my feet. We landed back at the car and ran back into the AMC group who proudly say they fell in the water crossings and could have cared less because it was a fantastic 11 miles on the trails. You know what, they were right. All of this dos not pale the fact that I had a fantastic training hike around the summits for the Tripyramids and that no matter what, no one can take that away from me. I could have given up but I kept pushing and the result was such a beautiful feeling and a beautiful day.    

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