This morning, I had my sights set on Mt. Waumbek. I figured it would be a good one as I continue to get my legs under me from being sick last month and I had not visited it in a long time. I parked at the winter lot since the residents on the road leading to the trail head love to tow cars that park on the side of the road (believe me, do not tempt fate). Secure my snowshoes to my pack and got Isis all ready. In-spite of colder than cold temps, I really wanted to summit. As I walked up the road, I felt the tightness in my ankle and hoped that it would go away and loosen up and maybe I'd stop sucking wind too. I kept going up the trail and got to the well for a reluctant Pup picture. The trail itself is good and packed. I did not wear microspikes and had no need for snowshoes. I was hopeful that I might use them later in the day. Waumbek starts out with not a great deal of elevation gain but today, it was just enough to make me question... Things in my joints have not been quite right and today in these fridge temps, I listened a little more. After about 30 seconds of "Maybe it will loosen up", I put my head down and turned back. A lot disappointed. Back at the car, I decide to try a flat trail... Lincoln Woods Trail to salvage the day.
Lincoln Woods is on the way home and let's face it, I have time to kill. I wanted to stay out as long as I could knowing that tomorrow we will have snow and next weekend is essentially Christmas for my family. Lincoln Woods is of course well traveled and as always in good shape. I kept everything in my pack for weight and conditioning. My ultimate goal as always is the Long Trail and I can use the flat walk to train. It's still cold and so, the new coat that I got at Columbia is getting a test drive. I really like it and it does keep me warm with that Omi Heat inner core. I did forgo my santa hat... Just not into it today. My insulated pants were also good for the below zero chill today. It took me 45 minutes to get to the turn for Mt. Flume and I kept going on bare boots out to Franconia Falls. Time became less important as I walked and turning down the Franconia Falls Trail by the boundary bridge gave me a few ups and downs and some ice. After the walk out, my ankle did feel better so, I question my sanity and wonder what the heck?? Franconia falls is flowing but freezing nicely. There were two other sight seers out there today enjoying the beauty of the falls.
On my way out of the falls, I slip and fall on some slick trail. Came crashing down on my right wrist which would not matter so much if it was not already swollen and unable to make a fist for like a month. Isis runs back to check on me and licks my hand since I took my gloves off. Back out to the boundary where we talked with a pretty lively crowd who had spent the night hoping to get out to Bond Cliff in the morning... They turned back too since it's -22 at the summit. Isis got some dried salmon to snack on which was probably better than her salmon treats she usually gets. Feeling the chill, we get moving again and start our long walk out. Usually Lincoln Woods presents a kind of dread since it's so long and flat. From where I turned around, it's 2.9 miles back to the car which on any other day can be boring. Today, for me it was just what I needed.
Let me ask you this, what would you do if you could no longer hike to a summit or even hike period? This year, I learned that I can get some great views along the AT without having to hike up a ridiculously tall peak. I learned to look for the little things like spiderwebs covered in dew, or how the trail looks winding through a pasture. No summit required and my heart was full. I had decided to return to the summits though for the Winter season and the expectation was high. I would build up to the larger peaks as I had not been up to my usually par since July. I was dealing with some joint pain (Ankles, Wrists, and Fingers) and have pretty much been uncomfortable since Gentian Shelter back in July, to give you some background. I'm the kind of person to push through and give my aches and pains time to maybe loosen up. After all, like I said to my Doctor, if I paid close attention, I'd be in his office every other week. Last month, I started with a peculiar case of laryngitis that would not go away. By the time Thanksgiving came and went, I had.... STREP THROAT. Funny, I had not had this since the 90's. The day before my bi-annual doctors visit, I finished the antibiotics but the joints were still super swollen and the voice, not 100%. I don't think my doctor was super impressed with my finishing the AT in Vermont with strep throat. And after discussing my symptoms, I was sent for more blood work. Since I already have my thyroid issues, why not add to it? Well, as much as I didn't want him to say it, he said it any way... Arthritis and a referral to rheumatology. That's the funny thing about auto immune diseases, they like to pair up sometimes. So, I just might have a new coat to try on. As I sit here and wait for my results to come back... I'm not sure how I feel about this. Since you know, I have plans. Plans that the doctor assures me will be reachable as soon as I get ahead of what ever I am currently trying on. I believe him too. I'm just not good at waiting... Ever.
So, I got this new coat for Winter but it turns out that trying it on is a little more difficult than usual. I can do flat trails in this new coat I've been given, no problem. But I want the summits. By the time I got out to the falls, my ankle had loosened up enough to handle some incline and rocks out to the falls.... Walked all the way back to the car too. Hmmmph... This new coat makes me think that the wrong fit is all in my head... Except it's probably not. I was really happy to get out today and really happy to make the walk out to the falls. It turned out to be a day well spent. And it turns out that I did more miles at Franconia Falls than I would have at Waumbek. The actual new coat I got last weekend at Columbia will make a fine coat for the winter. This other coat I picked up though... Still trying to figure it all out. But I can promise you this... The new battle is just beginning. I kicked Hashimoto's Ass, I think I can do the same to RA.