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Mount Tecumseh... February 2017

Mount Tecumseh from the Ski area is a decent half day on the trails. Even though it's a quick hike, I still like to get there early. For one thing, it's ski season and getting a spot in Lot 1 by the Mount Tecumseh trail can be a challenge. For another thing, I can get up there and have some summit time before the crowd arrives. I was in luck, arriving around 7:30am, I got my spot in Lot 1. Isis and myself were underway after I quick stop to put on my snowshoes. 

Mount Tecumseh trail is 2.5miles up to the summit. I always section this trail off in my mind: From the start to the ski slope view, Up to the ridge, Ridge to the summit... Down low, the first crossing is open. The trail is well packed and well traveled but I have the snowshoes on for the heel lifts which will come in handy later. Isis is having a great time running up and down the trail and playing in the snow on the sides. The second crossing is bridged and easy. I used my heel lifts for the first time after the crossing to save my legs. I am walking slow and deliberate today to focus myself on the hike and not the time. The third crossing is also bridge but a little open. I made a stop at the ski outlook and watch the skiers go by... Isis said hello by barking at them. After drinking some water, I tightened up my boots and snowshoes and lifted my heels... Here we go ascending the steep trail by the ski slope. 

Normally, this trail is a little rocky with a lot of rock steps up top. Now, it's snow covered and slick form skiers and sledders a like. I am purposely going slow on this section to not sap my energy. I am determined to summit today. No backing down. The temp is dropping but there is no wind and I see the sun peaking out every now and then. People are coming up behind me but I pull over with Isis and let them pass. My legs are doing OK but I am getting tired. The snow builds on the trees as Isis and I climb up to the ridge.

On the ridge, I let my heels down and take a break. The snow is still consolidated up here and with no wind, there are no drifts. It's easy to hike to the junction and then we go left. The views are peaking through the snow covered trees and it's actually a decent day. One more section of trail to ascend and this is narrow but solid. One big deep breath and we march up to the summit. There are two other hikers there as well and we trade stories. Isis and I won't stay long because it's a little cold for her. She has her snack and as we are joined by another couple, we begin our descent. As usual, we are joined don the trail by hikers and skiers a like. Heading down this trail in winter is super quick. I left my snowshoes on and stayed upright. No sledding for myself or Isis. As we head down, we begin to run into everyone else. A lot of people start this one later so, I left the summit just in time. Some great people to chat with on the way down and everyone was enjoying the day. I'll say this though, I had quite the workout on the way down too as the quick snow and Isis kept me moving. Once I would stop, my legs felt like jelly. I was really pleased with this hike today and managed to get back to the car by 12:30pm. Home in time to catch the Super Bowl which also factored into my decision to take on Tecumseh.

So, here we go again... As I had said on the trails today, I reset myself to #1 of 48 today. This round is for Rheumatoid Arthritis which I was recently diagnosed with. It turns out that from June of last year until 3 weeks ago, I was experiencing the emergence of this disease. As I am one to try and work through things, I continued to push and it pushed back. By November, I had lost the majority of function in my hands. Swelled up like balloons, I eventually could not tie my boots very well. I would keep trying to adapt and continue but eventually, it sapped my energy too. This would continue until I saw a specialist in January. Rheumatoid Arthritis is different from the typical over use arthritis in that, I will always have this and it will be managed rather than cured. My body will always try and attack my joints in an effort to fight off something it perceives as wrong... But the wrong is that my joints are being attacked. So, this specialist put me on some pretty powerful medications and along with that, I got some pretty powerful side effect... Once my body got use to things though, the swelling went down and I was able to move my hands again. This felt pretty good to me so, I made plans to begin a new round of the New Hampshire 48 4000 footers. No time limit to this round and I plan on taking my time. I'll use the hikes leading up to June 2017 to strengthen and train for the last leg on the Long Trail. I will make it to Canada this year! Hiking is a very big part of my life and when faced with not being able to do it, I kind of had a wake up call for myself. If I want to continue to do what I love, I need to take care of myself. I need to listen to myself and push myself without pushing myself over the edge. No epic hikes or speed records for me, I'm hiking for nothing else except my health. It all started today with #1 Tecumseh. Thanks for following along. 

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