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Mount Waumbek

It's Mount Waumbek, in Jefferson NH. 4006ft and only 7.2miles round trip. Why is today such a fight? I started out from the gas station in town since I wasn't sure if the hiker lot was plowed out from the latest blizzard. Made my way to the trail head up Mt. Starr King Road. There is a large snow pile from the plow right at the start to the trail head. Once at the trail head parking lot, I put on my snowshoes. I was thankful to not have the weight on my pack anymore. Switched Isis to her longer lead so she can run a bit. We started off on a decently packed trail. Looked like someone had dragged a polk behind them to break it out, it was so nice. Climbed past the well and continued with the steady incline, I seemed to slow down. I also felt tired but, I pushed on. I wanted this summit today.

The sun was bright and warm which was helping move the day along. The Mt. Starr King trail remained in great shape through this section too. I was dragging on the inclines but continued to push on. It seemed to take loner than usual to get to the turn for the ridge. There's a few icy patches on the trail before that turn. The flatter trail on the ridge gives me a bit of a break and the smaller inclines are easier to handle. The temps are dropping slightly so I remain bundled up.

A brief moment of determination, I continued to push up to Mt. Starr King and the famous fireplace. This seemed a little less consolidated in terms of the snow. Once I got to that final little push up to Mt. Starr King, I took a break and caught my breath, my legs needed the rest too but, my little 4 legged companion wanted to keep going. We popped out to Mt. Starr King and 3 other hikers were having Mac n Cheese. We chatted and they began hiking the last mile to the summit. I stayed behind to rest and take in the view since there's so much snow, you can see over the trees. Then we began our last mile to the summit.

Lot's of sections of less consolidated snow on our way to the Waumbek summit. I was glad to have snow shoes to pass over a few post holes. The inclines again, slowed me down as we caught up to the other three hikers. So, we all made our way to the summit (I gave a little space between us as I slowed down). Pushing up the last 200 feet, we came to the site of the cairn but the cairn was buried. I showed them all the way to the view past the the summit and we spent a while standing in the sun talking and taking in the view. Pictures for all of us and they departed the summit. Isis and I hung around staring across at the Presidentials. I'll get back over there again.

The mile back to the fireplace seemed a little longer too. The good thing is that it's mostly down hill from now on. I ran into other groups of hikers heading to the summit but it was not a terribly crowded day on the trail today. At the fireplace, I took off my puffy coat and said bye to the three other hikers I shared the summit with. Isis and I cruised down from here as it truly was all down hill. Since it had warmed up, the trail had become a little softer so, snowshoes really helped. But I was very happy to get them off my feet at the trail head. Then we hiked the road back to the car on a beautiful last day of Winter. Mt. Waumbek was my third 4K summit since my diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I had ben waiting for it since January and I was thrilled that I pushed through the day. 

I'm coming up on my two month doctors appointment for Rheumatoid Arthritis and I am hopeful that I can maybe stop taking one medication. This would be a step in the right direction for this awful disease. In order for me to be "cured", I'd need a whole new immune system... I take a chance doing what I do being on immunosuppressive therapy but my number one thought back in January was "I hope I can still do what I love"... So, I am pushing through the exhaustion on my body fighting with itself, the pain of joints that swell for sometimes no reason, the headache I constantly have, and I am pushing myself up those big hills I love so much. I'm trying to get better and not bitter about this turn of events. It's harder than any other rounds of the 48 I have ever done but I want to keep going forward. But I also need to be mindful of my limitations... This is a long haul round with no crazy long trips and no speed records to be broken. But I will get there. I will also get to the Long Trail for those final 64 miles... All my food has been ordered and I'm set to keep training. Winter is now behind me and I am looking forward to testing myself on clear trails. Then I'll have ha good idea of how the Long trail will be. Not sure what my next target will be but maybe Moose or TFW to continue stretching my miles. Conditions will matter in making my choice. I hope to see more people out there along the way. 

Happy Spring Hiking Everyone!

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