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Mount Monadnock

Mount Monadnock via the White Arrow trail today... I parked at the Old Toll Road Trail Head which is about 10 minutes from my house. For those considering this trail head, it will be staffed with a Ranger again for the season starting April 15, 2017. As we all know by now too, there are no dogs allowed at the park. Isis stayed home today and boy was it hard to get out of the house without her. At the trail head, there is plenty of parking and given that people think it's Spring, there's already plenty of people parked at the trail head. I got my boots on and headed out. My pack is packed as if I was going to be on the LT for a week since I need to get use to the weight. You start out with a mile road walk up the old Toll Road. This is mostly up hill until you reach the White Arrow Trail. 

It's here that I put on my spikes and I am glad that I opted for my boots over my trail runners. I have my winter shell at the top of my pack for later. 30mph winds up top today and it's about another mile to the summit. Climbing through the hard woods, the trail is pretty choppy and still full of ice. I feel the weight of my pack and I'm glad I'm only doing Monadnock today but I also feel that the weight will not hold me back. A Blackhawk helicopter was circling the mountain and I thought the worst but believe it was just on a drill. There are others climbing today and it's a good mix of those that know the conditions and those that do not. I mind my own business and keep walking. At the section just before tree line, I tried to judge the ice flow and also noted that no one has bushed whacked around it. Up the middle it is. But first I let a father and son come down through as I put on my winter shell. Once at the top of this section, it's not long to the summit. I waited to make sure that a couple in tennis shoes made it down the section without injury.

From tree line, it's full on winter still but the trail is pretty boney and more ice than snow. I stopped to take in the view and how sweet it felt since i had not been above tree line since before my diagnosis. The winds are picking up but I forge ahead. Each time I climb higher, the view gets clearer.

At a certain point, my phone dies from the cold. Continuing to follow the tracks frozen in the trail in front of me, I step carefully in the frozen steps using the spikes for stability. Up the chute section which fills in with snow every year. That seemed pretty tame until the winds kicked up then you felt like you'd be blown down. Rounded the rocky summit and stood up there briefly for the view and made my way back down the way I came. A few others were making their way up. Some less than prepared and thinking they could forge their own trail were a little disappointed and had to turn back to the actual trail. Heading back down the trail, there were sections that I slid down but they were few and far between. Back at tree line, I stripped a layer and headed back to the car. Easy hike out with a few more coming up. Some in shorts that would be very surprised at what they find. All in all, today was very successful and just what I needed.

So, all in all, managing my Rheumatoid Arthritis has been going a lot better. I have 4 days left on Prednisone with the hope of staying off of it for a while. I still get swelling in my hands and feet but not nearly as bad as before my diagnosis and even at the beginning of treatment. I packed my full pack for my LT trip to test out the weight. I wanted to see if it would be hard (it was a little), if I swelled any (yes I did), and mostly could I handle it? Yes I can. This disease is so much worse than Osteoarthritis, in that both my hands and my feet swell... It's not just one joint causing an issue for wear and tear. It's all of them and some pretty strong fatigue on top of it. But I am confident that I can get ahead of things and reach my goal come June. My hope is that I build on today and get back up to the Whites soon for longer hikes with more challenges. 

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