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Smarts Mountain

Smarts Mountain adventure for today. I was not about to let another nice weekend pass by and I really needed to get out there. Only 2 hours from home up 91 through Vermont to Lyme New Hampshire. The trail head is on a dirt section of Dorchester Rd. I'm following the Lambert Ridge Trail (Or the Appalachian Trail). The parking area is full mud and water but once you get on trail, it's pretty dry and the best part is that there is no snow! I'm in my capris, T-shirt, trail runners, and gaiters. Feeling OK but anxious to see what today will show me. My pack is full of my weeks worth of provisions and this is the first hike with the full pack to see how I can handle it. 

After you climb out of the parking area, the trail levels out walking through some nice hard woods. The leaves are really piled up and slick but as you begin climbing again, you get a mix of rocks and roots to balance things out. The breeze today feels really good as well and probably cuts the temp down a little. Continuing to climb, the views start peeking through the trees. I'm falling in love with this hike already, even if it's tough for me. Isis is having fun but I will note here that there is very little water for dogs on this section. We break frequently for water and she gladly drinks. We begin walking on slabs which open up to the views for miles. This is what I love, a great ridge.

After walking this section of ridge, you duck back into the woods and loose a little elevation. It's a nice flat walk for a while and I'm sure that when the trees start filling in, it will be really nice. Again, there is not much water and what is there is pretty stagnant. You begin climbing again and this is the final push to the summit. The rocks are slick today with run off from the winter. We take it slow and come to a section of slab with a wooden set of steps followed by rebar steps. Pretty easy for Isis and myself. 

There's a patch of snow that is easy to step around. With the warmer temps, I am sure it won't last much longer. Shortly after this, the trail evens out again and I'm walking on another wooded ridge to the summit fire tower. From there we head towards the cabin which has the remains of the Monorail from this winter. It's just a small section of snow and my feet do not sink in at all. Easy to get over to the cabin, where we look around and take a break. The cabin is available for people to stay in but it is currently full of trash and there are burn marks on the porch from either a fire or someone being careless while cooking. I had taken my pack off for water and after a while, felt the chill as the wind picked up. Took a few pictures and we got moving back to the car. 

Walking back over the same trail was a little rough going down the steeper sections. Slick trail on tired feet, means that I'm going to fall a few times. And that's what happened. I'm OK though. It's all a part of the hike. Many other hikers are on their way up as we are making our way down. Once we land back at the car, I take stock of myself and; my feet are sore, my elbows hurt, and I'm a little tired. But I am also happy because again, I wanted to give up a few times and I once again pushed through. Slowly I am getting my feet under me again. 

Amazing day today for myself and for Isis. I have been so concerned with time and pace and about a hundred other things that I probably should not be. My pace is good enough and I have all the time in a day to hike my hike. I don't have to be the fastest hiker out there. I just have to arrive at camp with enough time for dinner. What I actually realized though, is that I have to remember to pack my meds. Even on day hikes, I need these to feel OK (I take them at night). If I was ever in a jam and had to stay out on the trail unexpectedly, I'd be in a bad spot without them. So, next hike, I'll have them with me and every hike after that. I realize too that as I am hiking, the pack weight will go down and my stamina will go up (I hope). So, maybe my worries are not too worrisome after all? Maybe I'm going to surprise myself and have the best finish of the LT. This disease has changed me for I believe the better in some ways. While my body has gone through a lot, I am starting to feel more like myself again. I have to rebuild the calluses on my feet since the swelling has kind of destroyed them but other than that, I think I'm doing alright. Today was a great hike to just remember that these trails are to be enjoyed, not analyzed to death for my performance. And I didn't miss the snow at all. 

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