Bluebird day hike up Mt. Garfield

I hiked Mt. Garfield in December 2014, but we still aren’t quite ready to do any of the 9 remaining mountains I have left to finish the New Hampshire 48  4000 footers, so we did Mt. Garfield on Sunday for my husband’s grid. My husband, Jon, is doing the grid, which is all 48 in all 12 months. It takes years to accomplish for most; probably close to 20 years for Jon. When I did Garfield in December, we were socked in meaning it was a cloudy day with no views. When we did it Sunday there was not one cloud in the sky!!! Mt. Garfield is a part of the Franconia Ridge, so you can see Mt. Lafayette, Mt. Lincoln, Little Haystack, Mt. Liberty, and Mt. Flume to one side,  and North & South Twin, and the Bonds to other side. You can look down into the Pemigewassett River Valley to see Owls Head, and on a really clear day, you can see Mt. Washington past the Bonds. We took the Garfield Ridge Trail up, which is a beautiful trail. The road to the trailhead from Rt 3 is still closed, so that does add 2 miles of walking to the distance. Overall I think it was 12 miles. There are a couple river crossings which were very low/safe for this time of year. Sometimes spring can be tough for river crossings because the melting snow makes for raging rivers. The trail was a sheet of ice for probably the last 2-3 miles to and from the summit. We had our microspikes, and even then it was a little tough. We both really wished that we had our crampons. We saw one couple turn around because they didn’t have any traction, another couple where one didn’t have traction and struggled hardcore, and another couple that shared 1 pair of microspikes (they each had one on their right foot). The happiest and safest folks had microspikes 🙂

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Water levels are so low right now for spring, rock hopping across!
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Icy trails!
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Mizpah making it look easy!
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View of Mt. Lafayette, Mt. Lincoln, Little Haystack, Mt. Liberty, and the side of Mt. Flume from the center out to the left
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Cold n windy day! 
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Owls Head
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A river runs through it: The Pemi River Valley
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Foundation of the tower that used to be on Mt. Garfield
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South and North Twin
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The Bonds behind the Twins

Mizpah did an amazing job as usual. She is so athletic, surefooted, and agile. I am constantly impressed by Mizpah out on the trails. She’s so aware of her surroundings and just in tune with the trails. We purposely let her nails stay a little long in the winter/spring until the ice melts because they give her little microspikes of her own. She was the only dog we saw up there, and she got a lot of love from our fellow hikers. This coming weekend, we are planning to do Mt. Cabot, which I do need for my 48, so I am really excited about that!!!

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Red Bows & Hiking the Hancocks

Wow, last week was crazy! My goal is to do at least 3 posts a week, and I failed terribly last week. Good news is I finished my grad class for the fall semester, and just about finished my Christmas shopping! Woo! High fives all around!

Two holiday/Christmas parties, an awesome charity 5k run, and hiking South and North Hancock sums up my weekend. I am definitely feeling a little worn out today.  The Hancocks are #36 and #37 of the New Hampshire 48 4000footers for me, so I just have 11 left! It has been an amazing journey, and honestly once I finish, its not really an ending. Hiking in all seasons here in New England has become a very happy and healthy part of my life, I love it, its right up there with horseback riding 🙂

This hike is a lollipop hike. You go walk a pretty flat trail down the Hancock Notch Trail to the Cedar Brook Trail to the Hancock Loop Trail. Then you start to climb and can choose to head toward North or South first. We went to North first because that trail is rougher terrain which is easier to climb up. We went up and over North which has nice views, over to the tree covered South summit, and then back down to the stick of the lollipop.

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Summit of Mt. Hancock, the North peak
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View from the outlook on North, almost right at the horizon you can see Lake Winnipesaukee in the middle
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Another view from the outlook, over to the right you can see the ski trails on Loon Mountain

It was such an unseasonably warm day, no jacket needed. I did wear my microspikes for 2 sections.

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Summit of Mt. Hancock, the North peak
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Arrowhead Slide on North Hancock
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Back of the Franconia Ridge
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New rerouted trail away from the brook, really pretty
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These trees will grow, even if they have to grow out of a rock 🙂

The red bows on the summits of both peaks were a surprise. I enjoyed them, BUT they do violate the Leave No Trace policy we all try to hike by. Its tough, most hikers that consider themselves stewards of these ranges don’t approve of anything that could become litter or could disrupt the existence of the animals/plants living there. The fact that this little decoration is in support of the holiday season also ticks some off, nature is neutral I was told. I hope that whoever put them up will come back to dispose of them, but I don’t see harm in the intent behind them. I am a holiday romantic, what can I say??

And on that note, yesterday was National Hot Cocoa Day! I celebrated with a mug that I painted at Clay Time in Shrewsbury MA. I used really cool silk screens to decorate my mug, it was so fun!

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Hope you all had a good weekend! I will be better this week about posting, promise!

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REI’s Opt Outside Campaign

I think it was Monday night that I got the email from REI that they were closing on black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. REI is a coop company where once you join the coop, any purchases get chronicled, and you get money back each year on your purchases. I have gotten camping & hiking stuff at REI in the past. Black Friday has become a day of American consumerism like nothing else. The time for stores to open has pushed all the way to basically after dinner on Thanksgiving Thursday. The first year I headed up to NH to be with my fiancé’s family after Thanksgiving lunch with my family, there was traffic. I was shocked, how could there be traffic going through his town? It was because of the Walmart. I was driving to get to dessert with those I love, and got stuck in traffic with people going to get the best deal on a new flatscreen.

REI’s campaign asks us to go outside on Friday after Thanksgiving- get out of the stores, get off our computers, and do something outside. They created the hashtag “opt outside” for all of us to showcase our non consumer driven activities. Its fine with me because we were already planning to hike in NH. I still have to do the Tripyramids, Hancocks, and Cabot this fall/winter.

Will REI reach a new group of people to be customers? I don’t know, its a pretty specific audience that goes to REI. Maybe the campaign will inspire people to go buy new outdoorsy items for their #optoutside adventures. Maybe REI will even toss us some sales beforehand to help us get outfitted for the day. Will other companies join REI in closing on Black Friday? I don’t know. Think about everyone being able to spend all of Thursday & all of Friday with their families. REI’s 143 stores will be closed on that Friday and every employee will get paid to go do something outside! Can someone start paying me to play outside?! Here are the little YouTube videos they have created for the #optoutside campaign:

Opting outside will cost me gas money, and maybe a parking fee depending on which mountain we go to. Sooooo much cheaper than whatever I would ever buy on black Friday. Go outside more, spend less.

c/o Mon

Pre-foliage Mt. Tecumseh Hike

Wow what a weekend! Friday night I did dinner with my two best friends from high school, Saturday was my fiancé’s work party at Kimball’s Ice Cream in Westford MA, and then Sunday we hiked Mt. Tecumseh in the morning before the Patriot’s game!

If you are ever coming to Massachusetts to do something west of Boston in the summer or driving through, Kimball’s is a great stop! They have pony rides, bumper boats, a driving range, mini golf, and batting cages for things to do, and amazing ice cream, burgers & fries, and fried seafood to eat! Its an amazing place, usually crazy packed too!

I am from Massachusetts and my fiancé’s from New Hampshire so we are Patriots fans!! The game was at 1 PM yesterday so we had to hike something quick. Mt. Tecumseh is 4003 feet and the trailhead is right next to Waterville Valley in NH. I am hiking the 48 4000 footers in NH and have completed 30 of them! I have already done Mt. Tecumseh but thats ok, I did it in the winter last time so it was nice to see it green! The leaf peepers are officially out, we saw 2 tour buses on our way up, but the colors have really changed just yet.

Hiking mountains is one of my escapes from everyday life. The trails are so beautiful, I absolutely love it. I am so happy when I am hiking and feel so accomplished when I finish a peak. I can’t believe I only have 18 left before I finish the 48. We did the 5 mile loop for Tecumseh in just under 3.5 hours. It was a perfect way to spend our morning. Mizpah, my dalmatian loved it too 🙂

Hiking in the White Mountains in NH just costs gas money and a few bucks to park at some of the mountains. We pack a little cooler with sandwiches and fruit and chips for after the hike. We even pack a special beer or two sometimes too! Hiking is amazing exercise, and great for clearing your head. It costs very little and brings me so much joy. I hope everyone had a great weekend!

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