Hampton Beach with Mizpah

Yesterday was quite the day for my pup Mizpah. We did off leash fun at a park with awesome trails near us and then made the short trip to Hampton Beach. Massachusetts and Maine both have beaches with more lenient rules for dogs in the offseason. Maine beaches and some of the beaches on the cape actually allow dogs during the summer before a certain time and after a certain time…usually before 9 and after 5. I moved to New Hampshire, the land of live free or die, and our short coast line here is made up of state parks and there is a hard and fast rule that there are no dogs allowed. Even the short sections of beach that are considered “town beach” can’t be accessed without going through state beaches.

We went expecting to just walk along the boardwalk- not as good as walking on the beach, but still nice views. When we got there though, sure enough there were lots of people walking their dogs on the beach! They were all on leash. It seems like the rule is in effect, but just not enforced because the rangers aren’t around patrolling.

img_9177
Pretty unbelievable that all the snow melted in much of the trails! My outfit was perfect for the weather. The needlepoint hat from Smathers & Branson, my Barbour Argon jacket (sold out but similar here) , LLBean scarf (sold out), and my LLBean boots held up nicely on this cool day. 
img_9153
One end of Hampton Beach, past here its mostly rocks up against the wall
img_9178
Mizpah loves the feeling of sand between her paws
img_9180
Running around the beach with Mizpah
img_9163
Down at the other end of the beach, a very brave surfer heading into the water

It was strange to be at Hampton with all the stores and restaurants boarded up, but it was also so nice and quiet! Hampton Beach is…..lively in the summer. The first time I went to Hampton was in 6th grade with two friends and I was totally overwhelmed in a good way I guess. The beach, arcade, and all the food. I had only ever been to Wingaersheek, Crane, and Good Harbor on the North Shore in MA where we brought our food in a cooler and just ran around the beach. The best deal on the boardwalk was at Sal’s Pizza- $5 for a huge slice of pizza and a can of soda. There’s the Candy Corner, the numerous trashy tshirt companies, and leaving the beach, we always had to stop for ice cream at Hodgie’s Too. Hampton is certainly not the most classy or picturesque beach, but it is definitely fun. Ok, time to stop procrastinating and pack for Florida!

Signature 2

Advertisements

Warm winter afternoon at Crane Beach

So from pretty much the day after snow polo to the end of this past week, I have had the worst cold!! Coughing, sneezing, watering eyes, fatigue, all of it. Thankfully I started to feel better this past week just in time for the unseasonable heat wave here in New England.

For my first “finally feeling better afternoon out”, I headed to Ipswich MA to visit a friend who just moved there just down the street from Crane Beach. It felt so good to get out of the house for more than just work, hang out with friends, and of course be at the beach!!! Crane Beach allows horseback riding and off leash dogs from October 1 to March 31, so we brought her chocolate lab Wellie with us. I totally felt like I was cheating on Mizpah, she will come next time. We both ride horses so of course are both dreaming of trail riding there as well.

Here are some pics I snapped. With the blue sky and the setting sun, the water looked an iridescent blue. It was perfection for my first adventure out in the world post-sickness!

fullsizerender-3
Still a little bit of snow on the dunes. Check out our super long winter shadows!

img_9105

img_9120

img_9117

img_9116
Sun setting on a beautiful day. To the right of the sun, you can just make out the roof/chimney line of Crane Estate.

My friend got her resident beach sticker recently, which I think will make for some really fun day trips this coming summer! Crane Beach is usually pretty busy in the summer, the normal parking rate can be pricey at $25 but they do have nice bathroom/shower facilities and a snack shack type place with food and novelty ice cream. Where I am in NH now, while I of course have way closer access to the NH beaches, I am more excited about being closer to the North Shore beaches in MA that I grew up loving. Alrighty, hope everyone enjoys their weekends! I am on vacation next week so I will be heading to Florida to dust off the Palm Beach sandals again!

Signature 2

Birthday Hike up Mt. Cabot

As part of our MLK weekend away in Jackson NH, we hiked up Mt Cabot on my birthday! Mt. Cabot is the 4000 footer that is farthest north, so having the opportunity to start the drive a couple hours closer was a huge reason to do that one. The hike itself is a gradual easier hike; the hardest thing about hiking Cabot is getting there.

We wore snowshoes for the entire hike, all 9 miles of it. The trail was so nice and tracked out, it would have been a shame to ruin it with post holes. The trail begins at the trout hatchery in Berlin on York Pond Road, which was nicely maintained for this time of year. You start out on the York Pond Trail, and then turn onto the Bunnell Notch Trail, and then finally the Kilkenny Ridge Trail to the summit. In the interest of time, we did an in and out hike, you can do a loop from the summit down over the bulge and horn from the Kilkenny Ridge Trail to the Unknown Pond Trail, but its a longer hike.

img_8760
Mountain Views
img_8758
Another gorgeous view!

Some features as you get up near the summit include an outlook with a beautiful view, a cabin, a false summit where a fire tower used to be, and then finally the wooded summit which is past a Mt. Cabot sign which again looks like the summit. The fire warden cabin is available for public use. It’s free, first come first serve, and it sleeps 8. There used to be a wood stove in it that has been removed, and there is a picnic table inside. They keep a drum outside that collects rainwater in the summer. It’s a very primitive cabin that I believe is still maintained by the Jefferson boy scouts. Not a bad place to have a snack away from the wind, but I would only stay in there overnight if it was an emergency! The first firetower was built up there in 1911, it was rebuilt in 1924, and then taken down in 1965. It was a cold hike, the wind chill was down between -9 and -18. The sun was out though, and I had my warmest gear, so we made a great day out of it. On the way up to Jackson we actually stopped at IME in North Conway and I purchased some Black Diamond mercury mitts for myself and honestly, it made my hike so much more pleasant. They were $109.95 and worth every cent.

img_8756
The Cabot Cabin
img_8764
Had to take a pic of this fat little gray jay that followed us from the cabin to the summit!

Mt. Cabot was my 14th winter peak, and it really is one of my favorite mountains. It was a great way to spend my birthday. On the way back to the Eagle Mountain House we grabbed sandwiches at my favorite deli, J-Town. Then that night we did dinner at The Red Fox and drinks at Wildcat Tavern. All my favorites 🙂

Other posts from our MLK weekend trip up to Jackson:

Winter Weekend at The Eagle Mountain House, Jackson NH

Mountain Town Charm- Jackson, NH

Signature 2

North Country ATV Adventure

This weekend we headed up to the Great North Woods of NH to a friend’s family camp for some ATV fun and beautiful foliage. We boarded the pup so that she could have fun and socialize with other pups while we played out on the ATVs. We got up there on Friday night and headed on the ATVs Saturday morning. Up in North Country NH, there is an awesome trail network for ATVs called Ride the Wilds established in 2013. There are 1000+ miles of trails connected, which include town roads and sections of highway when necessary to connect sections. Eleven different clubs within the region take care of the trail system with donations only- no tax dollars were spent on them.

Before 2013, the trail network wasn’t as connected and was really dependent on permission from private landowners. The signage along the trails was amazing and really helps keep people on the trails and off land that the landowners would like to keep private. There are restaurants, lodges, general stores, and campgrounds along the way. For this adventure I wore my LLBean fleece, Harding Lane mountain hat, buff to cover my face for the dust, jeans, my old Merrell boots, and my Fox mountain biking gloves.  It was definitely a day for functional clothing that you didn’t mind getting dusty/muddy!

Our first stop on our ATV adventure was the Blueberry Hill Inn & Cafe for breakfast. The food there is fabulous- our party got blueberry pancakes, grilled blueberry muffins, bacon, homemade corn beef hash, home fries, and endless cups of coffee. The blueberries for the pancakes & muffins come from blueberry fields right on the property and of course, the maple syrup was locally produced.

From there we headed up the Cree Notch Trails to a great lookout/picnic spot. Along the way we rode along a railroad, saw glimpses of the Connecticut River, & rode through a Christmas tree farm.

img_7112img_7114

img_7116
Along the railroad trail was the most dust, but I liked it because it was cool to see the old school telephone poles still standing

img_7120img_7121img_7123

img_7130
Feeling like a bandit through the dusty parts
img_7180
The Christmas tree farm!

The views from Cree Notch were amazing. The foliage was just breathtaking.

img_7142img_7147

My husband Jon and I rode on a Polaris Sportsman ATV. He drove the whole way out, and I drove part of the way home. Our friend was on a Kawasaki ATV, and then his parents, our amazing hosts, were in a Polaris side by side. They have had their camp up north for about 30 years and have really been there since the beginning for ATVing up there. img_7219

From there we headed to Bear Bait Mountain which also had some beautiful views. As the day progressed, the clouds rolled in and there were even a couple rain drops but thankfully nothing that disrupted our day. We saw a juvenile moose alongside the trail coming down from the notch view. It was early in the day for it to be out and about, and it didn’t move when we approached. Sadly the poor thing might be sick with something. We didn’t stick around too long in case mom was close by. It may have had some sort of tick borne disease like lyme. It was still a pretty cool encounter.

img_7165img_7173img_7192img_7201img_7197img_7199

After our amazing day of four wheeling, Jon did some fishing at the brook right near camp, and we had a campfire to warm up before dinner. He caught and released six beautiful brook trouts to hopefully grow and increase the healthy trout population.

img_7208
Beautiful brook trout, caught & released

img_7203img_7216img_7210

We had such an amazing day and made it home on Sunday in time to watch Tom Brady play with the Patriots for the first time this season. I am pretty sure this weekend is the peak foliage for northern NH, but southern NH still has a week or so. I am just loving all the fall colors, and secretly I am totally getting excited for snow and skiing in a few months hopefully!

Signature 2

Carter Dome hike to finish the Carter’s!

A while back we hiked Middle & South Carter in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire but couldn’t do Carter Dome because my pup hurt her little paw pads. This past weekend we took a break from house stuff to finish the Carters. I now only have five mountains left to finish the 48 4000 footers in the Whites!! Woo! I have to hike the Bonds which is 3 peaks, Isolation, and Owls Head to finish up.

IMG_6335
Mizpah playing in the 19 Mile Brook
IMG_6337
The main building at the Carter Notch Hut
IMG_6336
Carter Pond…check out that cloud creeping up
IMG_6339
Another Carter Pond shot
IMG_6341
Looking down into the notch at the Carter Notch Hut. Those rocks down there look small, but they are the size of buildings!
IMG_6342
Looking out into the Wild River Wilderness from a view before the summit
IMG_6344
Mizpah ascending into the cloud

We went up 19 Mile Brook Trail to the Carter-Moriah Trail which has some steep parts to the summit. The Carter Notch Hut is off the Carter-Moriah Trail. This particular hut has different buildings for the bathroom, bunks, and dining area whereas a hut like the Mizpah Spring Hut has everything in just one building. The summit has the remnants of a tower which is cool even though it doesn’t have great views. We were in a cloud the day I hiked though so there were no views no matter what.

IMG_6345
We thought this was a geocache in the rocks of this cairn near the summit, but the note inside was actually a very sweet memorial tribute 🙂
IMG_6346
My trusty La Sportiva Pamirs….these are my zombie apocalypse footwear….yes we have discussed what footwear we would grab for a zombie apocalypse.
IMG_6354
Summit!
IMG_6367
In a cloud on the summit!
IMG_6366
Mizpah investigating one of the old anchors for the tower that is no longer up there

We took the Carter Dome Trail back down to the 19 Mile Brook Trail which is a little longer, but not as steep. I would MUCH rather go up something steep and come down something more gradual for my knees’s sake. It’s better for Mizpah’s joints too!!

IMG_6374
Yep, we handfeed Mizpah her food out on the trail. She never eats breakfast before we leave for a hike, so anytime we take a break, we offer her food to keep up her energy!
IMG_6385
Mizpah lounging trailside
IMG_6380
Love the scenery on the 19 Mile Brook Trail!

It was a really great hike to do after taking a little time off. We even ran into one of my favorite instagrammers out on the trail- @munjoyboy. He was coming down Carter-Moriah as we were heading up. He has AMAZING photos of many of my favorite places.

Signature 2

Trail Running Sneaks Review!

This entire week is gloomy and rainy here in Massachusetts so its a great time to dream about trail running and talk about my new trail running sneakers!! Dalmatians are very high energy dogs and they were bred to run alongside horse drawn carriages. They would run ahead and clear the crowds and then guard the goods when the men went inside. That’s why dalmatians are associated with firehouses and Budweiser, because firetrucks and the Budweiser trucks were originally horse drawn. What does that mean for someone who owns a dalmatian though? That means you are in the company of an animal that was bred to run miles and miles every day. Part of the reason why dalmatians got such a bad rep back when the dalmatian movies came out is because they are only good dogs with plenty of exercise. I once read that puppies can do 20k no problem. When we run on the trails, we do between 3-5 miles of hilly terrain…and she could totally do more. I love running with Mizpah in the woods, and I finally got my first pair of trail running sneakers about a month ago.

FullSizeRender-55

I got my North Face Ultra 109 Goretex sneaks from REI. We are members of the REI coop, so we had a $20 member dividend from when I bought my crampons last year, and a 20% coupon back on the member rewards weekend. The sneakers are $120, but I think I ended up paying $76. Great deal! They are not the best looking sneaker, gray and blue are a little boring, but they have great stability so I can run on rocks and roots without rolling my ankles, and they are goretex which means I am a little more protected in mud and puddles on the trail. I also got some new socks from LLBean for trail running because I wanted socks that weren’t so low cut.

IMG_4571

 

Now, why get trail running sneakers? Can’t I just run on the trails with my normal running sneakers!?

You can! I did for years. I have noticed some huge improvements since I finally got some trail specific shoes though.

  1. Running uphill- trails in MA are covered in dead leaves with roots and rocks underneath. Running uphill with my new sneaks which have awesome dirt biting treads is soooooo much easier. No more slipping back every step, or trying to navigate the trail to put my feet on non-slip ground.
  2. Stability- these particular sneakers are made for stability so that when you are running over roots and rocks, it doesn’t impact your footfall as much. I roll my ankle and trip way less now.
  3. Goretex- the first piece of clothing I owned with Goretex was my crew jacket and I have been in love ever since. My sneakers are able to go through mud and shallow puddles and my feet stay warm and dry.

A big rule that I have to follow with these sneakers is to only use the on the trails. Running on pavement in them would damage and wear down the amazing treads.

IMG_4677

Thats my little Mizpah coming back to me after checking out an unfinished/abandoned beaver lodge. It was sorta a scary moment watching her traipse around on logs, but she has an explorer’s spirit that can’t be harnessed. We couldn’t hike this past weekend because of the rain….and its been raining all week so who knows about this weekend. Anyone have any fun Kentucky Derby plans!?

Signature 2

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 🙂

IMG_4606
Water levels are so low right now for spring, rock hopping across!
IMG_4617
Icy trails!
IMG_4599
Mizpah making it look easy!
IMG_4607
View of Mt. Lafayette, Mt. Lincoln, Little Haystack, Mt. Liberty, and the side of Mt. Flume from the center out to the left
IMG_4609
Cold n windy day! 
IMG_4615
Owls Head
IMG_4614
A river runs through it: The Pemi River Valley
IMG_4611
Foundation of the tower that used to be on Mt. Garfield
IMG_4612
South and North Twin
IMG_4613
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!!!

Signature 2

Southern Presidentials Hike to End February

Oh man is this week kicking my butt! Between work, classes, homework, and wedding stuff, it feels like my free time is nonexistent! Today I finally took my wedding dress to get altered though, so that was a huge check off my list! Woo hoo accomplishment! This past weekend, we hiked Mount Jackson and Mount Pierce in NH. These are the southern most mountains in the Presidential Range and the trails start in the beautiful Crawford Notch area. Fun fact- Mount Jackson is actually named after Charles Jackson, the state geologist back in the 19th century NOT Andrew Jackson, our seventh president.

Jon, Mizpah, two friends, and myself set out on Sunday morning around 9 AM. Immediately we all put on our traction, three of us have crampons, and one of our friends just had microspikes. The trail was solid ice from melting snows. Wearing crampons is pretty serious business. You have to be careful of every step, making sure you don’t slice yourself or one of your hiking companions. Super scary with Mizpah running afoot. The day started a little gray, but over the course of the day, the sun came out and blue skies prevailed! We had pretty good views of the rest of the Presidentials. Mizpah had a great hike with the warmer temps and her claws were perfect in the soft ice. She will probably never hike the northern Presidentials (Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison) because of the rocky terrain, but the southern ones are ok. Her hut, the Mizpah Spring Hut, is on Pierce 🙂 Here are some pics from the hike!!!

IMG_3656
Crawford Notch Depot- station for the Notch Train of the Conway Scenic Railroad which will resume service on June 14th!

IMG_3668

IMG_3666
Winter wonderland trails, like our very own Narnia
IMG_3670
View from Jackson- up on the left you can see Bretton Woods Ski Resort and thats the Mount Washington Hotel in the middle. The red roof is really easy to see up on the mountain, not so much in the photo!
IMG_3689
It’s really important to remember to bring food for yourself AND your dog. We bring a bag of Mizpah’s food for her to eat on the trail, and a water bowl!
IMG_3665
Yep, that ice is the trail, crazy!!
IMG_3683
For hiking on ice….here are my La Sportiva Nepal mountaineering boots, Grivel crampons, and EMS Gaiters (similar here) . Winter hiking is pretty awesome if you like to collect gear!
IMG_3712
The rest of the Presidential Range from Mt. Pierce- the ridge to Mt. Eisenhower looks so cool. Mt. Washington’s summit is in the clouds.

IMG_3728

IMG_3717
Frozen waterfalls on the Crawford Path down from Pierce
IMG_3721
Picturesque little pup in her Ruffwear jacket and collar
IMG_3726
Had to take a quick snap on the way home of the Mount Washington Hotel and the Presi’s

My fiancé broke his toe the other day soooooo we might not be hiking again until April! Poor guy. I had already done these two mountains, but we were with a friend sort of new to hiking and wanted a short hike with nice views for him. This hike was about 6 1/2 hours. I still have 9 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 4000 Footers. Goal is to finish by the end of this summer!

Hiking, horseback riding, trail running, swimming, biking…I love anything that gets me outside. What do you like to do to get outside? Do you have any outdoorsy goals for this spring/summer??

Signature 2

 

Sunny days in Florida

Hello everyone!! Sorry for my absence this past week! I was in Florida enjoying the sun, and then right to Killington VT for some skiing, and then I have had 2 exams for classes already this week!

My parents retired to Florida a few years ago. Its hard not having them just a drive away to have dinner on a Sunday or meet up, but certainly having family in Florida has its perks! I wasn’t down there very long at all, so we focused on just relaxing instead of hitting up any parks or tourist attractions. I didn’t even want to waste time on driving to the beach, so we  hung out at the pool…which is heated….so nice!!!

Here are some pics from my quick but awesomely sunny and warm visit!

IMG_3401
Hangin with this little sand crane!!  #edsftg

IMG_3402IMG_3403IMG_3405

IMG_3409
Not a cloud in the sky at the pool!
IMG_3407
Not a bad spot for lunch! Loved being able to eat outside!
IMG_3416
Sunset on the golf course my parents live on
IMG_3414
Pano of the lovely sunset!
IMG_3424
Til next time Florida!

You can see I am kinda obsessed with the palm trees down there ha! I also looove the birds down there. They have sand cranes that walk around in pairs, and they are so cute. You can see a little bachelor sand crane in my first picture. The sunsets are beautiful too because they are on the western side of Florida. I love February vacation as a teacher because I get to run away to Florida for a dose of sunshine.

Where would you go to get a little sun and warmth this winter!?

Signature 2

 

Fun in the snow this past week!

Happy Friday everyone!!! We are currently in a serious freeze in New England. I was supposed to try out my new skis at Gunstock this weekend BUT that might not happen in these sub freezing temperatures. There are rumors that the ski mountains might even close Sunday because of the extreme temperatures.

Next week is February vacation for schools in Massachusetts so I will be heading to Florida next week. The temps will be in the 70s which isn’t hot, but will be amazing after this cold!! Even in these cold temperatures, I still need to get outside and so does my dog. I can’t wait to run down in Florida in a tshirt. Here are some pics from the week out and about in the snow!!

IMG_3264
During the snow storm on Monday!
IMG_3253
Mizpah in the snow ❤
IMG_3280
Enter a caption
IMG_3287
Paw prints and bean boot prints, love ❤
IMG_3307
On planet Hoth, going to look for Luke, brb

My down jacket is from EMS and can be seen here. It is an amazingly warm, but light down jacket with a great hood AND the downtek coating makes it water repellent. It’s ok in snow or light rain, not really appropriate for a downpour though.

IMG_3302
Pup out on the ice!!! 
IMG_3304
In honor of love
IMG_3312
Pure joy running around in the snow

In light of this freezing cold weather, I am unsure of my weekend plans! What are you all up to this weekend? I hope that the weekend and Valentine’s Day treats you right ❤

Signature 2