Piscassic Greenway with Mizpah

New England is truly beautiful this time of year. After many days of rain, the fields and forests in this area are so lush and green! The rainy days can be tough, but now on the nicer days we can see the beautiful scenery as a result. We entered the Piscassic Greenway trails from Bald Hill Road in Newfields, NH. The Mraz trail starts there through a beautiful field and then enters the wooded area. There is a community garden that might have a charitable purpose at that entrance as well. In these photos I am five months pregnant (eep!) and I managed these trails really well.

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Mizpah on the grassy path before we entered the woods
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Action shot! Happiest dog 🙂
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Shorts from J.Crew Factory // tshirt from J.Crew Factory // hat from Vineyard Vines // bracelet not available anymore at KJP, click link to see others!
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Love the lilly pads and how the sky/clouds reflected off the water

The greenway is a part of the Southeast Land Trust of NH (SELT) and the rules in general (although you should check the site for each individual property) are that dogs should be on a leash OR under owner voice control. We went on a Sunday before lunch and had the place to ourselves. We kept Mizpah on a least until we passed the community garden and then let her go! We only ended up doing the Mraz Loop and we did the Byrne Trail/Spur to the scenic outlook. There is more Byrne Trail to see and the Otis Hill Trail.

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Part of the cellar hole for a large building out in the woods. I wish I knew exactly what was here!
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A little Americana here in the woods
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We saw so many pink/purple lady slippers! In New Hampshire, lady slippers, loons, and lupine are held sacred.
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I don’t know about you, but my baseball cap collection saves my skin in the summer! Sometimes its nice to see my back because I still look normal aka not pregnant from the back haha!
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One last shot on the way back to the car!

This property has an interesting history. We saw many cellar holes and rock walls indicating that it was most likely a few family farms long ago. In 2005, it almost became a 102 unit subdivision called “Mill Woods”, but thankfully SELT stepped in and made a deal with developers to protect this land. The property has fields, wooded areas, and wetlands that are important habitats for NH wildlife, so I am really happy they found a way to keep it undeveloped!!

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Off leash fun at Wagon Hill Farm

The end of the school year is fast approaching and I am looking forward to summer days! We have been in southeast NH for almost a year now, and we are still finding great new off leash places to take Mizpah. I have been missing hiking the 4000 footers something fierce lately, but finding new trails to walk on with Mizpah and my growing baby bump has been keeping me moving. As I write this I am just starting week 24 of my pregnancy…..crazy how time is flying. The exercise benefits for momma and baby are huge, so walking with Mizpah will be important this summer. I am also keeping up with spin classes at a gym in my town- trying to do 2–3 classes a week.

Wagon Hill Farm is a property owned by the town of Durham, NH, same town where UNH is located. The 139 acre property was acquired by the town back in 1989 to be preserved for many generations to enjoy. There are old orchards, picnic areas, a beachy area where Oyster River meets Little Bay, mowed trails through fields of grass and flowers, as well as wooded paths. Probably one of Mizpah’s favorite features is a point that juts out into the bay, perfect for puppy fetch and play in the water.

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Mizpah frolicking in the grass, I swear she’s part deer sometimes
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Leaving the meadows, entering the woods
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Swimming with some friends at the point! Saltwater pups 🙂
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Beautiful views where Oyster River meets Little Bay
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The time struck 10 AM and we were responsible dog owners and put baby girl back on the leash. Many dogs owners didn’t :/
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Perfect summer phone case! Find them under travel bags here (psst..affiliate link). Hat is from Harding Lane and bracelet is from Lemon & Line
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Views
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The wagon on wagon hill!! Not the original wagon, there have been a few!

The rules of the property are dogs allowed, but off leash only between the hours of 8 AM and 10 AM, on leash the rest of the time. Its a terrific compromise, as long as people follow the rules. Off leash properties are great, but I recognize that there are people out there that would like to enjoy being outdoors without running into off leash dogs. I wish more places would compromise like this. Many beaches in Maine allow dogs before 9 AM, after 5 PM, Gloucester beaches allow dogs off leash every other day in the offseason.

Wagon Hill Farm will definitely be added to the rotation of places to bring Mizpah. I love that it is right on Little Bay, so beautiful. Next up will be the Piscassic Greenway, a property in the Southeast Land Trust of NH.

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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.

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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. 
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One end of Hampton Beach, past here its mostly rocks up against the wall
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Mizpah loves the feeling of sand between her paws
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Running around the beach with Mizpah
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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!

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Middle & South Carter Hike

I am two peaks closer to finishing the New Hampshire 48 4000 footers! The original plan was to do Middle & South Carter and then Carter Dome but we had to turn back after South Carter. Descending from South Carter to the Zeta Pass before you head up the dome, we noticed Mizpah trying to lay down every time we stopped which is really weird for her, and then she actually limped holding up her left hind paw. We took a look at her paw and sure enough, she had a rip in her paw pad. We decided to head back, which did mean 4 miles of hiking down still. My little baby made it down ok, she sort of limped if there were rocks but walked ok on the nice packed dirt. Today she is doing better, she is tired but she did make it down the stairs ok and is eating/drinking.

The two peaks we did don’t have views! I did take some pictures of the beautiful northern Presidentials from an outlook on a little summit before Middle Carter. I guess the really nice views are on Mt. Hight which is not technically a 4000 footer in between South Carter and Carter Dome. I have to go back up to do the dome so I will get to snag those views then!

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This is the view of Lake Winnipesaukee from Mt. Major on Saturday!! We did the little Mt. Major with Jon’s parents on Saturday, it was such a beautiful day. Mt. Major was packed!
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Sunday was the ATV ride up the Mt. Washington auto road!! They shut down the auto road and only allow four wheelers up. The line of trucks and trailers was miles long in the morning.

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Above is a picture of Camp Dodge, where AMC volunteers and employees can stay in the summer. We parked at the 19 Mile Brook Trailhead because thats where we were going to end, and walked up the road a bit to Camp Dodge and got on the Imp Trail towards Middle Carter there. It was cool to see Camp Dodge!

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View of Mt. Washington, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Madison from an outlook by Middle Carter
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Mizpah pre-pad tear
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Mizpah post-pad tear
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Little waterfall in the brook
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Really nice new bridge on 19 Mile Brook Trail.

We have some more hikes planned in the next couple months, so hopefully I will finish the  4000 footers this summer! Mizpah’s paw will heal, she just needs time. Its just so hard to watch my super athletic girl struggle and limp around. Friday was my last day of work until August 22 🙂 Let the summer adventures begin!!

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MDW Hike up Mt. Cabot

Well another Memorial Day weekend has come and gone. From what I have heard, Sunday was a miserable day in most of New England, but it was a beautiful day in northern New Hampshire on Mt. Cabot! Mt. Cabot is the farthest north of the 4000 footers up in Berlin NH. The trailhead is at one of the NH State Hatcheries, soooooo many trouts!!! We were already up at my inlaws’ house in NH, and from there it was still another 2.5 hours to drive. My sister, Brenda, came up to do this hike with me and my husband too! This was her 3rd 4000 footer, my 40th 4000 footer, and who knows what number it is for my husband haha, over 100?

So we went up Cabot via the Bunnel Notch Trail to the Kilkenny Ridge Trail. In total, the mileage was a little over 9 miles- took us about 6 hours. The trail was in great shape except for some mud which is normal for this time of year. It was a really warm day, many water breaks.  There are some nice features along the way- a spot with some beautiful views, an old fire warden’s cabin that you can stay in, and a clearing close to the summit that has the remnants of an old fire tower. Many people stop at the tower clearing thinking that they have made it to the summit…but really you have to continue on and you will get to another clearing with a sign that says Mt. Cabot-4120′, and that still isn’t the summit, you have to go a little further to the true summit at 4170′. Two false summits. We saw many people at the fire tower clearing that never continued on to the actual summit.

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Green lush scenery has returned to the White Mountains
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My sister and I love our LLBean Backpacks. Mine on the left is here and my sister’s on the right is here. My pack is smaller, more appropriate for a little day pack, and my sister’s is a little more appropriate for an overnight too.
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The girls at the view, Mizpah, me, and Brenda
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The views were a little hazy on Sunday, but still beautiful. Everything is so green again!!!
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The old fire warden cabin near the summit of Mt. Cabot. The only cabin I have seen in the 4000 footers higher elevation. There are shelters, and then the AMC huts, and cabins at lower elevations, but this is a unique fixture.
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False summit #2 haha, me and Jon
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Stopping at the view for a little break on the way down. Best hiking dog. Love her.

On the way home, we stopped at Mountain Fire Pizza in Gorham NH for some dinner and a beer. Jon and I split the maple and bacon pizza, it was amazing. My sister got a pizza with chicken and artichoke on it, it looked great too! If you like thin crust brick oven pizza, then this is the place for you. Gorham is an interesting town, way up in the mountains. We went to Gorham last year for 4th of July fireworks when we were camping at Dolly Cop. ATVs are street legal in the town. Think about that for a second, you can drive 4-wheelers anywhere…to McDonald’s, to get some pizza, to pick up a friend, whatever. Pretty cool place. More pics from Memorial Day on Lake Winnepesaukee tomorrow!!

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Oak Hill Conservation Area

After being sick with allergies and some flu like symptoms last week, I attacked this weekend with a vengeance! Sunday I ran my first 5k road race with my sister, Brenda, in Stow MA. It was the 18th annual Run for the Woods, and the money raised benefits the Stow Conservation Trust. The course had minimal hills, and winds by some beautiful spots- an apple orchard, a farm with goats/cows, and a farm with sheep! That afternoon I was tired, but we had to do something with the pup, so we decided to try out the Oak Hill Conservation Area in Littleton, MA. The two big features there are the Lookout Rock, which I guess you can see the Hancock tower in Boston from on a clear day (it wasn’t that clear for us), and Tophet Chasm. Tophet Chasm was formed 15,000 years ago by an outlet from Lake Nashua, a glacial lake. There are trails along the ridge of the chasm looking down into it, and then a trail along the bottom of the chasm. We will NEVER take the trail at the bottom again, Mizpah had a blast running through the swampy areas down there and honestly, I don’t think I have seen her that muddy ever!!IMG_4961IMG_4960IMG_4959IMG_4934

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Walking uphill felt great after running a 5k earlier haha!!!
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View from Lookout Rock
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Highest point in Littleton- 508′
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Farm/land boundary

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Sidewall of the chasm
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Trail through the swampy bottom of the chasm
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Another shot of the wall of the chasm
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Looking down into the chasm from the top of the ridge
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This picture doesn’t even do justice to how muddy Mizpah was because you can’t see her back legs really well, she was gross!

We will hopefully be heading up to do some hiking in NH this coming weekend, but it is fun to explore smaller local spots when we can’t get up there. This area had conflicting information posted about leashing your dog. The leash law for Littleton was posted, but then another sign said dogs needed to be on leash or under verbal command, and then yet another sign said dogs needed to be in sight and under verbal control and were not allowed to approach people or dogs unless invited. We did a mix of leash and off leash….if we heard people, we put her on the leash. When she got super gross, we put her on a leash so she wouldn’t be gross greeting people. It was pretty quiet there though, not a lot of people at all. We had such a nice weekend weather wise this past weekend. I hope it continues!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!?

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Spring Trail Runs!

I am so excited that the weather is getting warm and with the lack of snow, we have kinda skipped mud season! Woo! Now I am not sure how this will affect us moisture wise, like if we will have a bit of a drought without all that snow melt, but I can’t help but be excited to get out and run on the trails!!

Here are some pictures from our runs lately!

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One muddy pup, comin right up!
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This is an adorable little sitting area to pause and enjoy nature 🙂 

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Mizpah and me are so much happier when we can get out and run on the trails together. I need new trail running sneakers though!! Any recommendations from anyone??

Here are a couple I am checking out:

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor Trail Running Shoes

New Balance 1210v3 Leadville Trail Run

Salomon XR Mission Trail Running Shoe

I would love gore tex but the price of trail running shoes is up there! I try to remind myself that these are my feet, ankles, knees….and its worth it. I will certainly be keeping my eyes open for deals!

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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!!!

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

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Winter wonderland trails, like our very own Narnia
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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!
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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!
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Yep, that ice is the trail, crazy!!
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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!
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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.

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Frozen waterfalls on the Crawford Path down from Pierce
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Picturesque little pup in her Ruffwear jacket and collar
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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??

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A Book Review on Jane Austen’s Birthday

Today is Jane Austen’s birthday!!! Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors.  Jane, Emily, Charlotte, and Louisa….they are the OGs of my bookshelves. My favorite Jane Austen novels are Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility in that order. Emma is the best in my opinion, Mr. Knightley definitely > Mr. Darcy. Here’s my review of “How to start a fire”!

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I just finished “How to start a fire” by Lisa Lutz last night. Usually, if I get through a book, it means I liked it….but this was another tough one for me. I started this book, had to table it, and then picked back up again. Not easy with a book that chronicles the lives of 3 college friends in that style that jumps around between events of different years. I had to really focus to keep what was going on from basically 1998 to 2013 in the book. I have read a few books now where the chapters jump back and forth between the past and present and it can be tough to follow.

Perhaps another reason why I struggled was I didn’t really relate to any of the main characters. The three girls, George, Kate, and Anna would probably not have been girls I would have befriended. I thought more than once in the book that the reason why they stayed friends was because they really didn’t make any new friends and only had each other. I suppose I appreciate George’s love for nature, and the way that camping calms & centers her. I love how Kate is kinda sheltered but has this inner strength and can be content with what she has at that moment, not always wanting more. Anna was probably the most dramatic, tumultuous character. You don’t really learn her or Kate full story until the last 100 pages or so. I have a few women in my life that remind me of Anna. One has made her way out of the woods, and one is still a little lost.

J. Courtney Sullivan wrote a book called “Commencement” that was again about a group of friends from college and how their lives intertwined afterwards. I might like Commencement better than How to start a fire. It has been so warm in Massachusetts. Yesterday, the pup and I went for a walk in the woods sans jacket! Looks like we might have a green Christmas up here!

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We all took Monday off from exercise after the hike on Sunday, so girlfriend was pretty amped up to run around yesterday. It was hard to get her to stay still for a picture hahaha. As usual, my book was from the library. Not sure what I will read next, but utilizing the library saves me a lot of money on books. Save the pennies my friends.

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