Monday, June 11, 2012


Hi Everyone,

Some of you have been asking me where the hiking updates have been.  In short there has been a bit of a setback.  When I have some time to sit down and write I'll gave a few more details.  Meanwhile I'm in physical therapy at the moment and at this time it seems that I will not be back to hiking for at least a couple of months.  And since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is a summary for you:

And there you have it. For the time being the left knee cap remains taped as does the right arch and ankle.  No strenuous activities allowed.  I'm rather upset and discouraged about it.  But that's another conversation.

It is possible that I may be able to get on the bicycle soon.  So perhaps I'll switch gears and do some posting about bike rides... if the trails aren't too hilly, that is.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012


dogs and teenagers
both like to ignore commands
sometimes both growl


Eastern Bloc network
human darknet spread info
iron curtain chink

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Burnt Meadow Mountain April 21

The man on the top of the mountain did not fall there. ~ Chinese Proverb

I had originally set out on April 20, accompanied by my husband and my daughter and my dog, with the intent to hike South Doublehead and North Doublehead in Jackson, NH.  However we didn't end up doing that.  My daughter had said she didn't feel good on the trip up there but we decided to continue and see how she was doing once she started hiking.  Unfortunately we didn't even get 1/2 mile into the trail and she was dizzy and sick to her stomach.  So we aborted the mission for the day.  I'll head back there another day to hike those two peaks.  It has been about 9 years since I hiked S and N Doublehead and I would like to do it again.

Since the weather was still beautiful the following day, my husband and I decided to stay a little closer to home and hike Burnt Meadow Mt in Brownfield, Maine.  So the two of us set out with the dog for what we assumed would be a relatively quick hike.  Let me just say this... Do not - and I repeat, do not - ever make the mistake of assuming that a small mountain means an easy hike!  Also don't make the mistake of skipping past small mountains assuming that the views at the summit will not be as nice as bigger mountains.  Small mountains can offer both challenging hikes and great views.

Burnt Meadow Mt now has two trails to the summit - Twin Brooks Trail and Burnt Meadow Trail.  Additionally there is a new trail which splits off of Twin Brooks Trail and takes you to the summit of Stone Mt about a mile away.

We decided to hike up Twin Brooks Trail to the summit of Burnt Meadow Mt and down Brunt Meadow Trail.  I guess my first clue should have been the fact that the trail immediately started with a series of switchbacks, thus indicating a steep climb.  However, once we got to the Twin Brooks Trail junction and headed off in that direction the trail became a bit more level for just a little while.  This trail takes you through nice forest which, while climbing steadily upward, has a bit of up and down so that you don't feel like you are constantly climbing without a break.

Eventually it does get more rocky and climbs steeply.

At that point though, if you take a break from climbing and look around there are some nice views as a reward for the effort you just put in.

After a bit more hiking we arrived that the summit of Burnt Meadow Mt.

While we were up there for about 1/2 hour the sun came out a little more and the view kept getting even better.

Ok. So... now the hike down....

{By the way, did I ever mention that I'm afraid of heights?...   Did I mention that my stomach flips at steep drops and my legs shake when I look back behind me where I just hiked or ahead of me when I'm hiking down steep spots?...

And have I mentioned that I have a bad knee from an injury I sustained when I fell off a motor bike back when I was in my mid-twenties...
And my arches are as flat as pancakes and if I don't rig up my shoes with all kinds of extra inserts my feet get in big trouble?...
And I have some sort of tendinitis issue in one of my heels?...
And I injured my right wrist a number of years ago and it has given me consistent trouble ever since?...

No? Well maybe one of these days I'll write a post about all that.

Oh.. and the big one... By current BMI standards, I am well into the "obese" category - and have been for many years.  Or so I'm told by people who sit at their desks all day and have never hiked (or biked or swam) a day in their lives. Yeah well, I'm rolling my eyes at that one...

 But the point here is that if I can hike (and bike and swim), probably anyone can hike (and bike and swim).  So if it's something that you think you'd like to try, then just do it.  For some people it gets easier the more they do it.  For me it never does.  I'm always afraid of heights and my old injuries never stop bothering me.  Oh, and I never get any thinner either.  But I love to hike (and bike and swim), so I do.  I love the outdoors.  I love the peace and quite of the trails.  I love being able to see the views from the summits that I would never otherwise be able to see without having put in the effort to get there.  And while there are many people who do a lot more impressive and extensive hiking than I'll ever do, I personally feel a great sense of accomplishment any time I make it up a mountain and back down.}

When I saw the trail that I was intending to hike down from the summit, believe me, my legs started to shake and I got dizzy.  Here's what I was looking at:

I kid you not.  That's where I was headed.  The dog was looking over the edge of where the trail started down waiting for me to head in that direction.

Sometimes it's hard to tell from pictures but this trail dropped pretty much straight down for a bit before leveling off somewhat.  (Again, if you talk to people who do a lot of hiking, they may tell you "it's not bad".  And maybe for them it's not.  For me it was.) 

Ok... here we go:

And the dog is a patient hiking partner waiting a bit below on the trail:

Since I had to get down to the bottom, I pushed on:

So here's the truth about how I sometimes handle trails that make my legs shake and my stomach flip - I "hike" them on my butt:

Or sometimes I turn around and climb down backwards.  Whatever gets the job done, I guess.

Once again I survived and made it back down to the part of the trail that was more manageable for me.  And, since I'm writing this blog post, obviously I made it to the bottom and back to my car.

All in all, a good day.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Arethusa Falls April 17

Still in a hiking mood after the hikes up Pleasant Mt and Boulder Loop, on April 17 I decided to head to Arethusa Falls near Crawford Notch in NH.  This is a "short" hike of about 1.5 miles to the falls. But don't be fooled by "short" hikes.  This trail may be considered an "easy" hike by those who would define themselves as "real" hikers, but don't think you're going to be jogging in and out before breakfast!  Unless you are a frequent and in-shape hiker, you are going to have to put in some effort if you want to see the falls.

I've hiked this trail a couple of times in the past and it is worth doing.  For something a little different this time I decided to hike the Bemis Brook Trail which splits off from the main trail for about 1/2 mile to follow right along the side of the brook. Although there are a lot of roots to work around, it is a nice trail and it brings you past two small waterfalls.

Bemis Falls

and Coliseum Falls

Shortly after Coliseum Falls, the Bemis Brook Trail rejoins Arethusa Falls Trail.  However, you should beware.  I use the word "rejoins" loosely.  If you want to rejoin Arethusa Falls Trail without retracing your steps, then the only way forward is up a very steep riverbank.  And I do mean steep.

It's hard to tell from pictures, but I would say that it was 100 to 125 ft of scrambling straight up rocks and roots while using the roots as a ladder in a lot of spots.  Very careful attention to footing is required in this area.  However I do appear to be surviving.

So on my way I went.

The trail varies from that point with a mixture of rocks, roots and brook crossings.  Fortunately on this trail the brooks are crossed on bridges, not hopping over stones as with some trails.  When the dog hikes with me he seems to think it's fine to cross straight through the brooks, but whenever I can I use bridges.

There are also a couple of spots where you can still see some damage from Hurricane Irene.

Once you arrive at Arethusa Falls, you will no doubt feel that the effort to get there was well worth it.  The exact height of this waterfall is debated, but whatever the exact height may be, it is spectacular just the same.

As in the past, this once again proved to be a lovely hike.  I highly recommend it.

Boulder Loop Trail April 15

The man on the top of the mountain did not fall there. ~ Chinese Proverb

On April 15 we decided to hike Boulder Loop trail in Conway NH.  I've hiked this loop before and I don't remember which direction I went, but this time I hiked it in a clockwise direction.  I thought it proved to be a good choice.  This is a nice trail which takes you past some interesting "boulders" on the way up.

Hiking in this direction the first set of ledges we came to gave us nice views of the Swift River and the highway below as well as some of the surrounding mountains.

Continuing up the trail becomes steeper as you approach the highest ledge.  Once you arrive you are rewarded with fabulous views. 

Continuing in a clockwise direction the first part of the descent after the ledge is rather steep and rocky for a bit.  Then the trail continues down on a nice sloping descent and eventually returns you to your starting point.  While this is considered a "short" loop at only 3 miles long, it is one that, in my opinion, offers a nice reward from the top.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pleasant Mountain April 14

The man on the top of the mountain did not fall there. ~ Chinese Proverb

After my first hike up Pleasant Mt via the Fire Warden's Trail, the following Saturday I decided to try the it again, this time on the Southwest Ridge Trail.  This proved to be an absolutely lovely trail.  After an initial short walk through woods, this trail follows a ridge which allows for a lot of great views while hiking.  Additionally, since there were no leaves out yet the views were beautiful for almost the entire hike along the ridge.

About half way up the Mountain the trail changed to an incredibly interesting environment of stone, boulders and rock face that was not only beautiful but also created the image in my mind of wandering through the the ruins of some ancient city.

After 1.7 miles of hiking we arrived at the Southwest Summit.

Once again, the views were beautiful.

From there we hiked an additional 1 mile across to the actual summit of Pleasant Mt.  This part of the hike was an unpleasant and unrewarding trail that was narrow and not easily hiked.  In order to reach the summit, you descend a few hundred feet and then ascend a few hundred feet in order to gain a final total of only 106 ft of elevation from your starting point a mile before.  The final part of this trail involved scrambling up (and then back down later) a rock face.

The Southwest Ridge Trail is a beautiful trail that I will hike again.  However next time I will stop at the Southwest Summit and not bother with the mile of trail that goes over to the actual summit.

The Southwest Ridge Trail is more strenuous than the Fire Warden's Trail but well worth the hike if you are up to it.  It is a very aesthetically pleasing hike.