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.

No comments:

Post a Comment