Summer time!

It’s been months, I know. So busy. But, it’s finally summer! And boy am I taking advantage of it.

The weather finally turned into warm sunny days and I’ve been able to take out my paddleboard a few times. It was a bit frustrating to have to wait for Tom before I could go because he has the roof rack on his Jeep and there is absolutely no way at 4’11” I can lift my board up onto the rack, even with a step ladder. So, as an early birthday present, he got me a rack for my car and yesterday I assembled it, put it on, and loaded on my board. I grabbed Emily and we went for a paddle at Hopkinton State Park (her first time – she loved it!)

This past week we spend July 4th in the White Mountains. A scenic drive with stops at the rivers and dips into the waterfall at Silver Cascade kicked things off. A hike up to Lonesome Lake and back was day two. While we were going to swim in the lake, leaches were visible and the lake was no longer inviting. But, Cascade Brook was and we put our feet in, sat in the natural spas, and overall enjoyed the cold water after a hot and humid hike. Day three we hiked up Liberty trail, which felt like 4600 feet of stairs, only to be socked in. But, coming back down and then handing out at a fire in the evening was perfect. Day 4, Tom went up to Artist’s Bluff in Franconia Notch while I hit the bike trail and ran down to The Basin where Tom picked me up. Why I thought running 5 miles after two days of hiking is beyond me, but it was awesome, especially when I was able to put my feet and stiff calves into the cold mountain water when done.

 

Tom and I are running together every other morning on the bike trail. I made a personal best of avg. 8:56 min/mile on a 5k. That beat Tom by 1 second that day. Since then I’ve taken a more leisurely pace while Tom pushes past 8:30. No races planned, but a friend of mine is doing couch to 5k training now and I just might convince her to do a race with me in the fall.

I did gain 3 pounds since March. A bit annoying but totally my fault. I’m still very active but I let eating out get the best of me for a while. I also was incredibly sick with the flu in the spring and stupidly tried to run a few times which made things worse. And, then there was a week where I barely did any exercise. So, for about 3 weeks I was a mess. I did lose  a pound just by going back to my routine. The harder part is that I actually like how I look now compared to being at a slightly lower weight. My knees don’t look like elephant knees anymore. And my stomach is a bit smoother rather than saggy. The only thing I’m not sure of is if less sag is the 3 pounds or because I’m more muscular under my saggy skin. My tummy is also getting a workout from paddling and SUP yoga. I was sore the first few times out. All in all, clothes still fit nicely and haven’t gotten tight at all. Still working off the 3 pounds, but not going to obsess.

It’s our last weekend before our anniversary trip to Europe. Can’t wait for the hikes in the Alps, spas of Budapest, beer gardens, ruin bars, and historic sites. I’m already looking forward to adding more runs to my international collection. I’ll post while galivanting so you can come along.

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25 Years Later We Conquer Mt Lafayette Again

In 1994, only 9 months into our relationship, Tom and I booked a romantic weekend at a quaint B&B in Franconia, NH. The goal, hike up Falling Waters trail, cross three peaks with the Franconia Ridge Trail (Haystack, Lincoln, Lafayette) and come down Bridle Path. This 9ish hike brings you up to 5200 ft with amazing view through Franconia Notch, back across the Presidentials and west toward Vermont. On a clear day…which isn’t a guarantee.

That was when we were 25 and were pretty outdoorsy. Skiing, hiking, rollerblading and mountain biking were our typical dates. I was barely 95 pounds and thought I was in pretty  good shape. Still, that hike kicked our butts. We had to take breaks on the way up and I cheered/grumbled when we hit “natural stairs” – those blocks of granite some amazing soul helped to stack together and create the stairway to the top. On the way down, Tom’s Achilles was killing him as we stepped down the rocky path. At the bottom our legs ached, my hips were sore, and we were spent. All told, I think we took about 8 hours.

1994 Hike

Fast forward to this 23 years 2 months to this weekend. At 48, Tom and I are no spring chickens. We’d been pouring over pictures from our Franconia hike for years wistfully thinking we would like to do it again. There is a picture of us sitting in front of the sign at the Greenleaf Hut that is framed and always sits out on our bookcase as a constant reminder and medal for our accomplishment. Well, we had made reservations for the Columbus Day weekend in Franconia and low and behold, Saturday was the day to do the hike again.

1994 Greenleaf Hut

I was worried. We were old – okay older. I’d only just become my skinny self, but certainly wasn’t as little as I was back then. I run, but I didn’t’ think I was anything near in shape compared to back then. Yet, Tom and I knew that we wanted to do it, and do it we would. Even Matthew, our 14 year old son, was excited to join in.

Falling Waters was as I remembered it. Beautiful waterfalls, gorgeous forest, and a brutal number of “natural stairs” before you got to the tree line. I was the turtle. I slowly and methodically put on foot in front of me and didn’t look back. Crossing a couple of water points left me almost falling in and even loosing my water bottle, which I was able to retrieve. After the first hour, Tom was starting to give me the, “we need to get moving faster” talk. He was worried we wouldn’t get to the top and down fast enough before the sun came down. I shot him the icy stair and kept to my pace. Matt was gleefully bounding up the trail like a true trail runner – show off!

Getting past the tree line and Haystack was in view. The easy crawl hike up to the summit was where I got my mojo back. I knew that after this, the hiking part was going to be easy. The only issue is that at the top, we now hit cold temperatures, fog, and same insane wind. I put on my shell, hat and gloves on and quickly adjusted. We went over to the trail sign and took our picture for history.

2017 Hike

Moving across the Franconia Ridge Trail was an easier hike but the wind was whipping. Tom stopped a few times for some spectacular views. The foliage was amazing and sweeping vistas took my breath away – along with the wind. I was trying my best to keep my footing as gusts up to 40 mph tried to push me off the ridge. When we got to Lafayette, the weather was so challenging that Tom suggested we keeping moving rather than take a historical picture. I was all for that and Matt was too. While there wasn’t any rain, the fog was wet enough and the wind just pushed the dampness right into us. My hair was wet, my gloves were wet, my hat and jacket were dripping.

If we thought it was bad on Lafayette, going down and across to the Greenleaf Hut was worse. I could barely keep my footing and balance due to the wind. The trail had been moved to conserve the ridge but this created challenges to know where the trail was. We weren’t the only ones having difficulty. Normally cheerful when passing, all us hikers were heads down and focused on moving through. There was little more than a head nod for a greeting and often we all were just focused on pushing forward.

Getting back into the tree line was so much better. While the wind was still whipping, the trees kept us sheltered and our hike became much more enjoyable again. The trail itself was also easier and we made our way quickly to the Greenleaf Hut for lunch. At the hut we squeezed into a table and pulled out our lunches. We’d started at 7:45a and it was now 12:00p. We were starving. Out came the cheese, sausage, tuna fish sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, apple sauce, and nuts. Never did a meal taste so good!

Half an hour later we packed up and headed to the Greenleaf Hut sign for our historical picture. It was still cold and damp, not too unlike what it was like 23 years earlier, but being able to document that we did it again was amazing.

2017 greenleaf hut

The hike down Bridle Path was easy. We stepped down the rocks quickly. On the sections that were less rocky we all jogged our way down the trail – Matt in the lead, then me, and then Tom taking up the rear. The way down was exhilarating. With only 2.9 miles left, we realized how far we came and how good we felt. Stopping a few times as the weather was clearing, we took in some views from the bluffs over looking the notch and even chatted with a few hikers coming up to the hut.

About 1.5 miles left in the hike the rain came. Under the trees we didn’t feel it much, but it was definitely coming down. At this point the trail was much more even and a slight slope. We picked up the pace and mostly jogged our way out. Reaching the parking lot, our hiker’s high was turned up, smiles on our faces, and congratulatory high fives were in order.

Time – 6 1/2 hours. Not too shabby for a couple of old people!

No real aches and pains compared to the last hike. Although we did take an ibuprofen at lunch as insurance and popped another in the evening and the next morning. But, Tom and I did go out for a hike and even climbed up Artists Bluff for the views the next day. Back today, the most I can complain about is tightness in my calves and the usual hip aches when I do a long run. All in all, not a big deal.

As for the really good part? For two days I didn’t not really think much about my diet. Wine, cheese and crackers were pulled out when we got to the RV. Dinner after the hike was hot Italian chicken sausage with Arrbiatta (sp?) sauce and pasta, a bottle of wind, and a hunk of dark chocolate. The next day was chilly cheese fries, buffalo chicken tenders and a bacon swish burger. Oh yeah, and the really big beer at Oktoberfest at Loon Mountain. Gluttony? Oh yeah. Did it matter, NO!

Got on the scale today, I’d lost a pound. 🙂