Monthly Archives: May 2015

Mt. Percival and Mt. Morgan

Logan and I started our Memorial day weekend Thursday with the Rock n’ Race 5k walk/run to support the Payson Center for Cancer Care. I finished in an official 24:47.5 (#321 overall) and Logan walked with the masses. “Walk” is not like a race walk, but more like a meander through the streets. She ended with negative splits, and said next year she would enter the run just to get away from the slowpokes. I don’t blame her!

Saturday, we headed to Mt. Percival and Mt. Morgan, just north of Squam Lake. It’s a 5.1 mile loop with ~1500 vertical feet. We had a nice hike up some red pine woods to Mt. Percival, and picked the cliff route instead of the potential caves. The summit had great views over Squam Lake, Lake Winnipesaukee and all the way to the Belknap range.

Sunday, we played some disc golf at the new Manchester public course, The Hollows. It’s only been open a few weeks, but it was looking real good. We didn’t keep score, but used it as an excuse to go for a walk through the woods.

We are sad the weekend is over, and can’t wait for more adventures!

One More Milestone

Derek and Tom, the PA with the best smile ever.

Derek and Tom the PA who has the best smile ever. May 21, 2014.

One year ago today, Derek left the hospital. He was weak, yellow, about 30 pounds lighter than when he went in, but he was alive. For the first time in many years, he had a fully functioning liver. I left the hospital first so I could go to the grocery store and stock up on food. I had been given strict orders to feed him by all of his doctors and nurses. In the hall I saw one of Derek’s nurses and she grabbed me for a hug. The nurses were so excited that we were finally going home. I started to cry, mostly because I was afraid to be home with Derek, to be the one in charge of making sure he ate, got all his meds, drank enough liquid; I was the one that would need to make the call if things seemed wrong. “How will I do this without all of you,” I whispered. “What if I fail?” She smiled and held my shoulders. “You are ready, you’ve been a good patient and a great caregiver right alongside all of us. He needs to be home to rest, to get better. You’ll know what to do.” She packed up every single thing she could for us–they’d throw it all away when the deep cleaned the room–little cups for his meds, gauze, the pad from the bed, gloves. I left, hoping I had also squirreled away enough tips for how to be a good nurse, how to be firm but gentle, how to handle anything that came my way and still be calm.

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Hedgehog Mtn.

Saturday, we adventured on a 5 year wedding anniversary hike off the Kancamagus Highway. The UNH trail wandered 5 miles round trip, with about a 1400′ vertical climb up Hedgehog Mountain. There were two lookouts in addition to a nice view from the top.  Logan and I found a rock that was as comfortable as a sofa at one of the lookouts.

We had the trail mostly to ourselves. The weather forecast was overcast skies and chance of rain. The rain never materialized, and it was very good hiking weather.

The night before we went to the Pinball Wizard arcade, because pinball is for lovers. (We also went to Funspot after the hike, because you can never play too much pinball.)


Hiking Lafayette, Lincoln, and Little Haystack

On Friday, I headed north to hike. I picked the Franconia Ridge Trail Loop, right across from Cannon Mountain. It’s a very popular hike and some say it has the best views, but is strenuous: Old Bridle Path to the peak of Mt. Lafayette (5260′) and then across the ridge to Mt. Lincoln (5089′) and Little Haystack (4780′) and finally down Falling Waters Trail, is 8.9 miles and 4000 vertical feet!

Friday was a great weather day: mid 70s and clear skies. I brought along my microspikes, as some reports mentioned the upper elevation trails still had areas of snow and the reports weren’t wrong – I hiked about 3 of the miles with the microspikes on, and post holed a couple times ending up knee deep in snow. On the way down, there was even more snow on the trail, and a bunch of people hiking up were in tennis shoes and definitely not prepared for the snow.

I had the trail mostly to myself: I passed three large groups on the hike up, and 2 others hiking alone.  One person passed me near the summmit, and once we reached the peak of Lafayette, two more people joined us for a brief respite. I took a quick stop to drink some water and eat and immediately started distancing myself from the others by hiking across the ridge. No offense to my summit-mates, but I wanted to head across to the other peaks and enjoy the hike alone. At Lincoln peak, I was alone without anyone in sight. Soon thereafter, I was joined by a soaring bird, who flew overhead and flapped his wings a few times. I heard the “whoosh whoosh” of his wings against the air, and was reminded why hiking alone is enjoyable: nature.

After the third peak, Little Haystack, and hiking down about 2 miles of deep snow, I finally could understand why the trail was so aptly named Failling Waters: turn after turn of running water, waterfalls, and water crossings. The water was high and required some creative crossing techniques. One crossing required balance on a fallen log to cross, and another was a long jump to stay dry.

After 8.9 miles and 4000′, I was definitely happy to be back at the parking lot. My boots were less waterproof than I originally thought – my socks were soaked from slogging through the snow (mostly on the way down). I took a minor detour on the drive home to stop over at the Old Man of the Mountain memorial: during my recovery, I had purchased a brick with the words “Live Life Give Life”, and wanted to see it.  After a few minutes, I was able to spot it and get a picture.