December intentions

Hey buttercups!

I hope you’re all having a stellar week! To my fellow college students in the midst or heading into finals – BREATHE… it’ll be ok, the world won’t end.

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Mellow morning writing

Recently I jotted down a set of December intentions for myself, and today I’m choosing to share them with the blog world in hopes of inspiring others to set intentions for their life.

1. Take up space

I’ve linked a post for this intention which I think sums it up nicely.

2. Broaden my outdoor activity repertoire

I’d like to try XC skiing, snowshoe running, and downhill skiing (as a snowboarder this should be rather interesting!).

3. Write more simple posts

Posts like “take up space“. Just my thoughts. Flowing words. Not paragraphs per say. Just me writing.

4. Create mental space daily

Setting aside a few minutes each day to just sit and breathe and see where my mind wants to wander. Other tools for creating more mental space could be yoga, meditation apps, going for a walk in the woods near my house.

5. Practice enthusiasm

I feel much better when I’m enthusiastic in general about most everything that comprises my daily existence. I lose this a little bit in the winter months because it’s cold and dark, but now is when I need it most. So, I’m putting the intention out there into space to focus my energy on being enthusiastic throughout my days.

“Just simple days. Simple days of laughing lots and breathing deep and loving with my whole heart and feeling that love back. That’s all I’m really looking for now.” – S.C. Lourie

XO, S

Mt. Flume – 12/9/18

Happy Monday friends!

I hope you all had a great weekend – whether it was spent inside, outside, in Narnia, or somewhere else. Saturday was a day of rest and naps for me as my hip has been giving me some extra reminders lately that I’m not actually Wonder Woman. This is something I don’t talk about much on my blog (no, not that I’m not Wonder Woman… because I obviously am) – my hip.

For any longer-term readers out there of those of you who know me in real life, you might know that I have hip dysplasia. For the most part it’s managed – I know my “off limits” list, what things help/hurt, and that’s that. Other times, like this past week, it just flares up and I’m in a ton of pain with no apparent trigger cause. Finding the culprit during these “flares” would be like searching for a needle in a haystack… so rather than trying to figure out exactly what’s up, I just do what I can to get it happy again. AKA lots of foam rolling, witch magic, and REST. After a week of relatively low-key, not much improvement, and the “ok” from my PT to try a hike, Lawn and I decided to frolick in the mountains yesterday.

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“Downlook” along Osseo Trail, NH

Y’all, my bod is weird. I’m glad I’m semi-used to it’s weirdness (quirkiness?!). Hiking uphill was a bit of a challenge and thankfully the hike we picked, while 11.2 miles, had about 6 miles total of either pancake flat or close to that. Flats either were totally fine or some mild discomfort. Downhills I had zero pain. Oh, and wait for it, running uphill didn’t hurt. Butt sledding was questionable at best.

After 25 years I’m learning to fairly smoothly navigate 1. when I need to call it and take some ample rest, 2. when I can do certain activities but not others, 3. when I can push through discomfort, 4. the difference between higher discomfort/pain levels and an actual injury.

I think my body’s check engine light is on 100% of the time…

Like a dysfunctional car that has it’s check engine light on 100% of the time, I have to distinguish when it’s on just because it’s confused and when it’s on because it’s really on.

I felt better this morning than following my full day of rest and two naps Saturday. Now night time, I can say everything has stiffened back up and is just as pissed as Saturday. Yesterday while hiking, following hiking, and even this morning, was the best it’s felt all week. I’m not saying the rest time was useless, rather likely extremely useful to allow some mellow-time for my bod to calm it. One thing I’ve been finding true for a while now is sometimes movement is key. Hiking works for my body. Out of every single activity I partake in, hiking consistently feels most stable and supportive. SO, that’s what happened yesterday!

A future post on my experience with hip dysplasia, ect. can be expected, but for the sake of keeping this post from turning out to be a novel let’s discuss the hike!

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Junction of Lincoln Woods Trail and Osseo Trail, NH

Mt. Flume via Osseo Trail, Lincoln, NH; 11.2 miles round-trip

Our hike began with more layers than any hike as of late. A non-winter winter hike that didn’t only look like mid-winter but also felt like it. Just shy of 20 degrees at the car and about -5 to -10 degrees at the summit (per Mountain Forecast website). Not super cold compared to previous winter hikes, but more so than the other snowy hikes I (we) have done this fall.

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Summit selfies (yes, I’m rocking 2 hats)

Let’s go Winter!

The hike starts off from the Lincoln Woods trailhead off the Kancamagus Highway, running along the Pemigewasset River. At 1.4 miles there is a junction, which we continued along the Osseo Trail at this point.

I did enough reading up on this approach for Mt. Flume to know that my hip should be okay, but was pleasantly surprised of how mellow the beginning of the Osseo Trail is. Where Lincoln Woods is an actual pancake, Osseo is a gentle rolling climb to start. Typically a fan of VERY steep hikes, this one was gladly welcomed with open arms yesterday!

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A mellow walk in the woods!

The just over 4 miles (one way) of the Osseo trail was a good mix of mellow walk in the woods, moderate climb, and steep. Throughout the trail, the steepest section is where the ladders are. While I know there are many ladders based on trail research and pictures from other hikers, yesterday we saw a total of 4 or 5 steps. It’s all snow covered.

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Starting up a steeper section

Lawn and I both enjoyed the section prior to reaching the summit. With increased elevation comes increased amounts of snow. It was also lightly snowing all throughout the hike and fairly consistent at this point making it feel as if we were in a snow globe.

After passing by the junction of Flume Slide Trail and Osseo Trail, we had a quick 0.1 climb to the summit where we were welcomed with great views…. Ok, sarcasm. Although it was still rather magical and a great experience to be up above treeline for a short bit.

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Looking at a “hill” prior to the summit

Our hike down was full of butt sledding, walking, random bursts of jogging, and many video takes (update: I’m working on starting a YouTube channel – Rah Adventures!).

Overall, I really liked this hike and the Osseo Trail. I’ve only ever hiked Mt. Flume as an out and back via Mt. Liberty and the Liberty Spring Trail, so I enjoyed the change up. This particular hike was chosen as it is the only peak Lawn and I both needed for round 2 of the NH 4000 footer list. We briefly considered a shorter hike given the current status of my body, but most shorter hikes are steeper and I had a gut feeling that longer and mellower > shorter and steeper. Verdict of going with gut feels? correct, A+, gold star, pass go and collect.

This hike, just like each trip to the mountains (hiking, snowboarding, running, ect.) reminded me of WHY I hike. I don’t hike to “workout”. I don’t go the mountains because it’s “peaceful” (although, it totally and completely is). I hike because it helps me process, reminds me of how far I’ve come with my mental/physical health and ability to take care of myself, and the movement itself feels like such a natural part of my existence. The mountains, being in them, it’s going home for my soul.

“I am constantly trying to communicate something incommunicable, to explain something inexplicable, to tell about something I only feel in my bones and which can only be experienced in those bones…” ― Franz Kafka

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Take up space

Hey folks!

This post is different from my normal ones. It’s not organized, or a story, or a hike recap. Simply, this post is my thoughts. A topic that has been on my mind lately, and one I’ve been attributing much mental energy to, is space. Specifically, our human space and existence.  I’m using this post as a sounding board if you will.

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Take up space.

Own your space.

Embrace your space.

Stop making yourself small.

Stop hiding.

Stop minimizing your worth, your being, your existence.

You’re existence has a purpose.

Honor that. Honor the universe.

The dust and particles which comprise your being.

They have purpose. You were created by the universe.

Take up the space the world handed you.

Grow and cultivate your being in this space.

You have permission.

Be yourself.

Be real.

Be raw.

Embrace all of your fears, insecurities, internal and external ‘flaws’.

Own your dreams, goals, aspirations.

Manifest the absolute shit out of them.

Own your space.

Own your raw human power.

Be a force.

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Mt. Jackson 11/28/18

Hey friends!

Are you surprised to see I went hiking yesterday? No? Ok, good because I’m not.

Lawn and I decided to embark on an interesting adventure of trail-breaking 6-24″ of fresh powdery snow up (and down) Mt. Jackson! The White Mountains are surely living up to their name as of late, with the snow just seeming to keep on falling and piling up the accumulation total. It’s not even technically Winter yet, and this is the most “wintery” hike I’ve done to date. The sheer amount of snow we witnessed yesterday was mind-boggling and a total blast all wrapped in one.

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Meanwhile, down here on the Seacoast I’m looking forward to a 40 degree Sunny day tomorrow and taking my bike our for an hour or more! There is snow here too, but maybe a 20th of what currently exists up North.

I’m honestly rather stoked about all of the snow because it means snowboarding season is here and I’m super looking forward to riding next week! As a previous “winter hater”, I must say, I’m already digging this one and I still have three weeks until the season even begins!

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Hey Lawn!

Hike details: Mt. Jackson, NH. 5.2 miles and 2,150 ft. elevation gain via the Webster-Jackson Trail.

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When you can’t even read the sign you know you’re in for a fun day

The book-time for this hike runs around 3:40, a time I’ve substantially “beat” each time I’ve previously hiked this peak. Yesterday was different, quite different. I think there should be a snowshoe through 2 feet of fresh snow book time. I kid, I kid. Kind of. As Lawn put it, the two of us likely set a record for “slowest known time”. And you know what, it was the most interesting/exciting winter hike to date.

It was a full snowshoe day, alike the hike of Mt. Cabot last Saturday. The only difference is last week there was maybe an inch or two of powdery snow on the trail at times and the snowshoes were primarily for traction/not post-holing whereas this hike they were essential for walking in general.

I really am finding myself enjoying snowshoeing and am even looking at running a snowshoe race this Winter! Hiker Dad recently bought some running snowshoes and I’m excited to give them a whirl. Don’t you all worry, I’ll recap this and report back on how many times I fall over 😉

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We initially expected to reach the summit by 1:30pm, but soon realized this was just not happening. With increasing elevation came increasing amounts of snow to pack down. It honestly amazes me how much snow there currently is in the mountains. I’m not sure I saw this much last winter ever… never-mind before it was December. The first mile and change was fairly consistent pace wise.

Following a junction where it splits for Mt. Jackson summit or Mt. Webster summit is when we began to find increased snow amounts and a more inconsistent pace. Trail breaking is HARD work, and this is especially true when it’s two 105ish lb humans doing the work, one of which who is 5’0″! While only a 5.2 mile hike it felt more like 10 by the end of the day. After the junction we knew we weren’t hitting our 1:30 guesstimate as it was fast approaching this time with 1.4 miles to go. We loosely picked a turn-around time of 2:00pm as we both had headlamps with us and knew the last 3/4 mile or so on the way down was relatively flat.

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THAT is the trail, before we tramped our way through the masses of snow

2:00 hit and we found ourselves with approximately a half mile remaining. After a few minutes of debating we choose to go until 2:30 and re-evaluate if we hadn’t reached the summit by this point. The amount of time this hike took is very humbling to me. I know I (and Lawn) are good and strong hikers, so it was mildly unexpected but also not. The constant motion of snowshoeing through deep snow isn’t only leg muscle taxing but it gets your heart rate high. I personally found I could easily ignore the leg muscles but just struggled with breathing at a normal rate which then threw me off.

At this point of 2pm onward Lawn was doing the first pass of trail breaking and I was trekking behind while working to step on the tail of her snowshoe path so that my tail would pack down the powder hers missed so we had a smoother track headed down. Her 7ish inches of height on me seemed to be useful?!

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2:30pm views

Right around 2:30 we hit a section very close to the summit and found 20-24″ of snow and proceeded to have a grand time trying to get up some rock sections. Pro tip: if you’re 5’0″, send tall friend up first and then have them help you up 😉

At this point we called it good. We were happy to have our “summit” for the day as that last section likely would have taken a considerable amount of time for the short distance that it was. We took some pictures of the stellar views aka snow covered trees and headed down to a spot which was denser with trees where we stopped to add a layer, grab hand-warmers, and drink some water.

Hiking down in the fluffy snow is a true blast. You step, slide a bit, and repeat. Snowshoe skiing if you will. It’s also much much faster than step, lift leg up a foot, repeat.

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Headed back the trailhead

Mental note to self for future reference: it feels lighter than it really is in the woods when it’s so snowy.

All the white counteracts the darker sky as when we finished it seemed much darker than when we were on trail a few minutes prior. We also noted just how quickly it went from dusk to dark – legit under a half hour. While we could have reached the summit and added 30 or so minutes to the hike, I think we were both happy with our decision and also happy to reach the car before it was truly dark outside.

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Coming out of the forest

Overall, I’m beyond happy Lawn and I got outside yesterday and explored this snowy peak. Winter has always been the least comfortable hiking season for me, mainly because of getting cold easily and the fears associated with that. This hike was a good comfort zone tester and pusher – it let me see how I react to modifying turn-around times, deep snow, it getting dark in the Winter and still on trail, ect. As we head into the true Winter hiking season, I’m happy to have this hike under my belt.

“Come. Come with your light. Your shadow. Soft curves and sharp edges.
I will show you the beauty of you, in all that you are.
Come with your steady breath. Your shaky breath. Your messy movements. Your courage to try again. The key to practice is just keep showing up.
Come with your highs. Come with your lows. The mountain you’ve climbed. The mountain you’re carrying. Just as you are.”

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