Hi buttercups 🙂
Should we even be surprised that I went hiking on Friday? No, no we should not. We should however be surprised that I decided to hike 12 miles and 5000 ft elevation gain with a pretty much complete stranger. Not my typical M.O but I’m so glad I challenged myself!
There’s a NH women’s hiking group Facebook and a couple months ago someone had posted about hiking Isolation the first weekend of July. Given that Isolation is one of my absolute fave hikes, and I have an ongoing goal for myself to meet new hiking friends this summer – I commented that I was game.
So, Friday, I hiked Isolation via Glen Boulder with this human named Dawna from the FB group and I’m happy to report that she’s pretty much the 24 year older version of me.
This is a tough hike – Isolation out and back via the Glen Boulder Trail. We started just before 10am from the Glen Ellis Falls parking lot up Glen Boulder Trail and finished just after 6pm. A little over 8 hours of hiking – aka my fave kind of summer day. While this trail most certainly doesn’t give you much of a warm up period before bringing your heart-rate right on up there, it does pop you above treeline at about 1.3 miles and offers spectacular views early on.
This section of the trail, when you pop out above treeline to Glen Boulder (which is at the 1.6 mile mark) until Slide Peak about another mile away goes from scrambling up rocks to walking through small trees and brush. One thing that I love about this trail which Dawna mentioned too is the diversity of terrain – which is something that is consistent for the whole hike to Isolation. You really see it all – rock scrambles, below treeline, above treeline, smaller trees, and mystical dense woodsy sections.
This was Dawna’s first hike to Isolation and my fourth trip. Round four was enjoyed just as much as one, two, and three. And, I had my period which seemed appropriate seeing it’s one of the harder NH 48 hikes along with Bonds and Owl’s Head which I also had my period during. Facepalm.
If I had to pick one section of trail throughout the entire hike which is my favorite I would say all the scrambling around Glen Boulder! I just love that type of trail. But, a close second is once Glen Boulder Trail hits the junction with Davis Path to head down (yes, down) towards Isolation. Davis Path is gorgeous and brings you the remainder of the way to Isolation, first you go down and then you go back up to actually summit the mountain! This little detail right here is why this route to Mt. Isolation is so difficult – you hike up to Glen Boulder then Slide Peak (4806 ft) to then intersect with Davis Path which you hike down to then climb back up to the summit of Isolation (4003 ft). Which what you do to get to the summit… you must to do get back to the car. So all told it’s quite literally up, down, up, down, up, down. Weeeeee.
For the most part we didn’t take long breaks because as I phrased it, Friday was a “bugtastic” day. Hands down I’ve never seen the black flies/skeeters/horseflies so bad in the mountains. It is what it is and I’m just happy to be able to enjoy these mountains bugs or not. But, my 35+ bug bites are quite itchy!!!! All the bugs made for a day of rocking bug nets which also means we looked super stylish. I mean hello, totally on trend.
All in all the hike was wonderful, as they always are. Even tough, rough, buggy, muddy, sweaty hikes are still welcomed with open arms. It’s about being outdoors, spending time doing something that I love and feel good doing, connecting more with myself at the deep core level, and enjoying what this lovely state of New Hampshire has to offer!
My favorite part of the day? Jumping into the Ellis River across the road from the trailhead after the hike. Cold river = ice bath, right? Right.
I’m really glad I put on my big girl pants and stuck to my goal of meeting new hiking friends because by about mile 2 of the hike Dawna and I decided we needed to legit make a list of all the things we have in common. Which by the end of the day we weren’t even surprised anymore when the other person was like “oh me too”. Twins separated a few years for sure.
The list of commonalities: Subaru Impreza’s, we had the same bracelets on, both of us dig beets and brussel sprouts (not many people like both of these!), outgoing introverts, french press coffee lovers, listening to birds on hikes, our salad creations are close to identical, we both know how to play and like cribbage (fun fact: I did cribbage club in middle school), we both ran the Vermont Spartan Beast… the SAME year, and we both have tramp stamps that are far from “traditional?” tramp stamps aka location picked so it’s not really seen.
In my last post about my solo hike of Mt. Osceola, I wrote about how I’ve been in a hermit/growth phase as of late. 2019 for me is a year of many many changes which isn’t always my strong suit to manage and keep taking care of myself. Adding onto this I’ve been working on processing some deeeeeeeep stuff lately and a hefty amount of mental energy has been placed on this. Knowing this, I’m focusing a lot on personal development/growth, self-care, connecting when it feels right and hermiting when I need to be a full-blown introvert. This time period is all about creating the next chapter of life and making the most out of enjoying the process versus trying to control every little detail (real talk, not possible).
If there is one thing I have definitely learned in my 26 years it’s that I can’t keep pushing and pushing as a means to control things. I mean, technically I can but that doesn’t ever end well. Growth and change require listening to our intuition and gut feels. Listening and accepting. Calling on our skills and toolkits from past experiences, cultivating any new skills we may need, and focusing on trying to do what feels right deep down in our soul not ego.
For now I’m going to keep pushing myself to grow as a human, explore new things, go naturally with the ebb and flow of life, and keep on keeping on doing the best I can to tell my ego to shove it and give my intuition a high five.
“Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have.” ― Robert Holden