Happy Sunday! It’s another HOT one today, and I’m currently grateful for my AC going as I write this post! I actually hiked yesterday, too, but I’ll write this recap from earlier in the week first 🙂
Tuesday was another stellar frolic in the woods with yet another new hiking friend! I’ve been talking via the interwebs with Alyssa for about a year now and we finally managed to hike together. Initially I had planned a solo hike and was between a handful of different hikes (Franconia loop, Jefferson, Moosilauke, Monroe) knowing that I needed to be back home by 5:30pm as I had a client at 6pm and knew those were all safe hikes time wise.
Monday night I thought of Alyssa because I knew she has Tuesday’s off, so sent a message her direction. She was also planning a solo and like myself had a few ideas in mind. The similar one between us was Franconia. So, we decided to touch base in the AM and see if us finally hiking together was in the cards for the day.
When I got up Tuesday, I was still planning in my mind to be solo for the day. I packed up all my stuff for hiking, and made sure to bring along a change of clothes, baby-wipes, and deodorant (the ‘kit’ for when I have to work after just in-case I can’t get home between to shower!). 10/10 recommend doing this. Baby-wipes and deodorant can be a makeshift shower in a pinch.
Just before leaving my house I sent Alyssa a message saying I was leaving and when I’d be to Franconia and that my game plan was the ridge if there was parking when I got there. She was also in for this plan and even potentially adding Liberty, so we met at the Liberty Springs Trailhead where we left her car and I picked her up to continue towards Franconia.
Guess what? There was parking. I mean yes it was a Tuesday, but we also got there around 10am which is super dicey in the summer for this hike.
Giddy to get to hike the mountains I was crossing my fingers for and meet another hiker my age, Alyssa and I set off up Old Bridle Path.
I haven’t hiked the classic loop in two years! Last summer was a trip up Lafayette only via the Skookumchuck Trail and a traverse from Lafayette via Old Bridle Path to Mt. Liberty which then I took Liberty Springs down to a car spot (although you could probably fairly easily hitch from here or walk the recreation path if absolutely need be). I think the Skookumchuck Trail is my favorite, primarily due to the remoteness of it compared to other approaches. I’m low key planning a traverse of Lafayette to North Twin by taking the Skookumchuck up and heading out North Twin or retracing steps to Galehead and taking Gale River Trail out. For those of you reading this blog that are not hikers or White Mountain NH hikers, you’re currently like “what is she talking about”. Sorry not sorry 😉
Hands down the loop is one of if not the most popular (looking at you Mt. Washington) 4000 footer hike in NH. So many humans. One side of me loves that so many people are taking in what the outdoors has to offer, but then the other side of me cringes when I see people hiking without adequate gear especially above treeline (e.g no backpack, tennis shoes, jeans, no headlamp/light source, etc.).
Happy, opting outside, AND safe humans is the best.
Next time I hike this loop I might swap things up and hike it counterclockwise, so summit Little Haystack first and then head to Lincoln and Lafayette. Neither Alyssa or I were super in love with descending Falling Waters Trail from Little Haystack on Tuesday, but I also half blame how hot it was that day (says the girl who hiked in the 90’s yesterday…). We ended up hiking the entire loop together instead of Alyssa adding Liberty, which I was happy to have continued company and conversation on the descent.
It was great to meet another hiker my own age that I seem to get along well with. Heck, we’ve already nicknamed ourselves the “Casper’s” because we are both Casper the ghost status on paleness and therefore the need for all of the sunscreen.
I think we all have our days where we physically feel “on” and ready to go, and then days where it’s just a struggle-fest. This is one of the great lessons of listening to your body that hiking and the mountains are great teachers of. No two hikes will feel the exact same, and this is just part of the experience. I try to just take each hike for what it is, find enjoyment in whatever I possibly can, and listen to the signals from my body.
“The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment.” Pema Chodron