Kearsarge North – 11/23/19

Hi folks!

It’s been a month since I’ve blogged. Things… aka life, has been a smidge nuts. My brain is finally processing the fact that I’m done college (yippee!), my childhood home is sold, I’ve moved to the North, changed jobs (because of moving), and launched a business. There’ve been about a half-dozen other things too, but those are the big plot twists. During all of this happening between May and October, I was on a auto-pilot level I’ve never experienced before. My brain and body were going through all the motions seamlessly like a well oiled engine.

Great, right? Eh, during the hecticness, yes. At this point? Not so much. I’ve been in a mega funk the past two weeks and the whole November weather situation has not been helping. It’s so gray and cold and rainy here. Snow and cold – ok cool. Rain and cold – NO. If I were to try and explain how I feel as of late, it would probably go something like this: “emotionally and mentally heavy, physically drained, my stimulation threshold is about max, and I both want to do all of the things but also nothing at all simultaneously”. SOLID. I kind of feel like my brain is hibernating.

What did help… hiking Saturday. It’s been about three weeks since I’ve hiked and let me tell you all, I needed it more than I even recognized. Sure I’ve been getting outside for some local walks and even walks down my road (rural New Hampshire dirt road living perks), but there is something magical about the mountains. Magical and healing.

From the summit of Kearsarge North, looking at the Presidential Range

Since I began “seriously” hiking in 2016, the mountains and nature as a whole have helped me tremendously. Both from a mental health perspective and also just in listening to my gut and intuition as I proceed forward in life. Hiking is a process, just like life. It’s demanding, it requires focus and drive, it provides a space for processing and connecting both to nature and other hikers. Over the past few years, I would say hiking has taught me many life lessons and been the greatest asset in navigating life changes that I could possibly ask for.

I find the mountains provide me either with quiet time to process whatever I need to process or time to focus on the present moment and only that. Saturday’s hike was both – processing and intense present moment focus. I needed both.

In my natural habitat

Kearsarge North is a hike on the 52 with a view list, and while I’m no longer seriously pursuing hiking lists, I am seriously pursuing stellar hikes with great trails and views. I had hiked this mountain back in September so I knew it would be a good choice for Jared and myself Saturday.

Conditions? A mixed bag of October meets January or, as we called it, “Octobuary”… New Hampshire’s mountains newest month. Leaves at the base, some ice and frozen mud about a half mile to mile in, and then progressively more snow and ice (and ice and ice) nearing the summit. Microspikes were rather handy on this frolic.

Snow and ice and rock slabs
Nearing the summit

I foresee many many trips up Kearsarge in my future as it’s one of the more local mountains for me now. More local, because #mountainlife and the view from my window is Mt. Chocorua with a side view of George aka Mt. Washington. Grateful, grateful, grateful.

Something I noticed this time was a log book which hangs out in the summit tower. I had not seen this my previous trip up Kearsarge and was happy to add my own two cents. Jared added his thoughts too!

My favorite part of this hike is the section of trail through the woods just before the summit. I also enjoyed being in microspikes again and the crunching of snow and ice as I walked – it’s practically walking meditation. Second fave, the fire tower and its offering of views. I’m finding myself increasingly drawn to the trail, trees, scent of pine than the summit itself. Something about the process.

Tower views

This hike particularly reminded me of how blessed I am to live here, be able to hike these mountains (and stare at them from my window), have amazing hiking buddies who are really all full on friends at this point, and for the lessons nature has taught me and continues to teach me.

“I tried to discover, in the rumor of forests and waves, words that other men could not hear, and I pricked up my ears to listen to the revelation of their harmony.” ― Gustave Flaubert 

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