Can we just talk for a hot second about how it totally doesn’t feel like the end of December/Christmas… like at all. And 2020 is next week, what even is happening.
Mental note to actually sit down and type up my intentions for January, they currently live in my journal. I also added to my “fucket list” recently, I’ll share that too. Bucket lists are great and all, I have one, but the fucket list (things which you unsubscribe from/no longer serve you/aren’t positive for you) is where the magic is at.
So, the Tripyramids:
I had a love/hate relationship with these peaks until this hike. Fairly certain I’ll never hate a mountain, or hike, or trail. Never ever. But, the first attempt in February of 2017 with my friend Blaire didn’t go so hot, because it was far from hot out. We started off that day at a whopping zero degrees at the car and approached the hike with a “use our judgement” mentality. After reaching North Tri we called it and headed down as we were both colder than our comfort zone, the wind was whipping, food frozen, and slushy water. The following summer I hiked them with my friend Amy, which honestly, it was a great day full of mud and slugs and Amy telling me there were lots of steep spots. Fact, there are lots of steep spots on the Tri’s, I guess that’s why they are named the “TriPYRAMIDS”? I don’t recall anything negative from that trip, so I’m not sure why I still judged this hike a little harshly, sorry mountains, forgive me.
Sunday’s frolic was with a co-worker, Sue. We both live in the same town up North and had previously chatted about hiking together. I ended up having a Sunday with no plans/work, and with knowing Sue didn’t work Sunday’s, asked if she would want to hike. In the process of determining what to hike (most of the struggle, tbh), I sent three ideas: Osceolas, Willey Tom Field, the Tri’s. Sue picked the Tri’s.
Our route : Pine Bend Brook Trail out and back; 9.6 miles and 3,450ft. elevation gain
There are a multitude of ways to hike the Tri’s: Pine Bend out and back, Sabbaday Falls out and back, a loop of Pine Bend and Sabbaday, the slides via Mt. Tripyramid Trail, etc. Pine Bend is arguably the easiest approach, especially in the Winter.
I’m fairly picky about who I’ll hike with in the Winter season, just from a safety perspective. Considering the temperature and forecast looked great Sunday and Pine Bend Brook was a familiar approach, I felt totally comfortable heading out with a new hiking buddy. And, glad to report we both had a great hike, get along well, and happily butt sledded (sans sleds, they will be packed next time…) down the mountain.
The trail starts off fairly gently, meandering through the forest. There are a handful of small water crossings which were all easily navigated by rock hopping. About a mile or so into the hike, the climbing begins to increase as you get closer to the steeper spots on Pine Bend.
I vividly remember the steeper spots and butt sledding, on actual sleds, with Blaire. I live for these memories. The ridiculous shenanigans, deep belly laughs, pure joyous fun that is had in the middle of the woods. The memories are part of the reason I blog, I don’t ever want to forget what this all feels like. And I want to share in hopes to inspire others to get outside and have an adventure that is fulfilling for them.
Between the junction of Pine Bend Brook and Scaur Trail (told you many routes) and the summit of North Tri, Sue and I decided that I would continue on to grab Middle Tri which is 0.8 miles from North and then head back and we would link back up at either the summit of North or the junction with Scaur Trail if she got cold hanging at the summit. I wanted to grab Middle for the Winter 48 list, felt great, and needed to move fast for a bit to increase my body temperature. Sue didn’t care about the other summits and was perfectly content hanging, and the temperatures allowed for us to do this.
It’s great hiking with people whom decisions like the above can be logically made. Like using your head decisions. Those are the best, and they’re also uber important in the mountains, especially in winter. I feel like the theme of this post is: it’s winter and winter is different.
Post hike I ended up doing some reflection, per usual, and I was thinking about how besides my hike up Pierce on the 12/15, I haven’t hiked more than 5 miles or a 4000 footer in 7-ish weeks. Yet, I felt great. My legs a little tired but efficient, endurance not an issue, my body was happy. For me, this is a huge indication that hiking and longer endurance activity really is my thing. It works for me and it supports me. I’m still in awe that I can hike 9-20 miles and feel amazing. When I have moments like this reflection where I remember feeling lightheaded climbing a flight of stairs in 2012 during my relapse, it makes me so incredibly grateful for everything I have and am able to do. It makes me appreciate my body on a level that many people don’t and can’t understand.
I enjoyed the short period of full solitude between summits and then getting back to the trail junction. I haven’t done much winter hiking solo, actually only Mt. Willard two years ago (for those of you reading unfamiliar with NH mountains, this is a relatively small and easy hike!). This past summer was the most I solo hiked to date, and it was a nice change of pace to experience the complete isolation again. I see some winter solo hikes in my future, peaks I’m more familiar with on good weather days. Being alone in the wonderland of snow covered trees and silence felt different than being alone in the warmer months. I like both, for different reasons.
The winter, for connecting on a deep level with myself. The summer/warmer months, for challenging and pushing my limits and comfort zone. One serves my highly competitive and intrinsically motivated side whilst the other serves my intuitive and reflective side.
My favorite, no, my ego’s favorite comment of the day was that I run up the mountains. I don’t run, promise, only in summer and usually on flats or downhill rarely on the ups. This said, I did run/skip for a hot second between peaks. I literally cannot even begin to explain how at home I feel on trail. It’s literally Narnia for my soul.
My favorite comment of the day was when we were headed back to the car and came across a fellow hiker we had met earlier in the day on the ascent. Sue “lost” her hat on the way up and this hiker told us that it was on a tree with a blaze just before the steep section. Sue jokingly said to me something about it all being steep. Yes, I agree, there are many steeper sections on this hike (probably why my type 2 fun self had such a blast Sunday!). For the record, we did find her hat, and it was not on a blazed tree but rather the trailhead sign!
The Tri’s are no longer on the love/hate list, but the love list. These mountains feel like home. There is a sense of peace and fulfillment to my soul that I’ve never felt in any other realm of life. It’s the primary reason I moved North, I knew that I needed it for the next level of my own personal growth and healing. Everything makes sense. Everything feels whole. I feel safe.
“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.” ― Norton Juster