First off, there are way too many “2’s” in the date of this hike. 2/2/20. That’s like three of them. Four if I use 2020… and then it’s a palindrome. Also, how is it 2020? I remember when 2010 was a big deal.
I digress from this tangent.
Sunday was one of those hikes where at the end I felt pure understanding. It wasn’t the stoked feeling I often experience with longer hikes, nor the introspection which occurs with solo hikes – it was a hike where the pieces aligned and everything made sense. A friend asked me Sunday evening how the hike was, to which my response was “NEEDED”.
Originally my friend Melissa and I were discussing hiking the entire Franconia Ridge as a traverse, up Old Bridle Path to Mt. Lafayette and then across to Mt. Lincoln, Little Haystack, Mt. Liberty, and Mt. Flume, to then take Osseo Trail and Lincoln woods out. With a little bit of an iffy forecast, both of us having just done hikes, and me being sleepy AF, we made a plot twist early morning to “only” hike Liberty and Flume, aka Fliberty, but still as a traverse.
Our route: ascend via Liberty Springs Trail, tag Mt. Liberty, continue to Mt. Flume, and then take Osseo and Lincoln Woods out. A lovely 10.6 mile frolic.
I dig traverse hikes. It’s never repeat terrain and therefore there is this extra little spark of unknown excitement.
Having hiked Liberty the first day of spring a few years ago (which, it was very much winter), and Flume last winter via Osseo our and back, I knew the trails, and that Sunday was going to be a good day!
Melissa and I met at the Lincoln Woods parking area at 9am to leave a car and take the other to Liberty Springs Trailhead. We started our hike around 9:30/45am, and there were a handful of other cars in the lot. Liberty is a popular winter hike, which isn’t surprising with the wonderful views it offers and superb butt sledding down if you’re into that. We joked at the end of the hike that we should have traversed the peaks the opposite direction so that we could have sledded down Liberty!!! Next time.
I always forget just how persistent the climb up Liberty is until about mile 1.5. Liberty Springs isn’t that steep, it just doesn’t quit. Up, up, up. I am one of the few humans I’m finding who greatly prefers summer trails. By summer, I mean not snow covered. Hands down winter hiking is lovely, practically Narnia, fun (hi, sledding), and falling on snow is softer than rocks. But, my ankles actually prefer the “staircase like” aspect to summer trails. Odd duckling, I know.
This was actually my first hike with Melissa, we met on trail when my friend Louis and I hiked Hale and Zealand this past fall and have been low-key trying to find a day to hike since then! Yay for new hiking pals 🙂
All the trails we took were packed out, with Liberty Springs, the section between peaks, and Lincoln Woods being hard packed white mountain highways. Osseo wasn’t as consolidated and arguably one could use snowshoes however it’s that type of “packed” where using snowshoes could lead to solid ankle twisting. We opted for spikes car to car.
My favorite section of the Osseo trail is hands down the ladder section, which in the winter when fully snow covered is sledding heaven. Having this trail not be as “highway status” as the others was helpful for more controlled butt sledding here. Also, I’d like to add that I’m becoming more and more of a fan of the Smartwool skirts. Not only is it a great option to quickly add if your lower body needs some extra warmth, but they are great for sledding too 😉 !
Another fun part of the day was having a snowman friend at our lunch spot. We opted to not take much time on either summit as it was snowing and rather chilly, and I’m so glad we waited because this (kind of grumpy looking) snowman was great company for PB&J time!
All in all this hike was lovely. Good conversations were had, the trails were in great condition, it was snowing lightly most of the day, and everyone we met on trail was friendly and seemed happy to be outside!
I’m excited that there was conversation about low-key planning a Bonds traverse from Zealand to Lincoln Woods if we can coordinate another hiking day soon! The Bonds will always have my heart as Bondcliff was my 48th 4000 footer!
As of late I’ve been dealing with feelings like I should be doing certain hikes, X number of miles, keeping X pace cropping up. Hello, ego… I see you. Placing slight “blame” on my naturally highly competitive side (looking at you 10 year old nationally competitive jump-roper Sarah), and also that I’m internalizing what many of of hiking pals are doing this winter such as single season winter 48 attempts. There’s been a lot of conversations lately which include one of the following statements, “I’m doing a small hike (insert 10-12 mile hike)”, “I love long days because I can eat whatever”, “I’m pushing limits I didn’t even know I had”, etc.
Real talk: I GET IT.
I’ve had all of those thoughts before in relation to hiking or past running experience. Heck, I’ve probably even said them out loud at some point.
My current reality isn’t revolving around a single season winter 48, not my goal. It isn’t to crush big mile days, although I do dig them.
It’s to grow my business, keep my creative energy high in the growth and book writing process, and allow my body some space after the last year of hecticness. Almost the polar opposite of what my ego is voicing.
I chalk this up to the “icky” feelings. Something I’ve wrote about before is what to do when thoughts that feel like absolute shit pop up, because they will. They always will. No matter how far along one is in their journey. It’s a cha-cha.
You know: fear, shame, guilt, envy, anger, irritation, restlessness.
The things nobody wants to talk about.
Historically I’ve found getting curious to be the most ideal method to approach these. Getting curious about the feelings, questioning them, why are they there, trying to stop running from them, and allowing them to teach me something.
It’s all a lesson.
I’m choosing to stay curious, and keep growing by supporting myself in the ways that deeply feel good to me and for my body/mind.
I’m choosing to not let the “icky” manifest, because that’s not helpful. It’s a teacher, not a destination.
This hike was what I needed Sunday because it was trail time that felt just right on every level.
“If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author.” Houlahan