Middle Carter, South Carter and Mt. Hight – 2/17/18

Hey folks!

I hope everyone had a stellar weekend! Mine was actually fantastic relatively speaking. I went hiking Saturday and just hung around yesterday and actually did some school work which hasn’t happened that frequently or successfully this semester. Baby steps.

I think hiking three mountains and 13.7 miles definitely helped the whole being productive thing. That likely sounds opposite to what most people would expect. But for me, right now, the more I physically exhaust myself the better off I tend to function mentally. Also, spending an entire day out in the middle of nowhere is really soothing for my being.

I wrote this post yesterday but just finished my workout and am reading it over before hitting publish.

Sharing today’s short and sweet workout:

  1. Row 1000 meters, tire flip x 10, row 800m, tire flip x 8, row 600m, tire flip x 6, row 400m, tire flip x 4, row 200m, tire flip x 2
  2. Then…. 5 rounds: farmers carry 100ft., 15 push-ups, 20 lunges

‘Twas fun.

On that note, let’s talk the hike yesterday… I’m committed to writing these recaps!

The mountains: Middle Carter, South Carter, and Mt. Hight – these are all part of the Carter-Moriah Range, which is the range directly east of the Presidentials (aka the views are bomb). While these are all well over 4000 ft., only Middle and South are “technically” 4000 footers for the NH 48 list. Plus? I haven’t done them yet! SO I’m now at 42/48 which I’m stupid happy about.

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Presidential range from the trail between South and Middle Carter

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this hike because I loved the Wildcats (southern peaks of this range), Carter Dome (just south of Mt. Hight, north of Wildcats), and Mt. Moriah (a few peaks north of Middle). Panda and I hiked the Wildcats in fall of 2016 and Carter Dome in fall 2017, so I was happy to get back onto this range in another season.

View from Mt. Moriah 7/30/17

View from Mt. Hight 10/22/17

We (my friend Ari and I) took Nineteen mile brook trail to Carter Dome trail which then brings you to a split where if you go right you head towards Mt. Hight and Carter Dome, but left sends you on the Carter-Moriah trail towards South and Middle. Back in October, Pan and I took the first two trails and then turned right to reach Mt. Hight and Carter Dome and I loved them because they are mellow and absolutely gorgeous. They give you time to process and be in absolutely awe with nature without wondering if your heart if going to explode. That being said, my two favorite types of trails are 1. mellow and 2. SPICY as possible, so either calm or steep as can be. Safe to say I’m a big fan of extremes.

From the trail junction to South is below tree-line and relatively easy grade with a quick moderate incline at the end (obviously… you do have to summit the mountain!). On this section were some blow downs which I believe to be remnants from a storm back in late October… Added a nice little obstacle element!

I loved the part between South and Middle because it opens up for a short time and there are absolutely amazing views of the presidential range (1st picture in this post) from here. Ridge-line hiking is without a doubt the best option, it’s just so real and raw. You’re so small compared to the mountains you’re on and the mountains surrounding you. It’s a very humbling experience and one that helps me realize how to put life into perspective. There is so much more in the world than the daily grind “down there”; the little problems we encounter on a day to day basis are really put in place when you’re standing on a summit in the winter looking at these massive mountains knowing that Mother Nature could very well take you down. It teaches me to respect both the entire process and myself a little bit more.

After summiting South and Middle we backtracked the Carter-Moriah trail and headed towards Mt. Hight. The climb up Hight is a short and spicy one, a nice hike finisher 😉 While I’ve hiked this mountain before, that doesn’t matter. It has 360 views and they are superb. I can see where people may not want to climb the same mountain multiple times, but for me, each hike is different. Sure, I know the trail more each subsequent time but that’s about it. The process from trailhead to summit depends on who I am hiking with, the day, my mind, the weather… there are so many factors and no matter what I don’t think I’ll ever have full deja vu on a hike.

View from Mt. Hight 2/17/18

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Hiiiii

You might be able to see in the photo above that I have a green sled attached to my pack. Yes, indeed butt sledding down the mountain is “a thing” and it happens to be one of my favorite things about winter hiking. I feel like a little kid flying down the mountain on a sled. Of course, not all sections of trail allow for this – super steep (usually end up on actual butt sliding not on a sled), multiple water crossings, or when the trail is on a slant and you would essentially end up in a ravine! I probably ended up sledding for about a mile of the total 4.6 descent from Mt. Hight to the car. Fully recommend experiencing this in your lifetime.

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Overall it was a great hike. Mt. Hight remains one of my favorite summits and I can continue to say that I dig the Carter-Moriah Range. I told Ari that I really want to run this section come summer/fall! I also noticed that I’m getting better at identifying other peaks from the summits/view points. It’s neat though because being in the mountains feels so much like being home, that understanding where I am in relation to other peaks I’ve climbed/have yet to climb feels great. It’s a whole new level of awareness, one I plan to keep cultivating.

“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.” – René Daumal

Tidbits of inspiration

Hello friends 🙂

It’s Friday. Last night I climbed for a bit and I’ll be honest I’m fairly wiped out physically today. Mostly to being out late/lack of sleep, but it was worth it no doubt. Good news, hiking tomorrow! All I really want to be doing today is gallivanting up a mountain, so in response to that I’m choosing to write a short and sweet post this morning with some inspirational quotes, and mountain pictures.

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“Some people survive and talk about it. Some people survive and go silent. Some people survive and create. Everyone deals with unimaginable pain in their own way, and everyone is entitled to that, without judgement. So the next time you look at someone’s life covetously, remember…you may not want to endure what they are enduring right now, at this moment, whilst they sit so quietly before you, looking like a calm ocean on a sunny day. Remember how vast the ocean’s boundaries are. Whilst somewhere the water is calm, in another place in the very same ocean, there is a colossal storm.”
―  Nikita Gill

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“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” ― Viktor E. Frankl

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“It’s a beautiful thing to have lungs that allow you to breathe air and legs that allow you to climb mountains, and it’s a shame that sometimes we don’t realize that that’s enough.” ― Honalle

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“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ― Rumi

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“There’ll always be something else. Another obstacle to overcome. More danger on the horizon. That is life. But there’s more to living than conquering mountains and coming out victorious in every fight. Enjoy the view. Relax once in a while. Your success is meaningless without joy.”
― Beau Taplin

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“Because we have such a deeply grooved conditioning to reject and condemn ourselves, particularly in this culture, I find that emphasis on the word “acceptance” is central in healing. It brings our attention to the possibility of saying yes to what we are experiencing in the moment, and counteracts the conditioning to push away what feels unpleasant or intense or unfamiliar.” — Tara Brach

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“Listen to me, your body is not a temple. Temples can be destroyed and desecrated. Your body is a forest—thick canopies of maple trees and sweet scented wildflowers sprouting in the underwood. You will grow back, over and over, no matter how badly you are devastated.” ― Beau Taplin

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“When you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You are too this, or I’m too this.’ That judgment mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.” – Ram Dass

Go get em’ tiger.

XO, S

Mt. Waumbek – 2/10/18

Hi guys!

Ok, so new idea for blog posts… hike recaps. I mean, come on, this seems like a fabulously spectacular idea. I might not write about every hike, because I go A LOT, and y’all would probably get sick of me flooding your inbox/reader with “and this weeks hike…”.

After a fairly rough start to the new semester, and hike plans which did not go as intended last weekend, it was really good to spend the day frolicking in the woods. Yesterday’s hike was one I did last January, so I figured why not check it off during another month of the year! This is actually a thing. The “grid”, hiking each 4k peak in NH during every month of the year. Life goal, maybe? I do have a goal to hike each peak in every season, that’s for sure.

In order to get to Mt. Waumbek you end up going over Mt. Starr King, a 52 with a view peak. Let me tell you, yesterday there were some killer views.

Ok, I kid I kid.

I may have now done this hike twice, and I may have also never seen the apparent “great views”. Last winter we were just as socked in. Oh well, we did choose to hike on a day forecasted for snow.

I really dig this hike, it’s an easy to moderate climb for the first 2.6 miles up to Starr King, and then an easy skip and hop for the next mile to Waumbek. Yesterday was the first hike I’ve done entirely in snowshoes, and to be entirely honest, I think I liked it more.

While I do love above tree-line summit days, there is something about just wandering in the forest all day. It’s comforting. It’s like a playground that I don’t really ever want to leave. All of the fresh powder and snowy trees definitely made the trail even prettier and more narnia-esque.

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Just hoping all the snow doesn’t fall off the tree while I’m casually underneath it 😉

Another perk of this hike is that you can always be sure to come across a Grey Jay or two. These adorable fellas make you feel like a dang bird whisperer. Or, maybe we just are all bird whisperers after all? Thoughts to ponder.

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Hi little friend!

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DEFINITE bird whisperer

Overall, this hike was one for the books. I think they all are, but for different reasons. No two hikes are the same and that’s one of the reasons I’m so hooked. I never really know what to expect, and I never will. Hiking is about the process, the meandering forest, the great views and the not so great views. It takes you out of the everyday, and for me, it makes me feel at home.

Another plus? Amanda and I not only added one BUT two pictures to our collection where we’re both actually smiling versus sticking our tongues out at one another. A+ job, Panda.

Aaaaaaand I leave you in good hands with the longest quote ever:

“Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.” ― Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

Semester beginnings & ramblings

Hi all!

Whelp, it’s been a hot minute.

My last post was a rather deep one. By that I mean it was deep AF.

I took school break off from blogging because I needed it. While I had every intention of posting, I also knew it wasn’t the right time. I even started a few; they remain hanging around in my draft folder. I like blogging because I genuinely enjoy it. Writing makes my soul happy. When writing a post doesn’t lead to fulfillment I know it’s not the right time. I knew that for a little while my being needed me to process and live more than it needed to write. For me, writing is the like the ocean. It ebbs and flows. I’ll always love it, but sometimes I feel closer to it than others. And, that’s ok.

That will inevitably be the theme of this post; it’s ok. Everything will be ok.

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Mt. Tecumseh – Jan. 2018

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Pano from Tecumseh – Jan 2018 (Mt. Washington is snowy peak in WAY distance on left)

First let’s get into what this current semester looks like… I’m focusing much less on academics and much more on research and working. This is obviously meticulously planned and calculated. The classes I’m taking are ASL 2, Introduction to the Deaf World, and Psychology of Child Development. I’ve joined a research lab and will be focusing on concussion and head injury. I’m also working a few nights a week as the manager at my work.

Great? Yeah, kind of.

I’m opting to take Deaf World pass/fail, not because I can’t get an A but because I don’t NEED to, because taking the stress and pressure off will likely prove useful. This isn’t a course for my major or minor (therefore aloud to be P/F), and I feel like I’ll ultimately take more away from the course if I’m not in my head about my grade. It’s not always what we are capable of doing, but what is best for our being – mentally, emotionally, ect.

Second “non-traditional” approach being taken this semester is that my child development course is being done in an “online fashion” even though it’s a face-to-face class. Let me explain this one… So I’ve previously discussed (briefly) about having over-stimulation responses to certain sounds, and that this over-stimulation typically presents itself in the form of a flight-or-fight response. Years later, I have a much more comprehensive understanding of the components of this issue – termed misophonia (miso). My primary trigger sound is typing, which as a college student in 2018 is nearly impossible to escape. Second, third, fourth, ect. (aka the bigger triggers/more difficult ones to work with) include chewing (auditory and visual – so seeing people chew or hearing it provokes the same response), sniffling (please let me know if you know of any locations on earth where people never come down with colds), that nervous/bored habit that when someone is sitting cross-legged and their top leg moves around OR when someone is continuously moving their foot/feet when sitting (obviously visual issue). I could talk much more about this but that isn’t the purpose of this current post. This is just to get into why I’m doing the bulk of my work for this course online and by-myself versus sitting in lecture… because I ultimately have to come and go so much or fully leave that I’m missing a lot of content and it’s 1. distracting for others and 2. emotionally/mentally draining for me. While I do have accommodations (grateful), I’ve also learned and accepted that sometimes being honest about all of this with professors is much more useful on both sides than playing it off as “I need to come and go and test separately”. Like, honestly, we are all human. Talk to people. Let them know what is going on. Be honest. Feel your feels. Do what you need to be successful short and long-term.

#preaching

My last course, ASL 2… for starters I dig sign. I was absolutely petrified when I changed from neuroscience to psychology because it meant I would need to take a year of a language. My anal side felt like this was a bad idea… My GPA was/is amazing which I’m proud of and didn’t want to jeopardize that. I always thought learning a language wasn’t my “thing”, after all I took Spanish 2 twice in high school and still walked out with maybe a C?! I’m happy that 1. It went much better than anticipated and 2. I love it. That all being said, due to current higher anxiety levels which in turn make the miso more heightened, for me, it’s been an interesting semester thus far. Physically being in class is draining and I do think there is more to this than simply I’m currently more sensitive.

So, that was a hefty load to drop.

What am I doing outside of class, research, work? Well, I’m using my week day time wisely as much as possible and taking some escapes as needed. Note: always needed.

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Yay, snow!

This week I took Tuesday to go snowboarding in the morning and then went rock climbing at night. Days like this help bring me back down from my over-stimulated school self. I’m becoming painfully aware that I not only find profound bliss but also that I consistently need these things in my life. Going hiking on the weekend and then just lifting during the week with a run and bike here and there is great and all but it’s not enough for me to feel sustained. I’m not saying I don’t love those things, but there is something to be said about the magic felt when being outside and/or pushing both my physical and mental body – hiking, snowboarding, climbing, long exhausting runs. While lifting and very high-intensity workouts do help, being in a gym is stimulating and I find that the benefit really ends up only neutralizing the hit I take with being there. That said, how I feel and function physically is greatly improved by these things which makes them worth it.

It would be very easy for me to slip far down right now, with the uncertainties of school (both current and looking at graduate school), heightened mental health happenings, and feeling out of my element sometimes unable to escape. I’m trying to not put a ton of emphasis on negatives that arise, and rather take them for what they are and move forward. It is what it is and at the end of the day how I handle things matters. Conversely, the positives, the escape days, weekend hikes, being with people who feel like home… well this is where the emphasis is going. All of it. Because it matters so much, it needs to be there, and to sum it up with minimal word usage – the more I can stay absolutely stoked on life, the better my chances.

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Mt. Eisenhower summit – Dec 2017

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Casually plotting world domination.

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View from Mt. Jackson – Jan 2018

The thing is you have to fight the whole time. You can’t stop. Otherwise you just end up somewhere, bobbing in the middle of a life you never wanted.” ― Alexander Maksik