Saturday, September 13, 2008

We're down!

The sun is behind the mountains, but the trail was not dark yet. We hit the end of the trail at 6:25, taking a total of 5 hrs and 15 minutes (no speed records broken here today!). There will be a lessons learned entry coming soon.

Now, back to the most beautiful campsite at Lafayette Campground with our first 4000+ ft peak in the bag!

(sent from the parking lot at Saco Lake, near the Webster-Jackson Trailhead)

Timing again

Coming down as fast as we dare, but we're not speed demons!
We hit the 'split' at 5:45, leaving us with 1.2 mi to go.
We're racing the sun down!

Summit of Mt Jackson!

We reached the summit at 4pm.
(sent from the top of Mt Jackson)


Just past the split between Webster and Jackson trails at 2:25. That is 1 hr and 15 min into our hike. 1.2 mi down w/ 1.4 to go to the top!

We plan to add 1.2 mi and do Webster too. Will it get dark before we get back to the car? Dark abt 6:30 here?
(sent from the trail on Mt Jackson)

The Big Picture

"What is the point of climbing a mountain if you just focus on getting to the top and don't see any of the beautiful things along the trail?"

This is what my daughter said as we started the climb on Mt. Jackson our first 4000'+ peak in New Hampshire.

Of course she is absolutely correct and her mother thinks this must be a sign that she is intelligent enough to know to enjoy all aspects of life and not rush through to reach goal posts.

However, this might just mean that she is happy to look around on today's hike, and that she thinks we won't make it to the top?

Which are her weaknesses and objectives, and which are mine?

Blue skys shinin' on me

As we pull away from the house the skys are blue. I know that 100s have been hurt or killed by Ike this weekend, but here the weather is lovely and we are ready for a great day on the trails.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Now, we have to decide how determined we are. There is rain scheduled for our first mountain's weekend. I think we'll skip camping tonight and decide in the morning whether the hike is a go.

This is pretty disappointing, not in the least because we had our favorite campsite in Franconia Notch reserved (and we NEVER get that site!)

My daughter is fine - she wanted to attend the High School football game anyway. This may be a sign. There will always be alternatives to heading out for a weekend of camping and hiking - hopefully she will grow to consider this as much fun, albeit in a very different way, as teenage social activities. Inviting friends (hers and mine?) along might be our answer!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Our preparation

In order to get in shape and toughen up mentally for hours of hiking my daughter and I both will need to excercise regularly and spend some hours in our hiking boots.

I love to get out of the office in the middle of the day, and away from my desk, but I find it very challenging to make my self break from work. However this walk is so gorgeous that I look forward to it all morning! (View Larger Google Map) The walk through MIT and along the Charles River on the Esplanade is relaxing and beautiful.

My daughter is walking to school and planning on joining the cross country team. Cross country should get her in shape pretty fast!

Boy Scouts

Kathy Martin has created a fantastic site for our local Boy Scout Troop 304. Thank you Kathy!

Venture Crew for my daughter?

Today we had lunch with the Bonings, a very active family in MANY ways. The lunch was a thank you to my husband Chris for his help with their oldest son's Eagle project for Boy Scouts. Our wonderful dim sum brunch at Mary Chungs in Cambridge was suplemented with talk of their recent advetures with the co-ed Venture Crew 304 trip to Philmont, NM last month. All four members of the Boning family went on this trip (check out the pictures!) and had a wonderful time. My son also spent over two fantastic weeks at Philmont this summer with the Boy Scouts Troop 304.

Since Venturers are for teenagers (pdf) of 14 or older, my daughter won't be able to join until this summer. Hopefully we will be able to attend some of their trips later this (academic) year. She would very much enjoy the outdoor activies of this organization.

All of this means that, if we are lucky, there may be a Philmont trip in our future. (Yes, I AM assuming that she will want me along - she better 'cause I'm going!) This is very intimiating! I have seen the maps and heard the stories - this is some serious high altitude hiking (up to over 11,000 feet). My daughter and I really do need to get into shape before we try something like this. Gradually increasing the intesity of our NH 4000+ peak hikes will help, but we need to really train if we get a chance to go to Philmont!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Breaking in the boots - prep for the first hike!

REI's Labor Day sale was my friend this year. My new boots were on sale, but because they are last year's model, not because of the annual clearance. But we also got some great deals on clothing that I'll be wearing around the trails and around the house.

Our first hike is on the calendar! We'll be heading up to "bag" Mt. Jackson on the weekend of September 12-14, the camping in our favorite notch area campground should be lovely.

I am breaking in my new boots so that in 2 weeks they will be comfortable on the trails. This is not a long climb coming up, and is listed as moderate, but I am so happy with this weather that the extra walks along the esplanade in Boston and in the Blue Hills down in Milton are a joy.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What is the goal, exactly?

I will (this is my goal, if my daughter chooses to participate, it will make me VERY happy!) climb all of the 4000+ peaks in NH before I hit a very grand age threshold which will be arriving in about 7.5 years.

My daughter is interested and enthusiastic about participating in this activity and she will be 21 in 7 and a half years when we are hoping to finish.

Since there are 48 peaks (depending on your list - I'm sure I'll have much more to say about that later) that means hiking 6-7 peaks a summer season for the next 7 years.

I do hope to get one peak in this year before the official end of the NH non-winter season marked by Columbus Day. I do not intend to hike every weekend, nor will I stay out in the winter - unless I decide later that I want to ;-).

Will she do it?

I am not a fool. This isn't my first thirteen year old either. I realize that just becuase she said she wanted to do this last week doesn't mean she will want to do this now, or when I have travel plans arranged.

However, I am heading out to buy boots, just in case.

Why start blogging now?

After all of these years, why start blogging now?

I am inspired. Something wonderful has happened, and I feel the need to share it with the world. Why else?

What could be so wonderful?

Inspiration itself. This time I am grabbing hold and refusing to let go just because the dream seems untenable.

What is your dream, you recently graduated from MIT with 2 SM degrees, is it some fantastic start up?

Something like that, only more important and with a higher likelihood of affecting the future. But with less risk of financial reward.

What are you talking about? What is more important than entrepreneurialism?

Sorry for the entrepreneurial snipe, really! But you have to realize that I make this choice each and every day - my family is more important to me than anything, and I have a dream that could positively affect my family and will directly affect the quality of my life for better or worse. It is one of my usual crazy ideas (and there have been lots, ask anyone!), but this one is a bit less personal than most that I choose to pursue. Hence, the blog. I need your encouragement and assistance in attaining both the personal, and the family goal.

What are you talking about - seriously stop being so annoyingly coy!

OK, here's the deal. I am the mother of two great teenagers, a 15 year old boy, and a 13 year old girl. The girl, on a recent vacation hike in the White Mountains of NH mentioned that she would like to summit all of the 4000+ foot peaks up there (you guessed it, we're from MA).

This is an unprecedented opportunity for me! My girl is fabulous, generous, fascinating and talented, but despite her Junior Black Belt, she has not lived up to her inherent athletic ability to-date. Mom (me) is not terribly athletic either, but does have a bit of stamina left from 3 years of college rowing and a few triathlons so very long ago.

My son is heavily involved with a great Boy Scout Troop (Minuteman Council Troop 304!) that takes him all over for great camping and hiking trips, and he spent the early part of this month at Philmont hiking about 65 miles at high altitude. This is wonderful for him, but my daughter and I would like to do more ourselves.

So, I am jumping on my daughter's expressed interest. I am aware of how long a 13 year old's attention span is, but I am setting my own goals along side hers, and I hope that helping her to achieve this goal will teach her about setting big goals in life and attaining them, no matter the difficulties involved.

But, I also anticipate hiking until exhaustion and camping in the chilly mountain air for years to come. This is the most personal of goals, to spend those hours with my daughter - without Internet distractions for either us - over all of those weekends , a mother's selfish dream.