On this and on every trip we lead there are individual perspectives, one belonging to each person who participates, guide as well as guest. Always aware of this, we try to discover that middle ground that captures it well for all. Often this is really quite easy because the perspective are very similar: great day hiking, enjoyed amazing views, had a very happy day. This time we don’t have to combine or paraphrase. This winter hiking trip of three of our beloved 4000-footers (and one 52WAV peak) was documented and succinctly summarized by both Redline Guide Mike Maciel and our returning guest, as follows:
Through Our Guide’s Eyes: Redemption.
Hiking is hard, but winter hiking is even harder. There’s more gear to carry. Service roads shut down making certain trailheads inaccessible and creating more miles. The weather adds more variables that can quickly turn a simple sprained ankle into a dangerous situation.
Our guest started her 4000 footer journey last year and it got off to a great start. She was making quick work of her list, making friends, and really adjusting nicely to this new adventure. But then winter hit and things changed. What seemed doable was suddenly becoming harder. Heavier boots were causing blister issues. The additional gear was adding up and she just didn’t seem to have the same stamina, which is both frustrating and demoralizing. Those of us that have been doing this for a while can empathize, we know that winter legs are earned. It’s a different beast and it’s not always a smooth transition. Her journey hit a bumpy patch on a recent hike up Moriah. Not an easy mountain anyway, but add in some bad blister issues and it was not a pleasant experience for her at all. In fact it was the kind of experience that can make a person question themselves, whether this is something they can even do.
So we set out today on a redemption hike. Armed with a different pair of boots and a guide she is familiar with, the goals for the day were to stay safe (always), learn, do a little peakbagging, and to have some fun. Happy to say we accomplished all that and then some.
The day started a tad ominous as Crawford Notch experienced a temperature inversion that had Mike’s car showing -22F at the trailhead. Our guest wasn’t phased. Mike showed her the magic of televators, which definitely took some of the stress & friction off her heels. She loved the Narnia-like snow covered trees, the Gray Jays, the other happy hikers, and the various views spread throughout the day. Mike even taught her how to flip her televators up and down with a hiking pole… how the cool kids do it, without having to bend over.
Congrats on numbers 28, 29, and 30 (and number you don’t know of the 52WAV). Just don’t forget, if it was easy, everyone would do it.
Through Our Guest’s Eyes: Magical. Redemptive. Spiritual.
-22 at the trailhead. I stepped out of the car, took a few breaths through my nose, then chuckled to myself as I realized all the ‘moisture’ in my nose had just frozen solid. Let’s GO!
After a very difficult hike two weeks ago, this day was about redemption. Making peace with winter hiking, my body that has carried 11 children, lost seven of those precious babies and has been up and down the scale doing all those amazing things. It was about new boots, a reset, and remembering how much I love hiking. It was about becoming okay that I am a slower winter hiker than summer hiker and lessening the grip that my own expectations frequently have on me.
There is something about being in the woods (to me, equally as magical as the summits) and on the summits that is so spiritual. I look at the snow laden trees with a narrow passageway and I feel like I’m in a fairytale. Multiple times yesterday, as my awesome friend Mike, led the way, I would stop behind him and just take it all in. He stated, it’s like being inside Narnia and yes, that is what it feels like. It’s healing. It’s majestic. It’s peace and serenity, delivered in the form of trees, green grassy moss, snow laden trees, and summit views. Yesterday was all of that. It was a day of redemption for my mind.
Mike and I summited Tom, Field, Willey (all three on the NH48 list) and Avalon (a 52 With A View mountain list) to complete my 28th, 29th, and 30th of the NH48. Yesterday was my first time hiking in snowshoes. Mike took his time throughout the day teaching me different aspects of that, as well as some other winter hiking safety skills. He also taught me about the various blazes we passed along the way, to include what a single blue blaze means… or was that me that was teaching him that lesson? Me being sarcastic and a slight jokester asked him, after he had told me what a single blue blaze meant about 30 minutes prior, ‘Hey Mike, teachable moment, what does a single blue blaze mean?‘ The look on his face and the indignation in his voice was worth it! Once he realized I was joking it provided for some fun laughs, amidst already great conversation throughout the day.
Another moment of joy and laughter was the epiphany of my next book title, something about snot. Sadly neither of us can remember it this morning, but we laughed because of its truth. This about sums up winter hiking for me though — snot, snot, snot! […] —Guest
And Now a Visual Tour
Of course photos were taken, and of course we made a compilation video about the trip.