Since I've been at my job for so long, I have a LOT of vacation hours. So I've been using them steadily so I don't lose them at the end of the year. My father recently asked me if I wanted to go up north to hike on Columbus Day. I jumped at the opportunity! So I took Friday off (to be with Awesome Husband) and yesterday off to recuperate.
My father said he wanted to hike Mt. Chocorua in NH. It's in the White Mountains but it is not one of the other 4,000 footers. My father has done all of those. I've done.......seven.
We drove up at 5:30am, got breakfast at The Tilton Diner, and then headed into Lincoln to grab the Kancamagus Highway. That ride is absolutely gorgeous. It winds its way up into the mountains where there are dozens and dozens of trails and campsites and scenic overlooks.
The white in that photo is a sea of fog blanketing the base of the mountains. It was breathtaking.
We got to the trailhead and I was definitely nervous. The last time I hiked with my father I hadn't yet begun my healthy life. I had to take MANY breaks, always constantly out of breath and struggling with nausea. My father outpaced me terribly and I usually struggled to keep up.
But as soon as we got on that trail, I felt so confident. In fact, I had no trouble keeping up with my dad. There were even moments that I knew he needed to stop and I could have kept going. Of course, we took a few breaks. Climbing a mountain isn't exactly a cakewalk and we needed to hydrate and refuel.
Ultimately, though, the Appalachian Mountain Club handbook says the hike should take about six hours roundtrip. We did it in four. And it was a beautiful hike. The last half mile was bald and all hand over hand climbing. We always joke with my mother, who gets nervous about us hiking, that if you fall on a mountain, it's like falling anywhere else. You just fall down. You don't fall off the mountain. Honestly, though, there were sections in that last half mile where a fall would have been exactly what my mom imagines.
That's my dad in the photo. And above his head? The section that looks like Devil's Tower in Close Encounters? That's the summit. To get up there required much actual climbing. But it was so worth it.
Gotta eat some gorp on the summit.
The trip down was uneventful. I rolled my ankles about ten billion times but I was tired. It happens.
And yesterday, I went for a walk and did some P90X2 Yoga because I have a killer knot in my right glute. But other than that I feel great!
There's something incredible and awe-inspiring to discover what your body is able to do. I think it's my favorite part of this journey so far.