Periodization of Life

At least it’s not just me.  Last night, after 2 hours of cruising town, sniffing bushes and chewing branches the dog was STILL nutso.  Chasing her tail in circles, sprinting through the house, chasing the cats, chewing on Miss Lily’s tail.  I was thinking to myself, wow, I sure know that feeling.  The snow is finally almost all melted, exposing the dead grass and the mess left from the windy storms this winter.  My front  gardens are free of snow, and there are sure signs of life starting to pop through the dirt.  It always amazes me that such tender life can spring up this time of year, survive the inevitable frosts, snow storms, temperature changes between day and night and yet – in a month or so – they will be bright blossoms of sunshine, happily blooming away.  Really truly amazing.  But those early signs of life, the melting of snow, and now – the spring forward of the clocks – does not mean we are freed yet from the grips of winter’s strong hands.  And I feel that grip deep inside me, and I am writhing around, trying to get free, desperately.  And as a result, I am kind of in an uncomfortable way in my body.  Sitting is uncomfortable.  I crave the outdoors, the sunshine, jeans, t-shirts and flip-flops, plunging my hands deep into the dirt.  I want to ride my bike in the woods, hike in the mountains, all without having to wear a dozen different articles of clothing and spend a third of the time outside either adjusting, removing or adding said articles of clothing.

This weekend we took a poor man’s trip to the south – we drove 2 hours and arrived at Cape Cod.  There we found dry dirt, warm sunshine and sanity for a 24 hour period.  We rode our bikes in the woods, drank beer outside without freezing, relished in the warm sunshine that the springtime brings.  it eased our minds for a little while.  But as soon as I arrived back at work on Monday morning, the uncomfortableness began yet again.  So.  I am counting down the days, and making the best of this eternal winter, come spring and then finally – the season all us New Englanders wait for – the summer.  The summer is so fleeting and quick, yet obviously significant enough to brainwash all of New England in to thinking it’s a good place to live year round.  But I do love it here.  And with each change in season brings new excitement, new energy and love.  New experiences.  It’s the periodization of life.  If it’s good for your workouts, I suppose it’s good for life too.

I will keep trying to convince myself of this.  And maybe, just maybe I will begin to believe it.

Happy Spring Forward all.  Here’s to the coming of the Equinox….Spring is on its way!

Extended Franconia Ridge Traverse

When Hurricane Earl threatened to bring rain over Labor Day weekend, we modified our plans to stick closer to home.  Original plan was to head north to the Bigelow Range by Flagstaff Lake in Maine.  But we put that off until the following weekend and came up with a last minute plan for a day trip over the long weekend.  We had many unfinished projects that needed to get done at home anyway, so it made sense to stay close.  Plus, I wanted to try out my new sewing machine that Alex got me for my birthday!!  More on that later….

So, Alex and I hatched up an idea to hike the Franconia Ridge – as suggested by Mel on this hike from earlier this summer.  The plan was this:

Hike up the Flume Trail to Franconia Ridge Trail, over Flume, to Liberty, Little Haystack, Lincoln, Lafayette and down the Bridal Path for a total of ~14 miles.  We stashed our bikes at the Lafayette Campground so we could ride (downhill) on the bike path along Route 93 back to the car after our hike.

We left Newburyport at 8AM, and got on the trail at 11AM on the nose.  The weather was mild, and humid at the bottom.  The Flume Trail started out very gradually, but after a couple of miles, the trail started getting very vertical.  The loose scree turned to slabs of rock that you had to use your rock climbing skills to get up and over.  Once we topped out onto the Franconia Ridge Trail, we were rewarded with views of the ridge from Mount Flume.  The wind picked up a bit, and temps were a little cooler.  At Flume, we ran in to a solo hiker looking to do the same trail as us, so she joined us for the rest of the day until we reached Galehead Hut.  From Flume, you drop down quite a bit and then head back up Liberty.  Once you get to Little Haystack, you pretty much have unencumbered views of the ridge and above tree-line views until you duck back into the woods after Galehead hut on the Bridal Path.  The Franconia Ridge Loop is extremely popular, and on the holiday weekend, there was a significant amount of traffic on the trail.  We were shocked by what some people were wearing for clothing and footwear.  Unbelievable how unprepared some people can be for those kind of unpredictable conditions.  While we were on the ridge, the weather shifted, and the showers that were threatening started moving in.  It started raining heavily on top of Lafayette, so we speed hiked down to the hut.  It was then that I broke my toe as I mentioned earlier today, by jamming my foot after sliding off a wet rock.   Oooww!  But it didn’t slow me down until we got home.  We ran down the Bridal Path after waiting out the rest of the rain at Galehead Hut.  We had a lot of fun passing all the Canadians and teenagers in soggy jeans and cotton t-shirts.  We made it out before dark, grabbed our bikes, and cruised the last 2 miles (all downhill) back to the car.  What a great ending to an incredible day.  We hit the Woodstock Inn for local craft brew and yummy food and drove home with time to watch a movie and veg on the couch.  Again, I must say how great New England is – having amazing mountains less than 2 hours away to play in.

You can see the pictures from our hike on Facebook here.

Summer in New England

It’s good living in New England, I must say.  Especially this summer.  Everyone, I mean EVERYONE, is happy right now.  We have had an amazingly wonderful summer thus far weather- wise.  And I don’t think I can jinx it at this point.  We deserve it.  It’s been so spectacularly gorgeous, and hard not to take full advantage of it. So, Alex and I have been playing to our heart’s content.  Weekdays consist of running, mountain biking and cruiser rides downtown for a beer looking over the river.  And weekends are spent outside – it’s mandatory.  I still sneak in an hour or more a day of some sort of fiber project – how can I not!  Like this weekend – I made myself a hat on the drive up for around the campfire on our amazing weekend at Kingdom Trails.  We drove up Friday night, in time for dinner at the Tamarack Grill, margaritas & burgers on the deck after setting up the tents and back to the campsite for a late night fire and conversation.  Up early on Saturday – breakfast burritos & coffee camp style, sandwiches made and loaded in the Camelbak and off to the trails for an epic day of riding.  A good 20+ mile day of singletrack, gorgeous Vermont landscapes and epic trails.

Alex fixing his bike as we get ready for departure.

Riding toward the sugar shack on the Darling Hill side of KT:

Picking the mandatory blackberries, that bottle is full to the top with blackberries!!! MMMM!

And Day 2 was supposed to be a short ride, but ended up equally as epic.  From one end of the riding area to the other, ending up back at the Tamaracks for margs on the deck before hitting the road back home.

Views from the Chapel – feet from a hilltop trailside cafe where we had a delicious lunch surrounded by gorgeous views.

Ahhhh…. the good life.  Smile.  I think I will sleep well tonight.  It’s going to be hard to go back to work tomorrow!  But, as I like to say… if you’re tired on Monday it means you had a good weekend.  🙂  And that, I did.  And I hope you all did too!

On the Job

A perk of my job is getting to explore the nearly 14,000 acres of land we protect as an organization, & subsequently myself & one other person is in charge of managing. Today I spent the day in the field, a gorgeous, breezy sunshiney day, 80 degrees. It is what makes me fall in love with New England over and over. Tree lined paths, freshly hayed fields, swampy meadows, huge oaks, blueberries, granite cliffs, salt marsh, beaches- all within miles if each other. I feel so lucky that I am so connected to the outdoors in my job. There is also the mosquitoes, poison ivy & mud, but that’s all part of the adventure that keeps me returning for more. Have a great weekend!