Tuesday, April 28, 2015

20 years and 48 mountains!

Mt. Isolation! 48 peaks done!
August 2014
July 2014, I started my quest of the 48 4,000 foot peaks of New Hampshire...without even knowing it! Two college friends said, "hey, we are going to do a loop up and around Mt. Madison. Wanna come with us?" I had ZERO gear. They loaned me a big backpack, a sleeping bag and a fleece coat. I knew nothing about nutrition and how much food I would need out there. There was a friggin' huge thunderstorm that night. I was chaffed beyond belief and starving when I got back the second day. WHAT THE HELL IS PEAK BAGGING? THESE MOUNTAINS ARE BEAUTIFUL AND CHALLENGE EVERY ASPECT OF ME! SIGN ME UP!

I bought the White Mountain Guide...actually, several editions of it throughout the 20 years. I hiked with some friends after college, then met Seth and we hiked almost all of them together. During the 20 years it took to finish them (1994-2014), I graduated from college, moved by myself up to Burlington, Vermont with just what I had in my car, made friends and started a new life on my own. I got married, had a child who died, had a miscarriage a few months later, grieved hard in those mountains, had my daughter Aida, and after diving head first into motherhood and finally allowing myself to return to ME, I headed back out to the peaks and finished. I'm so proud of my journey, not only of peak bagging but the journey of who I became as a woman in that 20 years.

This past weekend, I ventured to Stratham, NH for the 4,000 Footer Annual Celebration and received a scroll among many like minded mountain folks!! There were people who had hiked the NH48, Winter NH48, NE67, Winter NE67, 100 Highest, Winter 100 Highest, 111 in the Northeast and Winter 111 in the Northeast! I meet a young woman of 8 years old who had already finished the NH48. Proud of that lady!! She has already accomplished something amazing in her life!

Signing in and hikers chatting it up

Hikers=a common love for maps and guidebooks!!

Doggies got awards, too, for finishing the 48 peaks!! 

Grateful for the panel of volunteers who love these mountians
and dedicate their time to recognizing our accomplishments

The panel put together a nice slideshow of all the hikers.
I think they used two pictures of us a piece! We got to take
home a copy of it. Nice memento!
Official scroll.
Gonna get the scroll for the NE67 next!
One more sticker added to my car!
Brushed off the dirt with my hand and put it next to my other faves

Fun stats from 2014 Peak Bagging Season (I hope I got these right....they are in the ballpark, anyway):
  • 473 new hikers earned the NH48 honor
  • 11,491 total who have completed the peaks since the started keeping track
  • 31 new dogs
  • 8 year old girl and 7 year old boy were the youngest 
  • 108 for those that completed the New England 67 4000 footers...only 6 left in Maine for me!
  • 38 new 100 Highest
  • 28 new Winter 48
  • 3 new Winter 67
  • 1 Winter 100 Highest
  • 27 new 111 in Northeast (this includes ADK 46)
  • 0 Winter 111 in Northeast

Next up: Hiking the two Crockers in Maine with my two Death Race friends on May 16. I'll be carrying a stone in honor of Marine Major Jay T. Aubin who died in Kuwait, March 20, 2003. I am honoring Jay as a part of The Summit Project, in which hikers carry an engraved stone to a mountain summit to honor the life and sacrifice of Maine soldiers who have fallen since September 11, 2001. Here is the link to that amazing site and more information about Jay and The Summit Project: http://mainememorial.org/media/those-we-honor/marine-maj-jay-t-aubin/ . I chose Jay because he grew up in Waterville, Maine, just a few miles from where I was raised. I look forward to carrying a stone on each of my final hikes in Maine over the next year! And to become more involved in The Summit Project when I can....psyched to go to a fundraiser May 8th for TSP! Time to meet more amazing folks on my journey and contribute to a fantastic cause.

Mountains will continue to play a huge roll in my life! There is always a new one to climb....and there is always a way to make that climb special.

Here's to a great 2015 hiking season!