I've been meaning to get this post up for a while, but things have been crazy. This past week passed by in a blur of stress and anxiety as I gave notice at work and made a plan for transitioning out of my role, packed up all of my stuff and moved it out of my apartment with my parents' help (they are storing it for me until it's time to ship to California), and planned the road trip that will get me from Boston to California next month. It has also been extremely hot and humid in Boston for the past few days which has been awful - it's too hot to even really walk my dogs. I went over a week without any running and this morning I finally managed 4 easy miles even though it was almost 75 degrees already at 6:30 am. I feel like a different person post-run. I needed it. Last week probably would have been a lot easier if I had gotten some running in.
Anyway, the point of this post is basically a photo dump - I went to a beautiful place and did a fun thing and I want to share it with you. Skibo, Jill, and I went back up to Jill's lake house in New Hampshire for an adventure in the White Mountains and it was incredible. We did the Franconia Ridge Traverse in Franconia Notch - about 9.5 miles total going up the Falling Waters trail from the Lafayette Trail Head, across the ridge on the Franconia Ridge Trail (so cool to run part of the AT shortly after Scott Jurek came through there on his record-breaking run!), then down on the Green Leaf trail to the Old Bridle Path trail back to the start.
To be honest, the loop was harder than I was expecting! I had delusions that this summer I would do the full Presidential Traverse (30 miles) but this loop summiting Mt. Lafayette and Mt. Lincoln was tough for me, there's no way I could have done the whole thing this year. The trails were lush green and full of streams and waterfalls until it suddenly ascended very steeply and climbed up above the treeline.
The views were amazing as we approached the first summit and the turn onto the ridge. Once we reached the ridge, the weather changed drastically - it was cold and windy, with clouds blocking the sun. If I go up again, I'll remember sleeves.
We made our traverse from Mt. Lafayette over a couple of false peaks then ascended to the summit of Mt. Lincoln. The views from there are some of the most spectacular I have ever seen in my life - the White Mountains are breathtaking and this was unbelievable.
I'm lucky that I'll be hitting a lot of the United States' national parks this summer. I have an Acadia trip coming up, and then on the trip out to California we are going to Arches, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon, Death Valley, and Yosemite. Not many people get to experience so much of the grandeur of our country in a lifetime, let alone one summer. I am so grateful for these opportunities.
The descent from the highest summit was gnarly. It was sooo rocky and sooo windy. Probably my least favorite part of the whole experience, but worth it for the good training on climbing down rocky terrain. I was very happy when we hit the little hut that had fresh water and snacks before heading down the last part of the trail. Honestly, while just as beautiful and with just as stunning views as the ascent. the descent was also just as difficult. We were tired, and instead of scrambling/bouldering our way up, we were trying to make our way down equally slick rock faces without slipping or falling. It was relentless. When we would stop, my legs would shake. But we did it! And man did it feel good to get back to the car and eat the jalapeno chips I had stashed for us there.
When we got back, we jumped in the lake (which caused absolute dog pandemonium) and relaxed on the dock for a while before making dinner.
The sun set on a perfect summer day, in one of my favorite places, with my favorite people.
The next day we were all sore, so instead of kayaking we rode the motorboat around the lake a bit and just lazed in the sunshine. The last time we went up in the beginning of June it was windy and chilly, so it was nice to experience a hot, sunny day by the lake before heading back to Boston. I tried to take a family photo with my dudes, but it didn't go so well. There were many outtakes and we never got the shot. This was literally the best we managed:
When we headed up for this weekend, I had some idea that I would be moving back to California, but no idea that it would be happening so soon. Once I came back, plans fell into motion really quickly, and suddenly a potential move in October or November was a definite move in August. I'm so thankful I got to have this experience before taking off again for the west coast, and that I got to spend the time with my best friends.
Have you been on any epic adventures lately?
What's your favorite national park?
Any road trip tips for me? I know some of you are seasoned pros!