And to anyone reading this, thanks for indulging me with all this Vermont talk. It's going to take me a few posts to cover everything, I'll break it into three sections I think; hiking, Grandmother June's homestead, and how to keep a ten year old happy and energized enough to be dragged up the side of a mountain by her parents. First I'll cover hiking, sadly there will be no links because whatever improvements that have been made in the land of Typepad, they are lost on me. I can't figure out adding links with the new format and don't feel like spending hours on here figuring it out - with the blog trying to be on retreat and all.
First things first. I left my hiking shoes at home. Excellent move on my part. I grabbed my running shoes (which I never use) by mistake, they look like my Northface hikers but sadly are nothing like them. Keens it was. How do you all feel about Keens? I've found them to be okay, not great. For local light hikes (think airline trails) and of course walking through rivers they are great. To seriously hike in them though is difficult as tiny sticks, sand and stones always slip into the sides, get trapped underfoot, and the shoes need to be "emptied" regularly on the trail. They do work for me in the sense that I don't require a lot of support, I'd hike barefoot or in moccasins if it weren't for the sake of protecting the feet. A serious abrasion or puncture (gross) will ruin the day for everyone.
This photo was taken at a lookout about half way up. Emily sported her head net most of the way as the black flies were out in full force. This tiny little investment is just about the most essential piece of gear for her. Without it she is miserable, with it, good to go. I'd highly recommend a head net to anyone hiking with children, especially if black flies are in your area.
This mountain (man, I wish I could add links for you!) overlooks Lake Willoughby which is five miles long and 300 ft deep. It is mostly undeveloped as you can see and is really only accessible from either end. It is clean and quiet, and it is 10 minutes from where Adam grew up. Nice stomping grounds for a young boy and his friends.
Finally at the top. The hike wasn't too long, only 2 miles. But it was an intense, straight up two miles. I thought it was one of the most beautiful ascents ever though because the whole time we had this incredible glacial lake to our left and the late afternoon sun dancing across it's surface. So beautiful. We were rewarded further by views of Burke Mountain (Vermont) and The White Mountains (New Hampshire). The height of Mt Pisgah is just under 3,000 ft so I didn't expect it to have that incredible alpine feel, but it did! The last twenty minutes of our hike the temps were cooler, the incredible scent of pine surrounded us, the hardwoods were gone, and the dirt underfoot was replaced by rock.
We hung around at the top, consumed some calories, and soaked it all in.
Have I ever mentioned how much yoga has helped me as a hiker? Probably not due to the fact that there was little to no hiking reported on this blog last summer (looking to change that big time this year), but it's true. Yoga has made me a stronger hiker. Not just because I am physically stronger, but my attitude has shifted. I remember years ago Adam and I were on a hike (Mt. Ascutney) and I gave up. I was ten years younger and literally thought I couldn't do it, we had to turn around and headed down the mountain. I think there were some tears, Adam was cool and supportive. He must have thought I was such a wimp, but never would have let that show. Now I realize that if I just stay with an even, steady breath, and place one foot in front of the other , the mountain will get climbed. It's just walking after all. I'm not fast, but I do get there. I listen to my heart muscle and keep it at a reasonable pace, if it feels like it's going to burst out of my chest I slow down or stop for five minutes, then keep going. No big deal. Yoga has taught me about meeting my edge, to gaze beyond my limits, and when the time is right, to break ground and discover new territory.
Of course having her around is pretty inspiring and makes me stronger for sure.
When I get back here to blog some more I'll write about the homestead and some new to us methods of keeping the kiddo on board with the rigorous hiking requests of two crazy parents... what I share might surprise you.