Mt. Flume – 12/9/18

Happy Monday friends!

I hope you all had a great weekend – whether it was spent inside, outside, in Narnia, or somewhere else. Saturday was a day of rest and naps for me as my hip has been giving me some extra reminders lately that I’m not actually Wonder Woman. This is something I don’t talk about much on my blog (no, not that I’m not Wonder Woman… because I obviously am) – my hip.

For any longer-term readers out there of those of you who know me in real life, you might know that I have hip dysplasia. For the most part it’s managed – I know my “off limits” list, what things help/hurt, and that’s that. Other times, like this past week, it just flares up and I’m in a ton of pain with no apparent trigger cause. Finding the culprit during these “flares” would be like searching for a needle in a haystack… so rather than trying to figure out exactly what’s up, I just do what I can to get it happy again. AKA lots of foam rolling, witch magic, and REST. After a week of relatively low-key, not much improvement, and the “ok” from my PT to try a hike, Lawn and I decided to frolick in the mountains yesterday.

“Downlook” along Osseo Trail, NH

Y’all, my bod is weird. I’m glad I’m semi-used to it’s weirdness (quirkiness?!). Hiking uphill was a bit of a challenge and thankfully the hike we picked, while 11.2 miles, had about 6 miles total of either pancake flat or close to that. Flats either were totally fine or some mild discomfort. Downhills I had zero pain. Oh, and wait for it, running uphill didn’t hurt. Butt sledding was questionable at best.

After 25 years I’m learning to fairly smoothly navigate 1. when I need to call it and take some ample rest, 2. when I can do certain activities but not others, 3. when I can push through discomfort, 4. the difference between higher discomfort/pain levels and an actual injury.

I think my body’s check engine light is on 100% of the time…

Like a dysfunctional car that has it’s check engine light on 100% of the time, I have to distinguish when it’s on just because it’s confused and when it’s on because it’s really on.

I felt better this morning than following my full day of rest and two naps Saturday. Now night time, I can say everything has stiffened back up and is just as pissed as Saturday. Yesterday while hiking, following hiking, and even this morning, was the best it’s felt all week. I’m not saying the rest time was useless, rather likely extremely useful to allow some mellow-time for my bod to calm it. One thing I’ve been finding true for a while now is sometimes movement is key. Hiking works for my body. Out of every single activity I partake in, hiking consistently feels most stable and supportive. SO, that’s what happened yesterday!

A future post on my experience with hip dysplasia, ect. can be expected, but for the sake of keeping this post from turning out to be a novel let’s discuss the hike!

Junction of Lincoln Woods Trail and Osseo Trail, NH

Mt. Flume via Osseo Trail, Lincoln, NH; 11.2 miles round-trip

Our hike began with more layers than any hike as of late. A non-winter winter hike that didn’t only look like mid-winter but also felt like it. Just shy of 20 degrees at the car and about -5 to -10 degrees at the summit (per Mountain Forecast website). Not super cold compared to previous winter hikes, but more so than the other snowy hikes I (we) have done this fall.

Summit selfies (yes, I’m rocking 2 hats)

Let’s go Winter!

The hike starts off from the Lincoln Woods trailhead off the Kancamagus Highway, running along the Pemigewasset River. At 1.4 miles there is a junction, which we continued along the Osseo Trail at this point.

I did enough reading up on this approach for Mt. Flume to know that my hip should be okay, but was pleasantly surprised of how mellow the beginning of the Osseo Trail is. Where Lincoln Woods is an actual pancake, Osseo is a gentle rolling climb to start. Typically a fan of VERY steep hikes, this one was gladly welcomed with open arms yesterday!

A mellow walk in the woods!

The just over 4 miles (one way) of the Osseo trail was a good mix of mellow walk in the woods, moderate climb, and steep. Throughout the trail, the steepest section is where the ladders are. While I know there are many ladders based on trail research and pictures from other hikers, yesterday we saw a total of 4 or 5 steps. It’s all snow covered.

Starting up a steeper section

Lawn and I both enjoyed the section prior to reaching the summit. With increased elevation comes increased amounts of snow. It was also lightly snowing all throughout the hike and fairly consistent at this point making it feel as if we were in a snow globe.

After passing by the junction of Flume Slide Trail and Osseo Trail, we had a quick 0.1 climb to the summit where we were welcomed with great views…. Ok, sarcasm. Although it was still rather magical and a great experience to be up above treeline for a short bit.

Looking at a “hill” prior to the summit

Our hike down was full of butt sledding, walking, random bursts of jogging, and many video takes (update: I’m working on starting a YouTube channel – Rah Adventures!).

Overall, I really liked this hike and the Osseo Trail. I’ve only ever hiked Mt. Flume as an out and back via Mt. Liberty and the Liberty Spring Trail, so I enjoyed the change up. This particular hike was chosen as it is the only peak Lawn and I both needed for round 2 of the NH 4000 footer list. We briefly considered a shorter hike given the current status of my body, but most shorter hikes are steeper and I had a gut feeling that longer and mellower > shorter and steeper. Verdict of going with gut feels? correct, A+, gold star, pass go and collect.

This hike, just like each trip to the mountains (hiking, snowboarding, running, ect.) reminded me of WHY I hike. I don’t hike to “workout”. I don’t go the mountains because it’s “peaceful” (although, it totally and completely is). I hike because it helps me process, reminds me of how far I’ve come with my mental/physical health and ability to take care of myself, and the movement itself feels like such a natural part of my existence. The mountains, being in them, it’s going home for my soul.

“I am constantly trying to communicate something incommunicable, to explain something inexplicable, to tell about something I only feel in my bones and which can only be experienced in those bones…” ― Franz Kafka

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Mt. Jackson 11/28/18

Hey friends!

Are you surprised to see I went hiking yesterday? No? Ok, good because I’m not.

Lawn and I decided to embark on an interesting adventure of trail-breaking 6-24″ of fresh powdery snow up (and down) Mt. Jackson! The White Mountains are surely living up to their name as of late, with the snow just seeming to keep on falling and piling up the accumulation total. It’s not even technically Winter yet, and this is the most “wintery” hike I’ve done to date. The sheer amount of snow we witnessed yesterday was mind-boggling and a total blast all wrapped in one.


Meanwhile, down here on the Seacoast I’m looking forward to a 40 degree Sunny day tomorrow and taking my bike our for an hour or more! There is snow here too, but maybe a 20th of what currently exists up North.

I’m honestly rather stoked about all of the snow because it means snowboarding season is here and I’m super looking forward to riding next week! As a previous “winter hater”, I must say, I’m already digging this one and I still have three weeks until the season even begins!

Hey Lawn!

Hike details: Mt. Jackson, NH. 5.2 miles and 2,150 ft. elevation gain via the Webster-Jackson Trail.

When you can’t even read the sign you know you’re in for a fun day

The book-time for this hike runs around 3:40, a time I’ve substantially “beat” each time I’ve previously hiked this peak. Yesterday was different, quite different. I think there should be a snowshoe through 2 feet of fresh snow book time. I kid, I kid. Kind of. As Lawn put it, the two of us likely set a record for “slowest known time”. And you know what, it was the most interesting/exciting winter hike to date.

It was a full snowshoe day, alike the hike of Mt. Cabot last Saturday. The only difference is last week there was maybe an inch or two of powdery snow on the trail at times and the snowshoes were primarily for traction/not post-holing whereas this hike they were essential for walking in general.

I really am finding myself enjoying snowshoeing and am even looking at running a snowshoe race this Winter! Hiker Dad recently bought some running snowshoes and I’m excited to give them a whirl. Don’t you all worry, I’ll recap this and report back on how many times I fall over 😉


We initially expected to reach the summit by 1:30pm, but soon realized this was just not happening. With increasing elevation came increasing amounts of snow to pack down. It honestly amazes me how much snow there currently is in the mountains. I’m not sure I saw this much last winter ever… never-mind before it was December. The first mile and change was fairly consistent pace wise.

Following a junction where it splits for Mt. Jackson summit or Mt. Webster summit is when we began to find increased snow amounts and a more inconsistent pace. Trail breaking is HARD work, and this is especially true when it’s two 105ish lb humans doing the work, one of which who is 5’0″! While only a 5.2 mile hike it felt more like 10 by the end of the day. After the junction we knew we weren’t hitting our 1:30 guesstimate as it was fast approaching this time with 1.4 miles to go. We loosely picked a turn-around time of 2:00pm as we both had headlamps with us and knew the last 3/4 mile or so on the way down was relatively flat.

THAT is the trail, before we tramped our way through the masses of snow

2:00 hit and we found ourselves with approximately a half mile remaining. After a few minutes of debating we choose to go until 2:30 and re-evaluate if we hadn’t reached the summit by this point. The amount of time this hike took is very humbling to me. I know I (and Lawn) are good and strong hikers, so it was mildly unexpected but also not. The constant motion of snowshoeing through deep snow isn’t only leg muscle taxing but it gets your heart rate high. I personally found I could easily ignore the leg muscles but just struggled with breathing at a normal rate which then threw me off.

At this point of 2pm onward Lawn was doing the first pass of trail breaking and I was trekking behind while working to step on the tail of her snowshoe path so that my tail would pack down the powder hers missed so we had a smoother track headed down. Her 7ish inches of height on me seemed to be useful?!

2:30pm views

Right around 2:30 we hit a section very close to the summit and found 20-24″ of snow and proceeded to have a grand time trying to get up some rock sections. Pro tip: if you’re 5’0″, send tall friend up first and then have them help you up 😉

At this point we called it good. We were happy to have our “summit” for the day as that last section likely would have taken a considerable amount of time for the short distance that it was. We took some pictures of the stellar views aka snow covered trees and headed down to a spot which was denser with trees where we stopped to add a layer, grab hand-warmers, and drink some water.

Hiking down in the fluffy snow is a true blast. You step, slide a bit, and repeat. Snowshoe skiing if you will. It’s also much much faster than step, lift leg up a foot, repeat.

Headed back the trailhead

Mental note to self for future reference: it feels lighter than it really is in the woods when it’s so snowy.

All the white counteracts the darker sky as when we finished it seemed much darker than when we were on trail a few minutes prior. We also noted just how quickly it went from dusk to dark – legit under a half hour. While we could have reached the summit and added 30 or so minutes to the hike, I think we were both happy with our decision and also happy to reach the car before it was truly dark outside.

Coming out of the forest

Overall, I’m beyond happy Lawn and I got outside yesterday and explored this snowy peak. Winter has always been the least comfortable hiking season for me, mainly because of getting cold easily and the fears associated with that. This hike was a good comfort zone tester and pusher – it let me see how I react to modifying turn-around times, deep snow, it getting dark in the Winter and still on trail, ect. As we head into the true Winter hiking season, I’m happy to have this hike under my belt.

“Come. Come with your light. Your shadow. Soft curves and sharp edges.
I will show you the beauty of you, in all that you are.
Come with your steady breath. Your shaky breath. Your messy movements. Your courage to try again. The key to practice is just keep showing up.
Come with your highs. Come with your lows. The mountain you’ve climbed. The mountain you’re carrying. Just as you are.”

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Mt. Cabot – 11/24/18

Hi folks!

I’m super giddy today. You might ask… why? Still on my nature high from mountain frolicking Saturday with Lawn and Hiker Dad. Also, super looking forward to adventuring again this coming week.

Outlook along Bunnell Notch Trail, NH

Prior to hiking Mt. Pierce last Sunday, it had been just over three weeks since I visited the mountains. Much, much, too long. That said, it was mostly okay by me as I was enjoying the weather still deciding to be fall here on the Seacoast. But having hiked 1-2 times per week from May-September, the larger than usual gap felt strange. Not bad strange, just off, out of the ordinary. I’m explaining this so that I can tell you guys – it feels really great to go twice within a week – Pierce Sunday and Cabot Saturday.



I’ve been a little out of my groove. I think I’ve actually been super in my groove, but not used to this, so it therefore feels out of groove.

My life will be substantially changing within the next year. I’ve gone from feeling absolutely terrified and uncertain, trying to meticulously plan every bit of this out, to just letting go and growing in. By growing in, I mean growing into myself… my being… my aspirations and goals I have for my life and my being. Don’t get me wrong – I’m scared/unsure/uncertain. I mean, my childhood home will be sold in 7-10 months, I will be moving, I finish school in under 3 months, I’m undertaking a journey of starting my own business to wellness/health coach around eating disorder remission/women’s health/misophonia, and I’m trying to navigate all of this while staying on path with my own personal shit sandwich management. But despite all of this, I feel oddly good. It all feels right. I’m terrified but not concerned? I mean I’m slightly concerned I will be living in my Subaru come next Fall but like… things could be worse.

The two hikes in one week helped me feel back in groove. Mountain time is the best use of my time I’ve found for both personal wellbeing and also personal growth in the sense that it allows me a great deal of space and time to just be (well… just walk) with my thoughts. It teaches me what I’m drawn to most, what things catch my attention and draw it in like no other, and to be one with the process. While definitely out of my comfort zone as I ponder the next moves for my life, I’m beginning to realize there is a difference, a big difference, between being out of groove and being out of my comfort zone.

It’s snowshoeing season!

SO, of course I must actually tell you about this lovely hike.

Mt. Cabot via Bunnell Notch Trail – 9.4 miles (of snowy bliss)

I hiked Cabot back in late August via the Northern trailhead taking Unknown Pond Trail, and that particular hike was #45 for completing the NH 48 4000 footers. I find this amusing because Carrigain was #44 and I have also since repeated that mountain. It’s almost as if I’m trying to reverse my order for round 2. Not really, but I’m definitely ready for some peaks that it’s been a while since I’ve hiked!

Trail junction

This hike, most likely given my feeling out of groove aka out of my comfort zone, felt particularly challenging. Not only from the physical aspect – snowshoeing is HARD work people. My legs were substantially more tired after this hike than after the almost 20 mile Bond hike in early September… yeah. But also mental – between being up early, not loving being in snowshoes for the whole hike, my feet deciding to take close to 2 miles for me to actually feel them, gaiters getting wet through (Lawn has the same ones and hers did too… we need new ones!), being overly in my head about life lately – I found myself just wanting to call it quits and stop and take a nap. That didn’t happen.

I kept going. Walking. Step after step. At one point just before reaching the Cabot Cabin I employed my friend Amy’s tactic of internally counting steps. I literally counted to 200 steps and then took a quick breather and kept going. I didn’t tell Lawn or Hiker Dad what I was doing, but this really helped me to just work with the process. On 99% of hikes I can just go no problem, without question or hesitation or reassessment but this one in particular was different. I definitely attribute this to all of the recent and upcoming changes and an overactive head space.

Cabot Cabin

Once we reached the Cabin my brain space and mental clarity underwent a shift for the positive. I felt a lot better for the remainder of the day. First off, I was nice and toasty which is always helpful. But mainly, I had the time to process what I was feeling, to work through it all. Those previous 200 step increments did more than just physically move me up the mountain, they allowed me to focus on ONLY the steps, nothing more, nothing less. I just walked. And counted. I walked and I counted.

There is something truly magical about thinking only about the present moment – nothing in the past, future, or even thoughts per se. Just thinking about what action(s) your currently undertaking. In these moments I was hiking. I knew I had two great hiking pals, that the trail was broken out, that I was safe, that I’m healthy, and that I had the necessary experience for the day – those were my facts. I knew these facts, trusted them, and kept on walking. I kept walking away from fear and doubt and into understanding more about what I was feeling and more importantly why I felt the way I did at the start of the hike.

Bunnell Notch Trail, NH

This hike may have been one of the more challenging ones to date. Not out of miles, elevation gain, or weather even – but because it challenged me from many angles I’m not used to experiencing when hiking. For these reasons, it’s now one of my favorites. Don’t get me wrong, I dig hikes that go super well, where I am in a total flow state (and are in the summer)… but the ones that push me past mental and physical comfort zones – those are the best of hikes.

Per usual with recent hikes, I’ve been asking my hiking partners to quickly recap the day – Lawns thoughts of our trek up Mt. Cabot:

“Good call on bringing the snowshoes.

Bad call on wearing gaiters that weren’t waterproofed.


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“One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away or try harder.” ― Ziad K. Abdelnou

Mt. Pierce – 11/18/18

Hey folks!

Guess what I did last Sunday? This is a hard one… I know.

I went hiking. I mean, c’mon obviously what else would I do with my free time 😉

Crawford Path, NH

The peak of choice was Mt. Pierce, and this hike makes round TEN hiking Pierce for me. That’s nuts. I mean, it’s not that nuts… many others have hiked it 2, 3, even 10 times that. But, it still mildly blows my mind that I have fallen so in love with the mountains that I simply continue to make the drive to hike these beauteous peaks time and time again without question. What started off as a fun hobby has turned into a large part of my being. I feel so fulfilled and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So how was round 10 you wonder?

Glorious and rather snowy.

Looking at Eisenhower, Franklin, Monroe, & Northern Presidential Range

You can surely say winter has fully arrived in the White Mountains.

Mt. Pierce holds such a special place in my heart you guys. Casually over here writing a hike recap getting all emotional and such. #typicalSarah. I blame femaleness and hormones. I kid, I kid…. kinda. But, in all seriousness, this mountain in particular has been one that has helped me process a lot of stuff. I find myself hiking it when I need brain space, likely because I know the trail so well, it’s not a technical climb, and (knock on all the possible wood) I’ve never had any negative experiences hiking/summiting it (well, if you don’t count -40F windchill as a negative… which I surely don’t – it was exhilarating (and no, I didn’t get frostbite)!).

What I’m trying to say, is I really dig this hike. Likely my forever favorite.

My friend Shawn and I took Crawford Path up and down totaling 6.2 miles for the hike. It’s a quickie, which is uber useful when mid-winter conditions have arrived in mid-November and accepting this is presenting to be a challenge.

DEF winter when your hair freezes during the hike!

I hadn’t hiked in a few weeks prior to this one because it has been winter up in the mountains but still fall here where I live so I was embracing the heck out of crunchy leaves vs. fluffy snow. The recent weather change up and snow last Friday in southern NH left me wanting winter hiking. To top that, another 3-4 inches of snow came yesterday – looks like winter hiking season is heading into full swing folks.

In the grand scheme of things, this hike was a goodie. Rather uneventful aka nothing out of the ordinary happened, not too chilly – about 19F at the car and 5F at summit, allowed me to get my mind back to winter hiking conditions, and provided me with mountain time. I have a love/hate relationship with winter and winter hiking. On one side of the spectrum I think it’s beautiful and fun, while on the other side I’m more stimulated from a sensory perspective and my body tolerates cold terribly.

But the beauty and pure simplicity of winter:

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For me, hiking is part of who I am and who I intend to continue being. Winter hiking allows me to further challenge myself, my comfort zones, my tolerance, my understanding of my needs, and my relationship with both myself and the mountains. It’s honestly rather neat and extremely satisfying.

To leave this post I want to wish all of you stellar humans a happy Thanksgiving. And, for those of you who read my blog and also struggle actively with or are in remission from an eating disorder/disordered eating or misophonia – just go have a day tomorrow. It doesn’t NEED to be good or bad. Just a day. Continue forward. Continue on your path. Continue trying to respect your needs and yourself as a person. Step by step go through the day. It’s that simple. It’s honestly not simple, and likely feels scary/fearful/terrifying – but just move through it and when the day ends leave it there. Whatever happened happened. You had a day. That’s all and that’s it. Leave it or explore it, that’s entirely up to you. But know that whatever you’re feeling is validated and that you’re well-being is oh so worth it. Acknowledge where you are at in your journey, what your human experience feels like, and make note of it – it’s where you are at right now not who you are. It’s a portion of the sum of all of your parts.