Feel Good Living at 5200 Feet
9 miles, 8 hours, 3 peaks, 2 sore legs and 1 uplifted spirit.
That was the result of the fabulous, feel good hiking excursion my friend Leanna and I took on Saturday in the White Mountains of NH.
I’ve hiked a lot of mountains over the years – out west, Maine, and Vermont – but this was my first time in the White Mountains, and I’m hooked. Only 46 peaks to go until I can join the AMC 4000 Footer Club.
Leanna picked me up at 6:30am and by 9:30 we started up Falling Waters trail to the summit of Little Haystack. Although standing high at 4780 feet above sea level, this mountain does not qualify as a “4000 footer” because of “it’s lack of vertical prominence.” Imagine my disappoint when I learned this.
We quickly learned how falling waters trail got it’s name. To come upon these falls on the way up truly provided a breathtaking, awe inspiring experience.
The hike up was technical – full of rocks and steep inclines. I love going up so I didn’t mind. Especially when we arrived at a clearing, turned around and saw this – Canon Mountain from Falling Waters Trail.
About 3 hours after our start we arrived at our first summit – Little Haystack. In the distance you’ll see our second peak Mt Lincoln.
Oh and we did some yoga. Tired legs + heavy boots + hungry = not so easy to do tree pose!
From Little Haystack we took the Franconia Ridge Trail on to Mt. Lincoln at 5089 feet, before arriving at our third and final peak for the day, Lafayette. Lafayette stands tall at 5260 feet above sea level offering 360 degrees second to none. Below you can see the peak of Lafayette as we walk the ridge trail.
The view from Lafayette includes famed Mt. Washington, the highest peak you see in the distance. The temperatures at the top were much cooler than when we started. Always be prepared for weather changes!
And more yoga. See you can take yoga anywhere!
The proud hikers.
Cool things we saw along the way.
This funky tree root as we approached the end of our hike.
8 hours and 9 miles after we started, we exited the trails and entered the parking lot.
Admittedly, I much prefer going up than down. Down is so much harder on my knees and my feet. Needless to say, by the end of our four mile descent we were both feeling tired and sore. I speak for myself when I say I felt hungry and a bit cranky, too.
That aside, the day was a success. The weather couldn’t have been better, sunny skies, with just enough cloud coverage so as not to overheat. The cold breeze at the top made me happy that I brought a windbreaker and gloves.
In all, my spirit felt good, my mind was clear and my body, well it was used to the max.
And that is feel good living.
We all have different interests. What experiences do you engage in that test your mind, body and inner self, while testing your confidence and personal limits?
Preparation and knowledge are the key to a successful hike. Know the conditions of the mountain top and bottom, bring enough food, water, and safety gear “just in case” and never underestimate Mother Nature. Travel with a friend and always let someone else know where you plan to hike. Here’s a quick list of what I brought with me to the White Mountains:
Trail food: apple, banana, granola bar, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, almonds, water
Gear: Leather, water proof boots, wicking top (to keep sweat away), sock liners and wool socks, hat, gloves, wind breaker, first aid kit, hiking pants with zip off legs (turn to shorts), camera, backpack with water bladder, open mind and positive attitude!