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.

Stacey at waterfall

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.

View of Canon Mtn 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.

mt lincoln from little haystack

Oh and we did some yoga. Tired legs + heavy boots + hungry = not so easy to do tree pose!

Stacey 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.

Ridge trail to lafayette

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!

view of mt washington

And more yoga. See you can take yoga anywhere!

The proud hikers.

stacey and leanna top of lafayette

Cool things we saw along the way.

cool view

This funky tree root as we approached the end of our hike.

tree root

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.

Stacey finished hiking

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!

Where to buy gear.  Most of my gear comes from REI or LL Bean. EMS is a great location, and for wick away clothing almost any sporting goods store will do.

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  • http://www.jungleoflife.com/ Lance

    Amazing views and scenery!!! And – what a way to get out there and really experience the magnificence! Hiking is such a fun way to experience the nature all around us…

  • Leanna

    You can speak for both of us about being hungry and cranky at that point!

    It was an amazing hike, but I realized that just like an army marches on its stomach, so does a hiker. I need to do much more fueling early in the day next time, so that the kcals are in my body, not my backpack!

    And don’t forget that we brought our hiking poles, which saved me a few times from twisted ankles and tweaked knees.

  • Judy

    Great pictures! Glad you had a good day!

  • http://therealestguy.com ontay johnson

    I had my first real hike this weekend in LA at Runyon Canyon, thought it wasn’t going to be much since I run and this was mostly walking…Wrong! All incline and then we ran the decline down and that was fun but hikers get mad props from me. Nice pics and dope blog!

  • http://infiniteyogaandreiki.com Peggy


    It looks like you had a spectacular day! I LOVE our mountains in New Hampshire!!


  • http://staceyshipman.com Stacey Shipman

    Lance – Hiking has become a favorite activity of mine over the years. I love it!

    Leanna – Poles! Yes, they saved me (I think!) on the way down. Thanks for inviting me, can’t wait to go again.

    Hi Judy – Thanks! I should have karaoked at the top and video taped it for you :-)

    Hi Ontay – thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Yes, hiking is tougher than it sounds or looks. Congrats to you on your first hike!

    Peggy – I totally forgot I was in “your country”…maybe we can have a meet up in the White Mountains! You are lucky!

  • http://www.workhappynow.com Karl Staib – Work Happy Now

    Those pictures are breathtaking. Now that I live in Austin I’m not able to access mountains very easily unless I’m willing to take a long car ride. And I mean loooooong. Not that I’m jealous or anything. :)

    Looks like you set yourself up to have an amazing experience. I think the set-up helps prepare a person for the mental and physical challenge.

  • Scott R. Lawrie

    Great pictures and sounds like you both had a great time!

    As for the Falling Waters trail it is an amazing difference depending upon the time of year. My brother and I have done this loop many times and the summer and fall are a nice trickle effect compared to April when it becomes a roaring, sure to soak your lower half, river.

    Have fun!

    • http://staceyshipman.com Stacey Shipman

      Hi Scott, Good point about the waterfalls. I feel lucky we hit it when we did. It wasn’t crashing toward us, but flowing quite nicely nonetheless. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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