Friday, June 24, 2016

52 With a View hike #2 - Welch-Dickey Loop

Yesterday I ventured out to do my second hike from the 52 With a View list, this time the Welch-Dickey loop.  This one actually covers two peaks - Welch Mountain and Dickey Mountain.  The website says it is a 4.4 mile round-trip.  My Garmin registered over 5 miles.  It took me 5-1/2 hours.  I am old and slow, but I did it!

I took Zoey with me this time.  She is far more friendly, and definitely more agile and athletic than Penny.  She also wanted to go with me, and Penny most decidedly did not want to get in the car, so Zoey won.  With a bit of adjustment the pack fit adequately.

I found another hiker report recently, though, with reference to someone who creates custom-fit harnesses and dog packs.  If I ever get around to doing a long-distance hike with one of my dogs, I think I would definitely go with a custom fit, for the dog's comfort.  The packs are made by Groundbird Gear.

It was about an hour and a half drive to the trailhead.  Temps were very comfortable at the start, and it did not get uncomfortably hot at all - maybe because I was up in the mountains.  The first 1/3 or so of the trail is a truly delightful woods walk, past lots of water, in the trees, easy trail with some stone steps, rocks and roots.  The first set of views is when you emerge onto the Welch ledges.  On the way up I met a hiker with a dog named Max.

Max is a mix of Australian Shepherd, Chow and Corgi.  He was delightful!

Once we reached the ledges I stopped for pictures, and we met another dog - an 8 month old Springer Spaniel named Molly.

I thought I was at or near the top at that point, but I was very mistaken!  The next section of the hike continued with a lot of steep uphill - rock slabs, climbing giant boulders, and hoping that around the next corner was not another steep uphill slab!  (And it usually was.)  We finally reached the top of Walsh Mountain, and met a few other hikers.

From the top of Walsh, you can see across to Dickey.  There is no down from there without going over Dickey as well.  (At that point I was wishing for an elevator back to the parking lot.)  A couple of times I had to lift Zoey up by the harness onto some of the ledges and boulders, but for the most part she was really awesome.  This is from Dickey, looking back at the top of Walsh.

Dickie wasn't nearly as hard as Walsh, but was still mostly rock slab.  After that it was (mostly) down, back to the parking lot - still over 2 miles.  There were two brief boulder climbs on the way down.  We saw a few more people on the way back - they passed us on the descent.  (Did I mention I'm slow?)  We also saw quite a few cairns marking the trail on the way back.  My Fitbit recorded 17,000 steps and 134 flights of stairs.

I posted a brief scenic video taken from the Welch Mtn ledges to YouTube.

Now to plan the next hike!  I think it may be Mt Roberts, and I'm planning to get pictures of as many hiking dogs as I can!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Jigsaw Puzzle finished

Just finished this jigsaw puzzle.  It is from Ravensburger, "Doors of the World", 1000 pieces.  It took me about 4 days.

This is the second one I've done in the last 2 weeks.  The first one was "Mucho Cars", a 500 piece puzzle.

I picked up this one at a bookstore on impulse.  A friend had posted a finished jigsaw puzzle on Facebook, and I really liked it.  I found a bunch of puzzles for sale less expensively on Craigslist, and bought a dozen.  Doors was one of those.  One or two of those puzzles may be missing a piece or two, but I'm willing to take my chances.

Upon investigating further, I found that jigsaws are available in many of the genre that I especially like in cross stitch and other designs.  I actually have a 3000 piece "Olde World Map" puzzle (another Ravensburger, I believe) that I picked up about 2 years ago, because I like the print.  I have since picked up another that I really like - Forum Romanum, 2000 pieces.  Those two, and quite possibly several others, I would like to make up and frame.  I enjoy the challenge of assembly, and my eyes are just no longer good enough to do extensive cross-stitch without lighted magnification (and that's just tiring).  I think the jigsaw puzzles are a good substitute - at least until my next knitting, spinning or quilting obsession.  It seems each has their turn.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

52 With a View - Mt Kearsarge, June 4

52 With a View is a series of hikes in New Hampshire that have great views.  If you do all of the hikes, you can get a patch.  There are several websites with details of the hikes - hiking reports, how to get to the trailheads, length of trails, height, level of difficulty (very subjective!), whether or not dogs are allowed, etc.  Over the last year or so I have come across two books that deal with the 52 With a View hikes.  The first is Nancy Sporborg's "It's Not About the Hike."  The second was initially found at a Christmas Fair, being sold and autographed by the author, Dan Szczesny, is called "The Adventures of Buffalo and Tough Cookie."  (There's also one called "Up: A Mother and Daughter's Peakbagging Adventure", by Patricia Herr, but that one deals with a different group of hikes - NH's 48 4000-footers.)

I decided that I wanted to begin tackling these hikes, and I'm going pretty much by the order and list given in the Buffalo & Tough Cookie book (so far).  Yesterday Penny and I headed out to do the Mt Kearsarge hike.  Penny is an excellent hiker, no pulling up or down, and waits patiently for her very slow mom, although she could use a few lessons in manners.  She growled at a lot of people, and barked at all the other dogs.  She did get to meet a couple of dogs, and met a few people she liked.  I'm hoping that with more exposure she will come to appreciate the opportunity to meet new people and dogs.  I admit she was insufficiently socialized.  Right after we got her, we began a long and rigorous process to get our grandson from foster care in another state, and didn't spend nearly enough time with her.  We will work together and I'm sure she will improve.  I'm sure she enjoyed the hike, anyway, and look forward to hiking more with her.

We started from Rollins State Park, and left the parking lot on the Rollins Trail.

The top!  This was our first summit, at the top of the Rollins Trail.  We then continued down the Barlow Trail, to Winslow State Park, and back up to the summit via the Winslow Trail.   We did stop at the park for lunch - peanut butter sandwich, which I shared with Penny, and lots of water, and some dog treats.  There were two other couples in the picnic area, and Penny was very friendly with them.

This is heading down the Barlow Trail.  It is longer (1.7 miles) but less steep than the Winslow Trail (1.1 miles) and I decided that a steep trail was better to go up, because of my knee.  Going down is much more impact so I wanted the less-steep trail (fewer opportunities to fall!).  It was probably the right call, but Winslow would have been difficult either way.

At the bottom, after we had our lunch break in the Winslow Park picnic area, before heading back up.

It was a LOT of UP.

The map created by my Garmin.  The mileage markers are not accurate.  Where it says "3, 4, 5, 6" it should say "1, 2, 3, 4."  My fitbit recorded 15,600 steps and 81 flights of stairs.

This is Penny on part of the Winslow Trail.  Such a good girl!  We did run into another Aussie, a big blue merle male named Atlas.  He was gorgeous!  Lots of other dogs.  I think I may try to get pictures of the dogs next time.  I enjoyed meeting them all!  There was one fabulous black Standard Poodle I admired greatly as well as several awesomely beautiful mixed-breeds.

So our hike #1 for 52 with a View is done!  The view was indeed magnificent!  Even though I am tired and sore, it can only get better from here.  I look forward to the next one!