earthtrekblog

Adventures of Life


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Hiking – It’s not just for summer!

The wind whipped across the summit pulling and tearing at us, looking for any gap to sneak into and bite the flesh beneath.  The rocks lining the edge of the summit were polished with ice, an invitation to take a quick trip down.  Despite the harsh winds and treacherous ice, the surrounding land was breathtaking.  As we stood atop the summit of Mount Crawford we were all entranced by the beauty.  We paused, a group of adventurous women with our two canine companions, and soaked in the view.

How you know you're in the right place

How you know you’re in the right place

Ice lined the edge of the cliff

Ice lined the edge of the cliff

I think she might have blown away if I hadn't held her.  Last picture before we took off.

I think she might have blown away if I hadn’t held her. Last picture before we took off.

When hiking I trust Star to make smart choices about where she goes and what she does but just as any child would test boundaries as a method of defining their comfort zone so does Star (Yes I just compared your CHILD to my DOG!).  There are places where this testing is not allowed and when it involves an ice rimmed ledge and high winds I am happy to be the stubborn parent and keep my “child” away from the edge.

Pause in the wind allowed for a quick shot of the scenery

Pause in the wind allowed for a quick shot of the scenery

Unless there is a photo opportunity than by all means you should place your child close to the edge and tell them to stay put despite their discomfort with the situation.

She can't keep her tongue in her mouth!

She can’t keep her tongue in her mouth!

It was challenging to focus on getting pictures of the landscape as my attention was divided by the need to keep my dog safe, the bitter cold driving itself into the core of my being, and the intense winds which disrupted my subjects.  Despite all these factors I was able to nab a couple great shots.

Clear view from the summit

Clear view from the summit

Rime ice

Rime ice

 

Star trying to escape the wind only to have her ear filled with air and ice driven into her eyes

Star trying to escape the wind only to have her ears filled with air and ice driven into her eyes

Learning Curves:  It doesn’t matter if it is your first time or your hundredth time there is something to be learned on the trails.  When winter hiking you need to think about your water source.  I LOVE my camelback style water system, I don’t think I could EVER revert back to a simple water bottle.  While on this latest trip I discovered the tube leading from the water bag can freeze in minutes if it is not insulated.  The solution:  The blow back method!!!  After you drink you blow air back into the tube and force the water back to the bladder.  This is great!  I also learned a small amount of water will come back to the mouth piece and fill it causing everything to freeze, not so great!  If you take your mouth piece and feed it inside of your jacket (make sure the mouth piece is closed) you can keep it from freezing.  Yay!

Start of the hike and they are best friends!

Start of the hike and they are best friends! – Thanks for the photo Paula!

Water is not the only thing that can freeze.  Have you ever tried to eat a frozen granola bar?  Not a fun experience especially when you are REALLY hungry after a solid hike.  I packed myself a risky lunch of hardboiled eggs, Justin’s Almond Butter, and granola bars.  Next best trick to the “blow back” was to take a hand warmer and wrap it up with my food.  My hard boiled eggs were perfect for the eating although once they were out of my pack I only had minutes to eat them before they started to freeze.  Breaking a granola bar into pieces before your hike will help you even if it does freeze.  Grateful for good eats and good company upon the trail this day.  After our brief pause to enjoy lunch in a sunny wind free alcove we continued on our way.

Can you hear me now?!

Can you hear me now?! Paula taking a moment to snag a video panoramic

Susan making the final push to the summit!

Susan making the final push to the summit!

Without the rock cairns not sure we could have found our way.

Without the rock cairns not sure we could have found our way.

Denali looking adorable with snow dusting

Denali looking adorable with snow dusting

 

There is always time to snap some macro images

Snow covered lichen

Snow covered lichen

 

Birch curls

Birch curls

The truth to the beauty on the slopes - snow covered evergreens

The truth to the beauty on the slopes – snow covered evergreens

There are ways to end a hike and this was a perfect example!  We all made it down off the mountain tired and happy, what a remarkable day!

Evening Shadows

Evening Shadows

Sunset over a frozen Lake Chocorua

Sunset over a frozen Lake Chocorua

The best view of all – an exhausted dog!

Down for the count within minutes of getting in the car

Down for the count within minutes of getting in the car

 

 

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Appreciate what you have and where you’re going!

Present: My mind was already cranking predefined emotions through it as I placed my right foot on the 15 inch box; frustration, fear, and defeat.

Flashback: three weeks ago I received an email stating I had won a one month membership to CrossFit Bona Fide (www.crossfitbonafide.com).  The idea of doing crossfit was crazy but then again so was hiking the AT.  I had to start somewhere and better to start close to home than halfway up a mountain in GA.

Present:  Step Ups were on the board today for our workout.  The last time I’d tried to do Step Ups, three months ago, my knee had complained and crackled, and it was only a 7 inch rise.  So tonight it was understandable to feel a sense of defeat before I’d even begun.

When presented with a challenge I rarely back down.  On the count of three I took all the work and knowledge of the past two weeks and drove my foot down, pulling my knee back and tensing my glutes to bring my hips into alignment.  I was standing on top of the world in that moment!!!  I had stepped up 15 inches with no pain and enough effort to know I’d had to work to get there but I was solid!  All told I did over 30 Step Ups on my right leg that night – I felt as strong at the end as when I had started (for anyone who has gone through an injury you know just how exciting this is – to not feel the fatigue).

Stolen Picture -  gotta start somewhere

Stolen Picture – gotta start somewhere

Until recently I had been questioning just how smart my decision was to attempt the AT.  My knee was only a part of my concern.  When I was injured I went from a highly active life style of climbing on a high ropes course day in and day out to sitting on a couch… abrupt change in my physical activity caused there to be drastic change in my physique.  As I push myself in crossfit I am excited to see a change in my muscle tone already, just two and a half weeks out.  I am feeling VERY grateful for the trainers who work with me to adapt exercises and help me push forward to meet my own goals!  This preparatory work will make the difference of hiking the AT and enjoying the completion of AT.

When you can pull the hair back you're going in the right direction!

When you can pull the hair back you’re going in the right direction!

The last things which seem to be making this a truth rather than an idea:  Posted apartment as available for Sublet!  Started purging my belongings (If I haven’t used them in three months I don’t need them)!  Started the purchase of my gear!

Star watching over the purging - she's worried I'll put her out with the trash!

Star watching over the purging – she’s worried I’ll put her out with the trash!

 

 

 


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Sponsorship…

To anyone who is checking in to see if I got the sponsorship I have sad news

The disappointment!!

The disappointment!!

I did not make the final cut from 4o entries to 12 – but I did get a wonderful email from the main person with much encouragement and appreciation for my video.

Please feel free to vote for other contestants, the video links are at www.appalachiantrials.com

(located partway down the page with the headings “name” wants Badger sponsorship powered by LARABAR)

I would like to assist in any way I can for the fellow Thru Hikers!

 

I hope to also provide you with a link to my video by the end of the week, I feel that you should get a chance to enjoy my little blurb about the AT even though it’s not in the contest!!!

And here is my serious nature as I go through the emotions of the news I received at 2:30am this morning:

The shock!!!

The shock!!!

The contemplation

The contemplation

The Vengeance!!

The Vengeance!!

The acceptance!!!

The acceptance!!!


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Beach break… A pause in the heavy workload

You hit the end of the holidays, Christmas is over, New Years is over, and the Valentine’s candy is already gracing the shelves of the super market, all the anxiety and stress of getting through the “major” holidays is over, for a couple months.  And yet I have somehow managed to increase my stress level to record highs!

This whole journey of hiking the AT is no small potatoes, so I decided to enter myself in a contest for an opportunity to win a HUGE sponsorship package for my thru hike.  The contest seemed simple enough, make a video explaining: why you are thru hiking the AT, why you want the sponsorship, and why would you hike ALL 2189 miles!  (Here is where I apologize for not keeping up with blogging but I was buried under an assignment) As simple as these questions seem I was at a loss.  I know why I want to hike the AT and I know why I want the sponsorship (who DOESN’T want a sponsorship?!!!) but HOW do I put this into words without boring the viewer.  I spent days upon days coming up with a theme, a common thread to carry you through all 90 seconds of video.  With a less than 24 hours to shoot, assemble and post the rush was on — wonderful people stepped in to help with shooting the video and helping me overcome my technological ineptitude in assembling it.   At this point it has been sent in for review IF it makes it through the first batch of selection it will be posted tomorrow for viewer VOTING!

(Here is my shameless plug)  PLEASE CHECK IN TOMORROW FOR AN UPDATED BLOG POST WITH A LINK TO THE FACEBOOK PAGE WHERE YOU CAN VOTE FOR A FAVORITE VIDEO (PICK ME! PICK ME! and share with friends)

happy days

happy days

To unwind from this I took a day.  A day to get the camera out and just play!  So after much time spent indoors working on a laptop (which almost grew wings multiple times) I went to the beach.  Here is a photo story of the day – and I know they ALL look the same to you – but Star was enjoying herself as was I, so who’s to complain.

 

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Rye Beach, NH Looking out at Isle of Shoals and a tanker

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The bounce

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What’s a little water in January?

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Not even a moments hesitation!

HAPPY! HAPPY! HAPPY! HAPPY!

HAPPY! HAPPY! HAPPY! HAPPY!

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Look mom! I got it!

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The ever present tongue “photo bomb”

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More than an hour into our cold beach time and she was still at it!

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“you try eating that much sand and see what happens to you!”

 

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Forever happy with her ball! She may need to attend “chuck-it anonymous”

Pebble frozen in place

Pebble frozen in place

Love the view!

Love the view!

 


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A years journey through the lens

“It’s funny how day by day, nothing changes.  But when you look back, everything is different.” ~unknown

The past two years have been full of ups and down for me, new job opportunities, loosing loved ones, climbing mountains, going through knee surgery, and finding myself somewhere along the way.  Please join me for some of those moments while I take you down memory lane.
I have pulled photos from 2013 and 2014 – just to share the true depth of where I was and where I’m going!

***THIS BLOG CONTAINS PHOTOS SOME PEOPLE MAY FIND GRAPHIC***

My life would not be as fulfilling if I did not have my little sidekick with me.  Star has given me more than she will ever know.  She gave me a reason to find my feet again and she is a large part of my next journey.  Almost exactly a year from when I had my ACL replaced we made it out for our first BIG hike, Mt. Chocorua with almost a 3000′ elevation gain.

THE BEST PHOTO BOMB OF THE YEAR

can you spot the intruder?

can you spot the intruder?

JANUARY

Janu art disp

The book collection starts

The book collection starts

Yazhi and Kitchi just 6 weeks old.

Yazhi and Kitchi just 6 weeks old.

 

Winter Pebbles - iPhones can be impressive

Winter Pebbles – iPhones can be impressive

Quote 2

 

FEBRUARY

February brought great things!  I got my new and improved knee brace, this meant I had the ability to go out and do the things I really wanted to do and be less likely to seriously reinjure myself doing said things.

We were both so excited to have my feet under me!

We were both so excited to have my feet under me!

Sometimes I didn't stay on my feet - but Star was always there to look over me!

Sometimes I didn’t stay on my feet – but Star was always there to look over me!

Some things take you by surprise - the first wave did! Was pinned against a wall with water up to my knees.

Some things take you by surprise – the first wave did! Was pinned against a wall with water up to my knees.

Four months in to growing out the hair!  Time to make this FUN!

Four months in to growing out the hair! Time to make this FUN!

People wonder about me - I'm very special - but if you noticed I am wearing very good foot protection now!

People wonder about me – I’m very special – but if you noticed I am wearing very good foot protection now!

MARCH

True preparation for the AT begins - food storage a must

True preparation for the AT begins – food storage a must

March style

I moved over a ton of bricks during my time working on the house.  They were beautiful

I moved over a ton of bricks during my time working on the house. They were beautiful

APRIL

An afternoon of raindrop photography with my reversing ring

An afternoon of raindrop photography with my reversing ring

My VERY FIRST OFFICIAL HIKE SINCE KNEE SURGERY!!!

My VERY FIRST OFFICIAL HIKE SINCE KNEE SURGERY!!!

 

 

MAY

Exactly a year out from torn ACL and meniscus

My first steps on the AT!!!  I decided I had to make it back here and start in Georgia!  Almost a year to the day of actual injury

My first steps on the AT!!! I decided I had to make it back here and start in Georgia! Almost a year to the day of actual injury

No need to say more

No need to say more

JUNE

When you can't get out for the laughs they come to you!

When you can’t get out for the laughs they come to you!

 

Made it out for a day with the animals before I went under the knife

Made it out for a day with the animals before I went under the knife

PBJ is signed above my knee cap - they don't tell you how badly it hurts

PBJ is signed above my knee cap – they don’t tell you how badly it hurts

You can still make it out if you're determined!!! It was slow and not very far

You can still make it out if you’re determined!!!
It was slow and not very far

Enjoying the view from just under 4,000' This hike did me in for days :D

Enjoying the view from just under 4,000′
This hike did me in for days 😀

Sunset after an awesome day on Mt Chocorua

Sunset after an awesome day on Mt Chocorua

JULY

He's so cuddly!!!

He’s so cuddly!!!

This is how you prepare for a journey stack a ton of bricks!

This is how you prepare for a journey stack a ton of bricks!

Termite destruction in an 1800's house

Termite destruction in an 1800’s house

They had me come back in!

They had me come back in!

AUGUST

Second Art show for me!!! Go EARTH TREK PHOTOGRAPHY!

Second Art show for me!!!
Go EARTH TREK PHOTOGRAPHY!

Where you're still to sore to walk get the boat out!

Where you’re still to sore to walk get the boat out!

Rocking out all the up and coming styles!

Rocking out all the up and coming styles!

This pup likes to play hard and dress nice! Thank you RUFFWEAR for your donation to our hike!

This pup likes to play hard and dress nice!
Thank you RUFFWEAR for your donation to our hike!

Sometimes you get the right message at the right time

Sometimes you get the right message at the right time

SEPTEMBER

sept trillium

Sept sunset

sept field

sept skies

A day tromping through the waves playing with a full moon rising

A day tromping through the waves playing with a full moon rising

Sept Hedgehog mt

Sept hair

Sept work

OCTOBER

oct acadia bay 2013 copy

oct acadia 2013

Skiddy didn't want to be left out of the surgery party!

Skiddy didn’t want to be left out of the surgery party!

Oct ETdew on leaves

wpid-img_4382.jpg

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MY FIRST 4K!!!

Mt. Pierce - a true fairytale

Mt. Pierce – a true fairytale

Oct pierce macro

NOVEMBER

Feeling so blessed to have had the opportunity to capture this time for this strong and beautiful woman!

Feeling so blessed to have had the opportunity to capture this time for this strong and beautiful woman!

Nov CA

Nov CA macro

Nov CA Skyline

Loved my campsite

Loved my campsite

Not happy about bringing fleas to the puppy sitters

Not happy about bringing fleas to the puppy sitters

DECEMBER

California was hit with major rain while I was out there the river went from pushing out 500 CFS to 60,000 CFS of water over two days!!! The river rose 20 feet!

California was hit with major rain while I was out there the river went from pushing out 500 CFS to 60,000 CFS of water over two days!!!
The river rose 20 feet!

Dec seaweed

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Do you see the caterpillar?

Do you see the caterpillar?

Do you see the "water bear"?

Do you see the “water bear”?

 

HAPPY NEW YEARS!

HAPPY NEW YEARS!

Quote

 

There is so much to be done in the new year.  My journey has not ended but only just begun.

AT