Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays all! If you have any snow nearby, throw it for a dog!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cold One

It's been pretty cold lately at about 20-21 degrees all day with winds gusting around 15-20 mph. That basically keeps things at a nice steady state of, oh say... zero.

Cold Winter Hike

Bored to death lately with Christmas shopping mania, wrapping, and cookie making (which for the record I have absolutely no self control)-- Misty and I decided to have a ladies hike. She was thrilled that old Adam-yak wasn't around to slow us down.


Above treeline the gusts were even stronger--- so I don't have any summit pics today. Too cold to get those gloves off!

On Our Way Up

Monday, December 21, 2009

Massive Storm Hits the East Coast

And this is all we got in the North Country.

Fresh Tracks

An inch maybe five max. Pretty boring.

The Fresh Snow Sans Coats

The dog is truly in heaven though. She thinks a few inches of snow rocks just as much as one foot.

Can you spot her?

This cracks me up though. Can you spot her? That's how she looks when stalking squirrels.

Can you spot her?

Here's a close-up, because apparently black and white spots act as camouflage in the winter.

Winter Hiking Series: Why Winter Hike

If you've been thinking about doing more winter hiking, especially above treeline stay tuned for my new how-to series about winter hiking. A few weeks ago, I posted 10 Winter Hiking Tips to start you off. I plan to continue the series with: traction basics, above treeline tips, eating, drinking, and being merry while winter hiking and more! So stay tuned.

To fire up our Winter Hiking Series--- let's start with reasons to hike in the winter. Sure you may go out for casual jaunts in the winter months, but I challenge you to take it up a notch and find a peak that suits your skills and fitness level.

Less crowds

This is one of the main reasons I like to get out and hike in the winter. The parking lots are near empty, the summits are barren, and the dog can run wild along the trails.

Less biking

For me I bike a lot less in the winter. Save for a few warmer days (like 30 to 40 degrees) I mainly ride on the bike trainer. Although I heard you readers! Many of you are out biking all winter long. Rock on! And I swear I'll be biking more in the colder months myself soon. You'll are very inspiring :)

Anyways- less biking equals more hiking for me- especially in the winter months.

The silence

The silence sort of goes hand-and hand with less crowds, but certainly deserves its own mention. The silence of a winter hike is unbeatable. After a fresh snowfall you can even hear clumps of snow falling off the trees.

More animal sightings

I tend to come across more animals in the winter months. Obviously not many of the hibernating kind, but the snow makes it easier to spot tracks and often I come across more critters because of this. It probably has a lot to do with the less crowds thing too.

It's harder

Add several inches of fresh snow, extra layers in the pack, and challenging temperatures and your easy summer hike becomes much more of a challenge.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Almost Lost

Face flushed, legs shaking a bit, scenarios running through my mind---- we were about to be completely lost.

"This is really stupid," I kept thinking.

Really, really stupid. Of all the places we've been. Of all the snow swept peaks we've made it back down, all the winding trails we've figured out with no map and this is where we would be spending our first unexpected night.

After a long day of hiking in nearby Point Reyes National Seashore, we pitched a tent in a nearly deserted state park just to the north. It was the off-season for California, which really means it is the to-go season if you come from New England like we do. April is cold for Californians as my west coast living brother informed us.

We pitched our lonely tent and decided to visit the dunes before we made our dinner and before the sun set. I grabbed my camera and we headed up the dunes. The trails wove all over, with frequent trail intersections every four to five feet. I thought I was paying attention to the direction we had been heading. I stopped and looked back at each intersection like I always do.

Camping Near Sonoma

Picture from before we realized that we were lost

We took some photos before the sun set and turned back to have our dinner. We quickly lost track of our rights and lefts. Seriously, every intersection looked exactly the same, grass and sand- grass and sand- more grass and sand.

"Cute," I thought. Not only do we not have a headlamp, but we hadn't eaten and no one knew where we were. While we eventually made it to our tent that night- we had made a ton of classic mistakes. Like tell someone where you are going, when you'll be back, bring food, water and extra clothing, know your route--- the list goes on.

A friend of mine had a similar almost-situation when she and her husband decided to explore a trail in their backyard. Yes, their backyard. While they are quite experienced hikers, they soon became lost and it started to rain. Soaked and exhausted they finally made it home nearly five hours later.

It's those incredibly easy outings that perhaps are the most threatening. I always figured the first time that I would get really lost would be out in the woods somewhere. Not in some random network of dunes in California.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Reasons I Still Haven't Set Up my Bike Trainer

With the recent snows and dropping temperatures it is really time to get serious about riding my bicycle on the bike trainer. But serious is always something that I've had a little problem with. Here are the reasons I have yet to set up my bike trainer

Reasons I Haven't Set up my Bike Trainer

  • The animals have taken to sleeping directly where the trainer is destined to go. And I don't know about you, but I'm not messing with that gigantic cat. He's like twice the size of Misty's in that photo.
  • I can't find my spare skewer.
  • I can't find anything on the television that would go with a one hour bike session.
  • I can't seem to accept that most of the trails are now snow covered.
  • Spinning your wheels in the living room is nothing like spinning your wheels on the road with the wind in your hair.
Okay, fess up. What are the reasons you haven't either set up or been on your bike trainer?

Out and About

Ouch! It's 8 degrees out right now with a windchill factor in the minus digits. It's really hurting and making me wonder where my face mask and ski goggles are off to.

Hiking this weekend, I realized after Misty has an initial freak-out and runs around a bit, she stays amazingly close. Here is some photographic evidence as well as some photos of the accident. The accident involves Adam-yak toppling over with my camera in his hand. Luckily he just made an incredible scene flinging snow this way and that and he is fine (and so is my camera!)

The Scene of the Accident

pointing out where he fell

The Scene of the Accident

the dog investigating it

She Walks This Close

and this is how close she really walks

She Walks This Close

She Walks This Close

It gets a little challenging with snowshoes because she is always stepping on them. Plus we're always flinging snow in her face.

She Walks This Close

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I spent the weekend procrastinating. You may have already read about it here, but I wanted to let you know that the procrastination continued on through Sunday evening. Yes, not a minute was spent on important things and instead the minutes were well spent.

We were out breaking trails in the fresh snow all weekend. It can be tough to get to several of our favorite haunts since the parking lots are seldom plowed. Often we are parking along side roads, hoping we don't get hit or towed. We also had to keep our adventuring pretty local this weekend, but I'm hoping next weekend we can whip out the sleds.

Misty Sniffing Out the Trail

Misty flippin loves the the white stuff. She bounds through it- in and around the trees, randomly pawing at it and biting at it. It's a blast to watch.

Signs on the Way

Lastly, this well placed little sign. Life Seems to Need Us. I wish it said Life Seems to Need This.

Family Fun Weekend

We've been out having a family fun weekend. Just the three of us- Adam-yak, Nuggets, and me.

Family Photo

We shouldn't have been out having fun this weekend though. I should have been doing a slew of other thing. Important things. Like these things:
  • Report writing
  • Vacuuming
  • Cleaning the kitchen
  • Making or buying things for Christmas
  • Determining the fundamental frequency if given a wavelength and the speed of sound
  • Ya know boring stuff like that
Instead here is what we did do:
  • Went hiking everyday
  • Watched Nuggets run in circles because she loves the snow
  • Took photos
  • Drank hot chocolate
  • Watched Elf... um twice
And you know what? I kind of don't mind that I slacked off. All that other stuff is still going to be there, waiting for me to get to it.

Hope you all had a fun weekend!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wool: Pros and Cons

Earlier this week I posted reasons that I've recently gone wooly. In that post I revealed to you several important things about both myself and wool. One is that I like wool clothing. Two is that I have sweaty feet-- and thus I wear wool socks so they don't feel so sweaty. Three is that I have some shirts that smell-- and thus I now wear wool shirts to prevent the odor.

Now, you may be wondering is does Betty Mountain Girl have any other useful information to disburse or is she basically describing the reason why she didn't make it into a college sorority? In fact I do! There are even more reasons why to wear wool than those I described. I've compiled a list of pros and cons to help you decide if you should join the wooly clan.

Wearing Wool

Misty Wearing Some Wool- okay they're just my Smartwool Socks


It keeps you warm.

It's old school warmth. For years explorers, skiers, and wood stackers have stayed warm by wearing wool.

It's water resistant

Basically, the outer layer of wool has it's own waxy coating providing some water resistance.

It's odor-resistant

Umm... I think I've gone into that one enough.

It's flame resistant

That's a new one for me. Never tried it, just sort of taking Ibex's word for it.

It's sustainable

Wool regrows. That's a wonderful thing. Plus, have you ever heard the process to make synthetic materials? It involves a lot of machinery using a lot of energy.

It's biodegradable

Whereas that synthetic material will be around for way, way too long.

-------------------------- --------------------


Be careful washing

Even though there has been drastic improvements to prevent shrinking, I still sometimes get some shrinkage. Plus, always pulling it out of the laundry can be a pain.

They don't wick quite as well as synthetics

I don't know the exacts on this one, but I do know that wool does wick- just not as well as synthetics.

The Dog's List

The dog is insisting on the following from Santa. I've had to put my foot down against the Doggles though.

Some tasty, meaty treats from the Urban General.

If you haven't stumbled across doggles yet than you're in for a freaky surprise. Yes, it stands for dog plus goggles-- equaling doggles. I think they're pretty funny, but Misty won't ever be wearing them (okay maybe just for some hilarious photos, but that's it!)

Some other items I spotted on Misty's X-mas list:

  • A dog tag with her phone number on it from here
  • A pair of boots for above treeline summits this winter from here
  • A fresh dog bed from Walmart (she stinks those up fast!)
  • Need some more dog ideas? Try Phetched a wonderful dog blog.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dear Santa

Photo from JoeyLu

Dear Santa:

Remember that pink bike I was eyeballing a few months ago? No problem because I've included a picture of it here (see above).

I found this beautiful vintage bike- touched up with all this great pink fabulousness. I mentioned to someone who says that they know you and they said they would get word to you. I would really, really like a vintage blue (or silver!) bike with pink wheels and tires and pink tape around the handlebars.

I'm just a little worried since I haven't seen your, um, little helper working on a bike these past few months and, well, Christmas is right around the corner. If this may have slipped your mind- no worries! You could always, say, start working on such a bike and get it to me for Valentine's Day.

Just sayin.

I hope that the pay-back I dished out for being toilet papered camping this summer isn't influencing your decision this year. Or that the extra canned good that I snuck into Misty's backpack on my last hike hasn't made you think twice about that pink bike.

Anyway looking forward to X-mas and a few days off,


Top Ten Hiking Rules

I don't know about you, but I've always been a rule breaker. In fact, I've found that it is just the idea of someone telling me what to do that makes me want to break the rule. So if you are like me, you should take these rules as suggestions.

Read yesterday's post about ten winter hiking tips. These are ten general hiking tips.

Out of Focus Hike

Tell someone where you are going

Alright we all completely know this right? Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. I actually abide by this. All the time. I mountain bike alone frequently, so I've run into mechanicals that I can't fix and have gotten really, really lost enough times to require a pick up.

One time I told my boyfriend that I was going mountain biking and that I would be back or give him a call saying I was all done by 2 p.m. After my bike ride I decided to do some last minute Christmas shopping and then visit a friend. I came home at around 8 p.m. to a very worried Mr. Mountain Man .

"Where the heck have you been?" he asked.

"Oh crap, I forgot to call. Oh my gosh did you call the police?" I asked.

Turns out he didn't. I was pretty mad. I could have been out there with a broken leg waiting for Mountain Man to call in the troops. Mr. MM said he should have called, but so should have I. Moral of the story. If you tell someone where you are going and when you'll be back, tell them what to do when you don't get back on time. And for yourself. Remember to check back in!

Be Calculated

This one is a little harder for me to describe. Here goes... If you are going to try out a new trail or mountain that you haven't been on before be very calculated. Read lots of maps and check out online if there are any funky trails/parking lot/river things going on that might impede your day. Don't try a new mountain after a fresh snowfall. Don't come down an unfamiliar trail in the dark. Try new trails and such, but be sure to only have one different variable at a time (eg. fresh snow, unfamiliar trail, night hike, new hiking partner, kids on hike, etc.)

Family of Boots

Have Multiple Ways to Start Fire

If you bring waterproof matches, also bring a zippo, and some treated cotton balls and a flint and a... you get the point. Have a bunch of different ways to start a fire. If you are hiking in a group everyone should be carrying several ways to start a fire.

Bring Extra Clothes

Extra layers for summiting or unexpected stops. Bring a hat, gloves, rain gear, and extra socks even on the warmest summer day.

Bring Extra Water and Ways to Get Water

Bring more than enough water and at least one or two other ways to treat water. In case you have to spend the night unexpectedly you should have a stove which you can use to boil water. A water filter, iodine, or other water treatment methods are also nice backups.

Bring a Map/Compass and Know the Terrain

This is so important and the most frequently broken rule. Take this scenario. If you are heading to a mountain that you have hiked before you might think- I don't need a map. What happens if you make a wrong turn down a trail and realize it two hours too late? If you have map there may be another route back you can take.

Maps help for emergency ways back down to roads too. One icy cold winter day my friend Sonya and I planned a ten plus mile hike over several small peaks. We were heading up the second mountain when her hip started to bother her. By the time we summited she was barely hobbling along and we needed a bail out plan. We whipped out the map and tried to head down a tiny side trail to a road where we could arrange a pick up. Without the map we would have truly been in a pickle.

Bring Light

Bring a headlamp or if you are old-school a flashlight. I've been on way too many accidental night hikes. They're very useful to have in the backpack. Extra batteries doesn't hurt either.

Bring a First Aid Kit

A few basic supplies and a little ingenuity can manage most outdoor issues.

Bring a few Mountain Girl Supplies

Here are a few things in my hiking backpack and my camelbak for long trips. A multi-tool/ pocket knife---endlessly useful. Duct tape either wrapped around a pen (for emergency writing-jk) or a water bottle. Duct tape is also endlessly useful.

Emergency Shelter

I don't always bring my lightweight tent, but if I need to spend the night I always have ideas and options. I keep a small tarp in my backpack that I've had to whip out on a few backpacking trips. I also know I can use a combination of my extra clothing and gear and a few pine boughs to get the job done. Taking a quick survival class that covers emergency shelters should make you feel a little better about this one.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Top Ten Winter Hiking Tips

Piper Mountain

I'll admit that the first two months of winter are pretty fun. As you may have read in a previous post, we get some mountain sledding in and a little bit of winter hiking. Here are some of my top ten favorite tips.

Bring Extras

Bring extra hats, extra mittens, extra water, extra base layer, extra everything. When conditions get dangerously cold having back ups becomes crucial. I've had hats fly off on top of a mountain (for real!), water bottles freeze shut, or my feet get soaked enough times to always carry extras.

Put Hot Water in your Water Bottle

Put hot water in your water bottle for day hikes and overnight trips. Hot water will take longer to freeze as you hike during the day. Also, it's great at keeping you warm in the tent.

Insulate your Water Bottle

Insulate your water bottle with either a zip water bottle insulator or with an old pair of wool socks.

Put your Water Bottle in Upside Down

Are you sick of water bottle tips yet? You can see where my main concern goes in the winter. If you put your water bottles in the sides of your backpack put them in upside down. This keeps the screw-on top away from the elements, which keeps it from freezing shut.

Bring an Extra Camp Stove or Food

I went on a group backpacking trip up Mt. Madison once and only one stove out of five worked. It sucked. It would have sucked even more if we had only one stove to begin with. Cold, really really cold weather can cause even the best stoves to have problems.

Avoid Getting too Hot

When your freezing your buns off you want to be warm right? Me too, but the trick is keeping yourself from becoming too hot. If you get too hot, you'll start to sweat and even if dressed appropriately being soaked in sub-zero temperatures stinks. I like to keep just a little bit chilly vs. hot and sweaty on my hikes.

Undress Quickly

If you are stopping for an extended period of time, it doesn't hurt to get out of your wet or slightly damp clothes as soon as possible.

Start Early

Start really really early. Almost every good size winter hike should start in the dark, because inevitably something will take longer than expected. Longer drive, longer hike, deeper than expected snow. It's better to be in the dark when you are still feeling fresh, both mentally and physically than when you're tuckered out.

Keep an Eye Out on the Summit

There are a thousand reasons you should be keeping your eyes peeled on the summit. The one I'd like to point out for winter hiking is to keep an eye on the trail that you summited on. Winter- the snow and ice- makes the tops of even familiar mountains look foreign. Add a few dozen tracks leading this way and that and you might just wander back down the wrong side of the mountain. Let's stay away from doing that one.

Abide by the Ten Most Common Hiking Rules

I'm not sure I've ever posted about these. You'll have to check back in for those. Hey, did you know you can subscribe to my blog via email? Sign up to the left. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Reasons to Swear

F$#%, S#$%, D#$%

It's finally been proven! Swearing helps you avoid pain.

It is completely hysterical really. Researchers had students dunk their hands in icy cold water and swear or dunk their hands and not swear. Apparently the ones who swore felt less pain. (read the article here)

I knew there must have been some psychological reason I suddenly had a potty mouth when racing mountain bikes.


This is Misty dropping an F-bomb because of the icy cold snow. Apparently she's been reading the same research.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Fresh Covering

This is her fav

We've been so busy lately. Busy with boring things that really don't matter. Such as typing endless reports and papers. Driving to and from the city. And being generally silly with boring real-life stuff.

I was happy when I looked out the window and found this fresh covering. We've had snow in the mountains for weeks, but this is the first snow for us sub-mountain dwellers.

This is her fav

Snow is Misty's absolutely most favorite thing. She's from Tennessee originally, so it is kind of weird that she likes this white stuff. Yes, she wears a jacket when it is down right frigid. I've had several dogs before, but none shiver as badly as she does when the weather hits the teens. Plus, she loves to hike above treeline in the winter.

This is her fav

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Do Great Things This Winter

It's a nice idea isn't it? Do great things this winter sounds like a lot of fun. Only problem is- I sort of dislike winter. I think this mainly stems from not skiing while living in prime ski country. Sure I do my fair share of winter hiking, snowshoeing, and a little cross country skiing, but it's not really enough to keep me same.

So this winter I'm making plans to actually have more outdoor fun starting with these to-do's:

Hike a little 21 mile trail in one day

I actually already hiked this trail from beginning to end several years ago, but I cheated a little (I'm not telling where!). I've always felt a little guilty about claiming this feat to my records- so I'm planning a redo in January/February. It's much easier to hike the trail in the winter, because all the rocks are covered in snow allowing you to just slide down sections.

Hike up three mountains and then sled down them

The past few years Adam and I (and Misty!) have taken to hiking mountains with access roads and then sledding down them. It's wicked fun, but I think it's time we expanded our current list of haunts into newer mountains.

Enter a snowshoe race

I'm not sure why I've added this to my list since I don't really consider myself much of a runner, it just seems like fun.

Try biking in the snow

It's really ridiculous isn't it? I've never really mountain biked in the snow before. Once or twice I've tooled around someone's driveway, but never really spun through the woods on an actual trail in the winter.

What's your plans? How will you stay sane this winter?

Why I’ve Gone Wooly

I’ve recently gone to the wooly side of things. If you haven’t noticed- more and more companies have been making wool outdoor clothing. So what’s with wool you ask? Let me start this wool series with why I’ve gone wool. Later this week I’ll feature some of the wool’s more technical characteristics.

My first wooly

I first started going wooly while I was working at an outdoor retailer about six years ago. My boss constantly touted how nice Smartwool socks felt and handed out free pairs left and right. Finally I was able to land a pair and I’ve gone back. They were perfect for someone with admittedly sweaty feet. Do you know how nice a fresh pair of socks feels midday? That’s how Smartwool socks feels all day long. Never mind the fact that they are wonderful at reducing blisters while hiking. (I also really like Darn Tough socks for winter hiking.)

Camping Socks

It lasts longer

I started adding more wool to my outdoor clothing wardrobe more recently. I started to get fed up with shirts that started to smell bad after only a few months of wear. I don’t want to fork over a lot of money for a shirt that has to be chucked after such a short bit of time. Many clothing manufacturer’s like Ibex, Icebreaker, and Smartwool have focused on doing wool apparel really well and it’s worth the spend.

So now you’ve learned several important things about me:

I like wool clothing.
I have smelly feet
Some of my shirts smell.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's Not About the Gear

We've all fallen into the "gear trap" before. Thinking about how if you just had that titanium accessory, that ultra-light wheel set, those new cycling shoes you would be that much better of a mountain biker. The gear trap is going on a hike or backpacking and thinking it would be a better hike if you just had that fancy backpack with those fancy strap do-hickey’s and that sweet soft shell.

I’ll admit to falling into the gear trap myself. I worked for a local outdoor retailer and stocked up much more than my fair share of pro-deals. I managed to acquire three soft shells, three top-of-the-line rain jackets, and four- yes- four pairs of hiking boots in less than six months. That’s a jacket a month!

Skipping Rocks

When I switched jobs I also had to kill off my crazy gear habit. I felt like I barely escaped a full blown cocaine habit. I had some new gear withdrawals, some pains when I saw the newer soft shells and the newer ultra-light technology.
But… having lived the outdoor life on both sides of the track I have to say it as honestly and as nakedly as possible. It’s not about the gear.

It’s not about the mountain bike

It’s not about the sweet frame. It’s not about the snazzy pink grips, the lightest pedals, the sleekest wheels. When I first started riding it was on a rigid frame two sizes too big and probably weighed close to 50 pounds. My next bike had front suspension and clipless pedals- and I thought I had hit the big time. Since then I’ve made some small upgrades here and there, but have essentially been riding the same type of bike- low/ low-mid range mountain bike for over ten years.

And you know what? I have no problem keeping up on group rides. I regularly pass the guys on $3000 bikes while racing. Now if a girl on a $500-$600 bike can pass a guy on a $3000 bike – then it’s not about the bike.

It’s about riding nearly every day. It’s about riding in the rain. It’s about riding when it’s muddy because who cares if my bike gets filthy-right?

It’s not about the gear

Okay- this might blurb may be a bit controversial to some but here goes. I used to spend a lot of time thinking that I needed crampons and the best snowshoes in order to go winter hiking. I saved and I saved and I put off hikes because I didn’t have the gear. Now I have crampons and snowshoes (the fancy steep grade ones) and you know what? I hardly use them! I hike in the winter all the time, mainly on mid-moderate sized peaks in the Whites (think winter hiking in the Moats vs. Mt Washington) and there’s one thing I always bring with me. It’s not snowshoes or crampons (which I use maybe 3-5 times a year) it’s those cheap $20 Yaktrack things.

It’s not the size of your boat

I worked with a fellow gear junkie who I would call a kayak expert. He schooled me on the merits of fiber glass vs. plastic, nose shape and cockpit size. By the end of my tenure with him I was really convinced that I needed an ultra-light composite kayak and it would cost me around $3300.

Without a pro deal I had to budget and save and do my own research on kayaks under $1000. I ended up with the Calypso kayak and you know what? I take that thing everywhere- local lakes, rivers, wetlands. The green pickle is always roof side during the summer months. Sure I can’t take it out on the open ocean, but it’s much more realistic for me to throw it on my car and take it to the lake down the street.

It’s not about the kayak. It’s really about getting on the water and tooling around. It’s not fretting when you scratch over some unseen submerged rocks. It’s about the freedom of your own little boat.

It's just not about the gear

You’ll still see the occasional gear review on my blog- mainly because women need a reputable source for female specific gear reviews. But I want to make it known that for me; it’s not about the gear. I find it more refreshing to ride with a fellow biker who took her grips off her last bike because they felt better- not because they were the newest thing. Someone who’s discovered some vintage LL Bean polypropylene shirts that still cut it on winter hikes.

There will always be something about a soft shell with an elbow patch and sleeping bag bungeed to a pack that makes me smile.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Still Soaking

I'm still soaking. It's not from the incredibly wet summer we had, but rather I am still soaking in this last little jaunt with warm weather. The temperature is, let's see... about 56 degrees (okay I didn't guess that. I got it off the local weather channel) and I am ready for another weekend hike.

Skipping Rocks

Last weekend we hiked about two local mountains for an easy four mile round trip hike. That's me in short sleeves---- in November! Misty also got to spend a lot of time off leash since the hiking season for all the tourists has ended. That is the really good thing about New Hampshire. If you don't mind severe weather and some rugged conditions, the hiking only gets better in the fall and winter.

Nuggets on Morgan Hike

Morgan Hike

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mountain Girl Decor

Hope you don't mind if we take a step inside today. I thought that I would show off some of my Mountain Girl Decor. I love going to thrift stores and yard sales and have many collections. Here is a favorite collection, my vintage outdoor field guides.

The Guides

It really strikes me as funny that the name of one of those guides is Fishes.

The Guides

Here are some more guides including Guide to Animal Tracks (this one is very cool, I need to post some pages from it) and several bird guides. I really need a good guide for trees maybe even just trees from the Northeast.

Oh yes, in case you are wondering those are plastic animals. Yes, plastic animals under a cake stand.

The Guides

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fall May Be the Best Biking Season

Fall may be the best biking season because...

Trail Leaf

No Bugs

This needs to be addresses first because it is the most important quality about Fall. With the warm weather of summer comes the swarms of little buzzers biting at your legs as you try to perform the quickest flat tire fix of your life. Luckily those buzzers are long gone come Fall and you don't even have to deal with them. Nope. You don't have to preplan your stop breaks to be super efficient because of the ensuing onslaught. You can stop when you want. Have a snack. Check out that strange rock formation you've remarked about all summer.

Bike on Fall Trail

Perfect Temperature

Gone are the long hazy humid days of summer. Welcome are the temps in the 70s with a pleasant warming sun. Perfect.

The Fall Outfit Next to the Work Shoes

Not too few layers. Not too many layers. Just the right amount of layers. Only in Fall.

Dry Trails

New England riding has many great features- rock gardens, massive flocks of roots, and tight windy trails. Those same wonderful features become your nemesis when you add moisture. Considering this summer was like the wettest in history (or close to) I'm pretty sick of wet trails. I'll gladly take what Fall gives me.

New Rear Brakes

Dogs are Always Welcome

Another reason I dig Fall is because dogs are always welcome along. There's no worrying they'll overheating. There's no trying to keep the bugs off them (ha! you say- what foolishness is this? I swear the bugs were so thick this summer that Misty would regularly be accosted by swarms of 500 at any given moment). Also, it's a lot easier to grab a bite to eat afterwards since they can relax in your car and you don't have to worry about it being too hot.

Where is the trail?

I call this game- Where is the Trail? I play it frequently when I am out mountain biking or hiking in the fall. One second you have the trail, the next second you aren't quite sure which direction to go in. It gets even more fun to play at night with a headlamp.

Leaf Covered Trail

Oh, I think it is there by that tree.

Where is the Trail?

Where is the Trail?

Okay, not that tree. Maybe over there.

Where is the Trail?

Hmm... still looking...

Where is the Trail?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Biking in Warm Weather

Biking in warm weather, after several weeks of a frozen face and a drippy nose, is like jumping into the hot tub after swimming in the lap pool. It's completely shocking, but in a really great way.

We're having an unseasonal stretch of weather these days in New England. The temperature is in the 60's, the wind is surprisingly calm, and I am thinking that I could bike until February if this keeps up. Even my legs feel stronger, if only because they are warm enough to have blood circulating in them (ha!).

The bike beckoning

I know it can't last though. This last little summer like romp. They're predicting seasonal temps by the end of the week and I expect there will be a consistent and cold headwind along with that weather.

Until then, I'll be hot tubbing in New Hampshire.

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Rock Chair Garden

We went out for a quick two mile jaunt with Misty this weekend and stumbled upon another rock chair garden. You may remember that on our Fourth of July hike we also found some rock chairs. These newer ones are a bit smaller than those. Pint sized really. Maybe they were really made by gnomes...

Rock Garden

Baby Rock Chair

Rock Chairs

Rock Chairs