Tuesday, July 31, 2012

L.L. Bean Gear Giveaway

In celebration of L.L. Bean's 100 years of exploring, L.L. Bean is giving away a custom prize package EVERYDAY. Tell them about the experience you've always wanted and they will pick a winner each day and outfit them with gear to help them get started!!

What would you do with the right gear? Would you start on a list of mountains to hike? Maybe finally go on that trip with someone? Or start a new sport you've always wanted to try?

Skipping Rocks

Visit L.L. Bean's site to get started!

Bicycle Frame Handle

Great idea

Monday, July 30, 2012

Vintage Campers

I may love me some rugged hikes, backpacking trips, and frankly, well, "real" camping, but I really really really love me some vintage campers. Ever since stumbling onto Sunset magazine's recent article about a Scotty vintage trailer I spend my time drooling.

Beatrice, our 1962 Mobile Scout!

Hiking the 4,000 Footers: Lafayette and Lincoln 7.14.2012

I have a history with the Franconia Ridge and Lafayette. It's over 5,000 feet and a good days hike up the (old Bridle to) Greenleaf trail. The summit is exposed for the last section of the trail and then the ridge itself is completely exposed until you summit Little Haystack and crawl back down below treeline.

Both Adam and I have hiked this peak before and we have hiked it together, but there was something about starting this list completely fresh that sounded enticing. 

Greenleaf Hut

The last time I climbed this mountain I was with a group for a local hiking club. It was winter and conditions were very harsh. When we reached treeline the wind kicked up to some of the fiercest I have ever encountered. Enough to blow me down regularly and completely change our gait as we summited Lafayette. 

Visibility had dropped as well and before we new it we had taken a wrong turn. Rather than going back down the Greenleaf Trail as we had intended we had turned and continued on to Garfield.

Conditions were so harsh that the wind and low temperatures found any exposed skin. I had a band around my waist for two weeks from the hike. Another had a white nose event. And a third had a white patch near her eye after finishing the hike.

We realized our error and trooped back down the way we had come, but it was the first time I had ever gotten turned around and slightly disoriented on a hike. I felt slightly better that I had screamed above the thundering wind to the trip leader that I though we were going the wrong way. He looked at me like I was entering shock and disagreed. I don't need to be right in an argument, but I do like being alive to have it. I realized after the hike that I should have followed my own knowledge and my own gut and said that we needed to turn around. If things had gotten any worse, we may have truly paid for me staying quiet.

Hiking up Lafayette

trail up Lafayette

Hiking up Lafayette

The day Adam and I hiked Lafayette this July was a stark contrast to my past memories. The temperatures were hot and humid and I only needed a tank top and shorts the entire ridgeline. Water was an issue for many hikers that we came across that  day. I had carried a 100 oz. camelbak and Adam carried three full water bottles (32 oz each). When we had reached Greenleaf hut we didn't refill because we felt like we still had plenty. Later I wished we had.

Franconia Ridge

Overall the trail conditions were great. It was very very very crowded the whole hike. Many times I felt like my pace was definitely being slowed down because of all the avoiding and stepping to the side we had to do to let large groups go by.

Franconia Ridge

The whole hike was around 8 ish miles. We were feeling it by the end of the hike mainly due to the hot temps, humidity, and dehydration (even though we pumped a TON of water on this hike). Definitely bring sunscreen and hat if you try this peak in the summer.

We saw Owl's Head nearly the whole hike. Owl's Head is considered the "death march" of the 4,000 footer club as it is an isolated peak down an 18 mile trail that doesn't officially have a trail to the summit. We literally can't wait to hike it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


For years I have touted the Asolo women's Stynger Hiking boots as being the perfect shoe for me. They are lightweight, waterproof, feel good- but lately they have not been making the cut.

Since we have been hiking so much my feet have become chopped liver. Both heels are covered in layers of blisters that are in various stages of healing. It leads to a very painful hike to say the least.

I have been reading up on "how to prevent blisters" on the blogs. They all recommend preventing them before they flare up, obviously wool/synthetic something socks, tieing your boots differently, etc. But nothing was really working for me.

So I tried a few things. Here is what I have tried:

  • moleskins before hiking
  • giant band-aids before the blister starts
  • two layers of socks- thin and thick etc
  • moleskins on the back of the hiking boot where my foot rubs
  • something called heel inserts that are supposed to keep your heel from rubbing

Really nothing was working. I went into the local hiking store to seek advice from the experts. Unfortunately it meant buying another pair of shoes. I have way too many shoes and way too many hiking boots. So this was not my ideal situation.

All of the boots that were recommended to me were "cushiony" on the idea that the Asolo Stynger was too stiff in the heel for my particular foot. I tried the new shoes around the house but I just felt like they wouldn't provide the support I needed on longer hikes. And since we were shooting for Owl's Head in August, an eighteen mile hike, these just didn't seem to be the right boots.

Instead I tried my Asolo TPS backpacking boots. These shoes haven't gotten much wear over the years since my Asolo Stynger's are so much lighter, but I thought I would give it a try.

Asolo Boots

Happily these seemed to do the trick. No moleskins. No band-aids. Just two layers of socks and these boots.

Weirdly the front of my foot swelled up after the hike. I think this was just because these boots need to be broken in, but I am certainly willing to take suggestions from people. Let me know if you have any experience and/or tips with this!!

Hiking the 4000 Footers: Tecumseh 7.8.2012

Tecumseh was our seventh mountain on The List. At only 4,003 feet, Tecumseh is a short hike of five miles and a little over 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Since we both work during the week- we are primarily only weekend warriors in the north country. This means that we have to deal with whatever weather is handed to us for the weekend. Lately it has primarily been hot. Hot and really, really humid.


We elected to try the east approach up Mount Tecumseh up the Mount Tecumseh Trail. The trail is in excellent condition and sees a lot of use. Nearly all the mountains in the summer see a lot of use, but since Tecumseh is located at the base of Waterville Valley Ski Area and is such a short easy hike it sees a lot of traffic.


Unfortunately, we tried to hike the same day as a road cycling race which shut down and diverted traffic in the area. It took us an extra 40 minutes to actually make it to the trailhead once in the Waterville Ski area due to all the diversions. It would be worth checking for any running or cycling events before going since this is such a popular tourist/summer vacation destination.


The view at the top was somewhat limited in only one direction due to the trees. Since there are only a view look out spots on the summit we had to share with fellow hikers as well as share their phone conversations. 


The only water available is near the trailhead/parking lot so bring plenty.

We finished our hike in just a handful of hours and went down to enjoy a nice lunch in town. Tecumseh is one of the first hikes I don't completely suffer for the whole hike. It's starting to become more and more enjoyable, except for the blisters. I have amazing blisters. Really three or four layers of blisters on top of blisters on top of blisters. More to come on that. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hiking the 4,000 Footers: My List

Hiking New Hampshire's White Mountain 4,000 Footers

What is the 4,000 Footer Club?

If you have been following my blog you know that my 2012 mission is hiking all of New Hampshire's 4,000 footers... Lately I've been getting a few inquiries from followers in other areas of the country that want to know more about this mission and what I have deemed "The List."

The List is essentially becoming a member of the AMC's 4,000 Footer Club. This club consists of hikers that climb all 48 of New Hampshire's summits that are 4,000 feet above sea level. To qualify for this particular list the summits must be "200 feet above the low point of a ridge that connects to its highest neighbor" (The 4,000 Footers of the White Mountains, Steve Smith).

Truthfully there are dozens if not hundreds of peak baggers that are more notable than I. There are the oldest, the youngest, and the hairest (Atticus from Following Atticus).

The actual peaks themselves range from tallest (Mount Washington at 6,000 plus feet) to the shortest being close to 4,000 feet (Tecumseh).

Some have amazing views (Lafayette) ....

Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

....and well unfortunately there are a few with no views (E. Osceola)...

Approaching East Osceola

People have many different reasons for attempting the List. For me it is all about regaining myself mentally, physically, and well working on my singing voice....

Peak Bagging Song from Betty on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Franconia Ridgeline

I'm still working on catching everyone up to the mountains that I have climbed. My blogging is a few weeks behind my actual hiking. This past weekend we hiked Lafayette, Lincoln and Little Haystack. I will post on these in the coming weeks, but here is a sneak peek.

Franconia Ridgeline- Lafayette and Lincoln 2012 from Betty on Vimeo.

Hiking New Hampshire's 4,000 Footers: Osceola and East Osceola 7.5.2012

The Osceolas are another set of mountains that I have climbed before and did not officially count on our peak bagging list. When we started this mission we decided that we wouldn't count any mountains we have done before. The last time I had been up on the Osceola's it was winter and it was cold and stormy. Needless to say I didn't have any views.

Hiking Osceola

Wouldn't ya know the next time I climb these mountains there was no views either. East Osceola summit is completely forested so there is no views there, but I betcha Osceola has a nice view when it isn't shrouded in clouds, fog, and rain forest humidity.

Approaching East Osceola

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hiking New Hampshire's 4,000 Footers: Mount Moosilauke 6.30.2012

When we started to hike the 4,000 Footers in New Hampshire we decided to start fresh. We wouldn't count any of the peaks we have already done, even the ones we had done together. Moosilauke is a popular mountain to hike and I had hiked it three times before without Adam.

Mount Moosilauke

The last time I was on this mountain was probably ten years ago and truthfully, I barely remember it other than we did NOT use the Beaver Brook Trail. I know this because the Beaver Brook trail has many tricky, slippery sections next to a waterfall that I definitely did not hike before.

Mount Moosilauke

Mount Moosilauke

We've been meeting a lot of people up on the mountains especially because Adam is the "mayor" of hiking trails. He chats just about anybody up while I'd rather sweat and huff and puff away in silence. Don't get me wrong- I'm a talker- but I do that all week and when the weekends hit I want solitude and silence. Very hard to do on these mountains in New Hampshire because everybody is off on vacation and thinking the same thing as us.

Mount Moosilauke

Hiking this list has been amazing and life changing though. I can't tell you how much quicker and easier the week seems to go by knowing that the weekend has another peak for us to summit. We also been noticing that I can finally, finally, finally stop talking about work once I am hiking. It clears my mind. I would prescribe it to just about anyone...

Mount Moosilauke

Friday, July 13, 2012

Finally Friday

I hope everyone has a happy and adventure filled weekend!! We'll be off to the mountains knocking 'em off. In the mean time I hope this video makes you smile!!

Moosilauke from Betty on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ten Things You'll Never Regret Bringing on a Hike

Easy way to carry bottles

  1. Mint Milano Cookies (Oreos a close second)
  2. Duct Tape around a water bottle
  3. A friend that specializes in long stories, jokes, or one minute mysteries
  4. Wet wipes
  5. Something salty
  6. Second set of socks
  7. A carabiner or two
  8. Parachute cord
  9. Toliet paper
  10. What little luxury items do you have to carry? I always seems to find some extra room for food related things....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hiking the 4,000 Footers: Cannon 6.23.2012

The last time I hiked Cannon it was the day after Thanksgiving and a significant snow had fallen the night before coating the trails with a good six inches of uncut snow. Thankfully we had brought our snowshoes because we needed them cutting the incredibly steep trail up Cannon.

We had practically reached the top when a very fit young man passed us and thanked us for breaking the trail! If only we had started an hour later!

Cannon Mountain

A few weeks ago we officially added Cannon to our list of 4,000 footers on an a blazing hot and humid day (Adam hadn't climbed Cannon before but I had). The hike is steep and rocky and busy. My three least favorite trail conditions.

Cannon Mountain

Luckily Cannon brings amazing views of the Franconia ridgeline. We took in the views while a thunderstorm blew in and had to hightail it back off the mountain. My video here shows an amazing view where you can really see that you are hiking in a cloud.

Cannon Mountain in a Cloud from Betty on Vimeo.

I'm also discovering that hiking brings out the singer in both me and Adam. It started with Mount Jackson when Adam created a version of OutKast's Ms Jackson: "I'm sorry Mount Jackson I am for realllll, never meant to make you cry..."

Cannon Mountain

Cannon Mountain

Unfortunately he wouldn't follow up with an encore on Cannon....But don't worry I apparently start singing when I hike...More to come!! And yes we are total geeks...

Cannon Song from Betty on Vimeo.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Women's Adventure Magazine

Don't forget to stop by Women's Adventure Magazine and read the latest issue. You'll dreaming of your next adventure the second you see the inspiring photographs and stories!

Hiking the 4,000 Footers: Cannon 6.23.2012

Cannon Mountain in a Cloud from Betty on Vimeo.

I'll be blogging about Cannon soon, but I wanted to share this video. Make sure to keep watching- I know it is a bit long, but it brings a neat view from the clouds.

Hiking the 4,000 Footers: Mount Jackson 6.21.2012

Mount Jackson is where we formally decided to start hiking all of New Hampshire's 4,000 footers. As I mentioned before- I knew of people hiking this list but I just never really felt the calling to do it. When we woke up early the next morning to hike Jackson my body was also not feeling the calling. We had hiked Mount Tom late the day before and I was terribly out of shape for hiking.

My calves screamed, my knees made noise, but that little voice inside my head that says "let's just go home and take it easy" was beginning to wane. We dosed ourselves with Vitamin I (ibuprofen) and hit the trails on the second day of high humidity and temperature in the upper nineties.

That's sort of the thing with hiking this list. If you work full time it's all about sneaking in the random Friday hikes and sometimes hiking in not ideal weather.


We approached Mount Jackson from the Webster-Jackson trail. I had attempted this mountain once before with a friend and had to turn back at one of the river crossing due to high waters. Today's trip the water was low enough that all of the crossings were minimal and unremarkable. It can be truly amazing how different a crossing looks depending on the water levels.

The trail itself was knarly, steep, and rocky. The summit was classic New Hampshire- wind blowing at around 35- 40 mph, but the skies were clear and the views awesome. The way back down was killer as always.


so windy my pictures all looked crazy because I couldn't hold the camera straight

It was on Mount Jackson where we finally said- let's do this- let's hike all the peaks. Things were starting to get boring in the day to day and we needed something different. Honestly it makes the work week go by so much quicker and puts all the other worries into a much better perspective.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hiking New Hampshire's 4,000 Footers: Mount Tom 6.20.2012

It started like this- we were stay-cation bound and looking for a some cheap and easy things to do outdoors. Of course I have heard of people climbing the 4,000 footers, but it just didn't seem like my kind of deal. All that driving, car spotting, and frankly slow moving up a mountain was...sort of...not quite up my alley. I like wheels. I like speed. And hiking up all those mountains just didn't feature enough of either. I've done tons of hiking on some of the mountains on this list- but never with the goal of climbing them all.

Mountain top

So in an effort to keep life simple and vacations cheap we trekked up Mount Tom. Helpful Note to readers: I am your guinea pig. I do things the wrong way first before I figure out the right way and my advice to you is if you are planning on hiking New Hampshire's 4,000 footers is you should not "just hike Mount Tom." 

Mount Tom

No really you shouldn't. You see this mountain is smack next to not just one other 4,000 footer but two other 4,000 footers. And really I recommend if you are going to pull your little self and your little backpack up Mount Tom- why not grab Mount Willey and Mount Field while you are at it?

Are you thinking we bagged the two other peaks yet? Well we actually didn't. We weren't intending on starting the list that day and by the time we made it up Mount Tom it was close to 5 p.m. (we started late in the day).

Instead we hiked back down, sat by the campfire, enjoyed a beer and contemplated the next day's plan, which ended up including another 4,000 footer. And soon for some reason- it made sense to us to start this mission. 

And really it's changing my life. But more on that to come....

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hiking New Hampshire's 4,000 Footers: The List

Mt Jackson

All good things come in fits and bursts and I hope you all don't mind my blogging in fits and bursts as well. I've been revitalizing myself and refocusing priorities. Adam and I decided that our new priorities included lots of early mornings, long drives, and hot sweaty days on some of New Hampshire's most scenic trails.

This venture is officially (more like unofficially) called "the list." It's not the list of highest summits in the world or gnarliest adventures. For us "The List" is New Hampshire's 4,000 footers.

The list has been in mind over the years, but has never "called" to me. This past summer I felt the "calling" and ever since have been spending my time getting bitten by bugs, avoiding crowds when possible, and breaking in my knees. It's been slow and painful going. Especially since we decided not to count any peaks we have already done. Between the two of us that means ditching the close to two dozen peaks we have already summited. It just made more sense to start from scratch.

I hope to post pics and videos of as many mountains as possible for all those who want to be inspired by our mission. I've got a few camping and hiking reviews to share as well. So stay checked in!