Hiking with Dakota

He’s 14…it’s hard to get him to do anything. Dishes? HA. Shower? I did that yesterday (it’s always yesterday by the way). Read a book? Boring… But he loves kayaking—and he loves hiking. I don’t give many options; we can go here, or we can go there. Your choice. Staying home and watching more TV is not an option. He decides on Cole Pond and away we go. We have to lie to the dogs and tell them we’re going grocery shopping, and despite wearing my flipflops & hiding my sneakers, I don’t think they buy my story. They love to walk.

It’s a perfect night to hike. As always, despite cars in the lot, there is no one on the trail. It’s a quick 20 minutes up to the pond where we find the owners of the vehicles. There is a man fishing and he nods in slight annoyance at being disturbed. But we’re nothing compared to the screaming family somewhere off to the left. The children are screeching at the top of their lungs, the parents laughing and yelling back and forth. Voices carry. We never do see the family but we hear them the entire time we’re there. Tarzan yells and kids yelling “mom!” echoing off the otherwise blissful pond. I’m annoyed too…I like quiet.

We found another trail leading around the pond and strike out. It’s pretty clear for the first ¼ but then we become bushwackers the rest of the way. We don’t mind. It’s an adventure! HUGE blueberry bushes bent over from their almost-ripe fruit try to hinder our journey, but nothing doing! It’s a small pond, less than a mile circumference, and we make it around without too much issue. Sure, I had to pull a small chunk of wood out of my calf but it’s not bad.

The coolest part of all of this? When I tell my son thanks—it was a lot of fun…and he says, ‘yeah, it really was!’ He doesn’t rush back to the car when he emerge from the trail head. He goes across the street to check out what’s over there…he meanders around, telling me in his own way that he IS having a good time. No need to have it end already.

I love these times with my son. We rarely have much to talk about other than his TV shows or what he’ll do when he takes over the world, but these peaceful evenings bonding in nature the way only two Taurus’s can do…is a gift I’ll never forget.


It never dawned on me to join a hiking GROUP. I often whine that I can’t do the ‘biggie’ hikes because I don’t have anyone to do them with. And while it’s all well and good to strike off on a 6 mile hike behind the house, I’m a bit more anxious about doing it in the Whites or even on Cardigan.

But I ventured onto the AMC website today and realized they have group hikes just for people like ME! Chocorua, Garfield, Washington…trips to them all! And let’s not forget the kayaking trips too! I’m even thinking that learning the art of rock climbing might not be out of the question…

All this for $40/year. Where can you get more for so little? Health, companionship, beautiful views and damn good memories! Ah, the possibilities are limitless!

One excuse GONE!


The Hutsman

“Day 48

We watched the sunrise from our beds–indescribable as the light slowly filled the canyon from east to west.  As we started to move, what was probably a snake crawled off us, attracted by the heat of our bodies.  Needless to say we didn’t check to find out.  After a short time we looked and whatever it was had left us.  We ate our breakfast of pancakes, which nearly took all of our water.  Four miles to the summit!”

This is a journal entry by Jack Orrok, my grandfather, in 1925 as he traveled across America on foot.  He took a ride if available; he wasn’t stupid!  He is the inspiration for a lot of the things I do in my life, especially hiking and loving the outdoors.  He is the reason this blog is called “Shoulders of Giants” because without his shoulders to climb on, I’d never be who I am today.  Never forget your ancestors!

HHH…and big hair

It’s only Thursday, but it’s been a killer week.  Temps over 90 almost everyday this week has put a real crimp in my hiking ambitions–not to mention the poof it’s given my already full-bodied hair!  Friday I think everyone at work asked me what I’d done to it…nothing really.  That’s the problem!

But, pull it back in a ponytail and away I go.  This week has been a shambles really.  Monday [holiday for the 4th] was spent grocery shopping, cleaning my mom’s house, installing her air-conditioner and the general run-around fun.  Tuesday I did get out and get some kayaking it, so that wasn’t a bust, but yesterday I was back out shopping, this time for tank tops for hubby so he could be a bit cooler at work.  Next thing I knew it was 8:45, no dinner eaten, and the air still as hot and stiffling as at 6.  I did take the high road and get Subway instead of McDonalds, however I’m not sure that was really better…a large ham and turkey sub versus a small grilled chicken sandwich?  Oh well.  At least it had all the veggies.

This morning I struck out on my first morning hike in ages.  It was one of the hardest hikes I’ve done so far.  It’s my regular route but DAMN was it hot out there! I drank water the whole time but my energy was zapped by the time I turned around and headed back home, I was wiped.  I grabbed the luna bar I keep in my pack but still no energy.  And now I feel like I could crawl in a corner and sleep for hours! No such luck.

But, managed 2.6 miles today and 2.3 miles on Tuesday.  Have a lot of miles to make up for my 20 mile/week goal…that’s almost 4 miles a day through Sunday–if I go out again tonight. Perhaps…

Kayaking Grafton Pond- 4 miles tonight

Cole Pond-2 miles on Friday (or maybe another long Kayak with hubby…that was great!)

Bicknell – 5 miles on Saturday

Back 40 – 5 miles  on Sunday

Yeah, that should do it!  So, perhaps this week wasn’t a total wash after all!

Role models aren’t just OTHER people

This first week of ‘training’ for Mt. Washington has been a busy one!

Monday-hiking up back. 

Tuesday-kayaking on Grafton Pond.

Wednesday-hiking up to Cole Pond. 

Tonight-hiking up back to the powerlines

The best part of all of this ‘training’ is the time I’m spending with my kids. We’re having a great time and they have less time in front of the television, computer or even just vegging on the couch.  My daughter has decided she wants to start ‘running’ up back now…after only three evenings of being outside and active.  It just goes to show it doesn’t take long for a habit to take hold.  You can get in the habit of sitting down and doing nothing, or you can get in the habit of going out  hiking, running, kayaking, or even strolling.  It’s up to us to decide on the healthy habits!  And, of course, pass them on to our kids! 

I won’t lie.  I’d much rather go home tonight and fall in the chair.  I’ve had one hell of a hectic week at work and have been going in early, staying a bit late and still not getting it all done.  I’d much rather relax and veg, but I know my hike last night made my stress headache disappear.  Much better than any medication I’ve been taking!  Besides, my kids can really use the air…a few more days, weeks or months of kicking them out and getting them involved in nature, and they might just do it on their own! 

This weekend’s plans include a trip up Cardigan Mountain, a lazy day on the White River in Vermont, and a BBQ… sleep?  Optional!