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Archive for the ‘fitness’ Category

Kid-Friendly Hikes in NH

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

While we haven’t done as much hiking this year as last, the good news is Scott’s daughter is now at an age (almost six) where she, and hence her mother, can join us on some of our adventures.

The trick is not the elevation, as kids like to climb things, but rather the length of the excursion. So it was that the first hike of the year saw us revisiting Pawtuckaway’s South Mountain, just via a different, steeper yet shorter (0.4 miles), back route known as Tower Trail.

Getting to the trailhead was an adventure in itself as we wound our way along a seemingly never-ending, very bumpy/rutted dirt road. At one point — which turned out to be a bit scary for the little one — we were practically driving thru a beaver-dammed marsh as the water came right up to the edge of the road on either side. Unfortunately, I have no pictures from this part of the trip, but here’s a sampling of the hike itself.

beautiful deep woods

Scott trailblazing the rocky slope

the firetower at the summit

one of the views from the tower

For the summer’s second hike, along the Boulder Field Trail, also at Pawtuckaway State Park, we stayed on more level ground and extended the time. We ended up walking out for about 45 minutes to an hour and then back the same way. The calculations were almost spot on as only the last five to ten minutes were tiring for the young’un.

after some time, you come upon a stunning body of water
complete with islands and kayakers

geese along the marshy edge
(word is great blue herons live here too)

my favorite pic (a cropped version is now my Facebook cover image)

The last picture is of one of the “glacial erratics… deposited when glacial ice melted near the end of the Ice Age.” If you look closely, you’ll see a climber about a third of the way up. The trail splits before this formation giving you the option to walk along the top. We vowed to go that way when we next make this trek.

Scott’s daughter had a blast both times and is excited to get in more hikes. Alas, the next one we have planned is Mount Sunapee with the guys, rather a more ambitious undertaking, but there will be more kid-friendly hiking in the future. If you’re looking to introduce your children to the joys of nature, the two here are a great place to start.

Hiking in NH: Mt. Cardigan

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Not yesterday, but the Sunday before, the guys and I (four of us this time), set out to climb Mount Cardigan in Orange, NH. Initially, as mentioned in the Pawtuckaway post, we’d intended this to be our goal by the end of the season, but we felt up for the challenge!

We set out bright and early. Well, at least the early part. The forecast called for rain in the morning, and right it was. The ride was a long one, some 1.5 hrs from Manchester, and there were times when the rain was quite heavy. Thankfully, by the time we arrived, it had stopped, leaving us a cool 70°F day, perfect for hiking.

We took the West Ridge trail up. It was steep from the get-go, there was no messing around. The parking lot’s location, some ways in on a dirt road, had dispensed with the level parts. The rocks had started to dry, but it was still a little slippery in spots, especially on the alternate route we picked for the way down.

Having reached the summit at 3,155 ft above sea level in “record time” (ha!, but we were cruising, and were surprised it only took an hour at most), we were met with an inauspicious reward; the morning rain had created quite the cloud cover / fog bank…

With our early start though, there was no rush, so we sat down to eat some trail mix, drink water, and wait it out a bit. Good decision as only minutes later, the sun started to break thru and literally rolled the fog up into clouds with defined edges. It was quite amazing to watch.

And the views were worth the wait…

We then proceeded back down a bit on the same trail before cutting across the side of the mountain. The skinny path meandered thru the most beautiful green moss-covered woods before ascending again to the neighboring South Peak at 2,864 ft. By this time, the clouds were all white and fluffy, and we had the most spectacular view of where we’d just been…

As well as gorgeous views, like these…

The way down via the South Ridge trail required some caution as the rocks along this route were slick, the incline perhaps a tad steeper, and the drop-offs into the woods below impressive.

Needless to say, we all made it down safely, though Scott concluded he needed new boots. ;)

Planning to do some hiking in NH? This book, focused on the southern half of the state, has been indispensable to us…

Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide, 3rd: AMC’s Comprehensive Guide to Hiking Trails in Southern New Hampshire, including Monadnock, Cardigan,…


Hiking Pawtuckaway’s South Mountain

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Sunday was an absolutely gorgeous day for hiking, with temps in the mid-to-upper 70s and clear blue skies sporting fluffy white clouds with nary a hint of rain in the forecast. And that’s exactly what my friend Scott and I did.

After a couple years of talking about how we really “should” go hiking this summer, we finally stepped foot onto a path leading up to South Mountain — a small 908-footer at Pawtuckaway State Park in NH with nevertheless spectacular views and a fire tower at the top to take in the full panorama — at approximately 10:45 AM.

The trail immediately let us know we were going up and that Scott had imbibed a bit the night before, but it was nothing compared to the last six-tenths of a mile to the summit, and we quickly caught our groove. There were even some downhills and flat spots near the bottom. A good warm-up.

That first 2.4 miles was a very nice hike on a clearly-marked, wide trail thru dense woods. Along the way, we encountered a couple small ponds and a marsh full of bull frogs croaking away as well as several large and interesting boulders.

We didn’t see too many people on the way up. Just enough to reassure us, both that bears would have heard human activity (and hopefully kept away), and that we were going the right way. On the way down, however, we were the greeting committee for many late-starting groups, mountain bikers, and families, some with kids already looking tuckered out with probably a couple hours still to go at their pace.

Nearer the top, the temperature dropped instantly and refreshingly; the last .6 miles was much steeper with the trail getting skinnier and consisting more and more of big rocks. We were feeling macho (lol) and always chose to climb them versus taking any of the small, still steep, paths that went around them.

Once at the top, we took in the amazing views and kicked ourselves for having forgotten our cameras(!). A few people were scattered about the summit, but were on their way down, leaving us to head up the rickety fire tower stairs where we were the only two. That was exhilarating for someone (me) with a healthy fear of heights.

Unfortunately, the raw almonds we packed were stale, despite their expiration date of next year, but it was now a little after noon, an hour and a half into our hike, and we were craving the fuel, so we had a couple handfuls and more water while sitting in the tower and vowed to do it again soon.

The walk down was faster and easier cardio-wise, and you could tell your legs were accessing a different set of muscles. It was fun being the ones saying Hi answering questions for those just getting started on their day’s adventure. We were down by 2 PM at the latest, starving and tired, but in that good, I’ve done something way.

To our pleasant surprise, Scott’s wife and daughter were back from a day at the “beach,” also at Pawtuckaway, and lunch was just coming out of the oven: a hearty pasta meal with breaded eggplant rounds.

There was more to our day as well, but that covers the hike. Our goal this year is to hit up Mount Cardigan, which I climbed as a Boy Scout. It’s far more ambitious of a hike (3,155 feet above sea level), so we may work our way up to it while we explore what else the southern part of the state has to offer vs just jumping right in as our 2nd hike.

Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide, 3rd: AMC’s Comprehensive Guide to Hiking Trails in Southern New Hampshire, including Monadnock, Cardigan,…


Dr. Esselstyn and Clinton on Sanjay Gupta CNN

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

After several reschedulings, the much-anticipated Sanjay Gupta CNN special “The Last Heart Attack” featuring President Bill Clinton, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, and Dr. Dean Ornish finally aired.

The message is a powerful one in favor of regular screenings and a plant-based diet. Clearly an important wake-up call to many that deserves to be shared with friends and family. I hope you’ll recommend they watch…

Esselstyn - Prevent and Reverse Heart DiseaseDean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart DiseaseDean Ornish's Everyday Cooking

My Cookbook:

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