A Hike up Chocorua in New Hampshire
Hi folks! Apologies for being quiet lately. I've been limiting my time on social media for a few reasons but I wanted to share my recent local adventure, and see how you all are doing.
Recently I hiked Mt Chocorua, a 3,490 foot peak in New Hampshire. I grew up seeing its rocky top peeking through a gap in the hills near the house, sending a siren's call to my adventurous soul. I've hiked it multiple times over the years so I knew it would be a rugged and strenuous hike/scramble...the perfect place to take things up a notch with my "foot testing."
Its always nice to stop for a photo of Chocorua across the lake first:
In all I hiked and scrambled about 10 miles with 2800 feet in elevation gain. The oppressive humidity had disappeared, giving me clear skies and a cool dry breeze. This was the first big hike I have done since the Exercise Induced Asthma diagnosis and I am still in awe at the immediate difference the inhaler has made! My right ankle and foot did very well. I didn't know back in October if I would hike again so I am very happy to have the occasional discomfort as opposed to no hiking at all!
In this part of the country, colored blazes and cairns (rock piles) mark trails. These are the places where strategic, managed rock piling is appropriate as they keep hikers safe from falling off cliffs and getting lost on the mountain.
I hiked for a few hours, exchanging smiles and hellos to the occasional fellow hikers. I found a nice little ledge just off the trail where I sat for lunch amid the blueberries, my socks and shirt hanging in the sun to dry out a bit before I continued on. I often have to make myself eat when I'm hiking. If I'm not deliberate about it, I tend to plod along for hours without experiencing hunger signals which means I can forget to refuel until I suddenly need it. I like to avoid that sudden need!
A go-to hiking lunch for me is peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which keeps well in the pack and gives me lots of energy. I eat beef jerky along the way as its easy to get to without taking my pack off. I brought plenty of water with me, and since it was a day hike I had the luxury of a thermos full of ice for nice cold water.
When people from away hike my local mountains, they are often shocked by the roughness of the trails - tree roots are everywhere and they are brutal for tripping you up if you don't watch your step! Chocorua is a notoriously steep climb, with lots of ledge and rockfalls to climb.
I tend to avoid popular hikes on the weekends, but Chocorua wasn't packed. While I love a completely solo hike, I also love the spirit of the hiking community. I've been hiking since I was a kid, and have been in tune with the trail spirit for a long time. People on the trail share an often unspoken camaraderie - we are brought to the trail for a variety or reasons, but we are all doing it. Digging deep, facing our challenges, thinking our thoughts, connecting with nature etc. I wasn't in a hurry on this hike and enjoyed some conversations with a few different people (and dogs) along the way, and a great chat with a couple at the summit who also love Scotland.