As the last few hours of 2018 tick away, I suppose it is time to reflect on all our hikes and adventures of the last year and begin planning for what lies ahead in 2019.
2018 started with Aubrey’s first winter peak. It was just a small one, climbing West Rattlesnake in Holderness. It was a mountain we had already done and is short and sweet, so I felt safe making it her first real winter climb. She enjoyed the Hot Chocolate I had packed at the summit and enjoyed views of frozen Squam Lake below.
She then tackled her second winter peak, Pack Monadnock in February. We opted to walk the auto road up to the peak, and I was hoping to sled down, but when we arrived there wasn’t any snow to be found. However, we did get to experience our first undercast viewing which added an interesting element to the hike.
In March, Aubrey and I boarded her first plane ride and flew south for a few days to visit “Great Great and Bawk Bawk” (my Grandparents). We did a lot of adventuring in Florida. We rode an airboat, went to three different animal reserves, and went for a small hike at the Punta Gorda Nature Park. Probably the highlight for Aubrey was seeing alligators up close in the small pond in front of my grandparents’ house.
In April we hiked Pitcher Mountain which was covered in snow, and then Gap Mountain a week later and didn’t see any snow.
May brought us up Mount Major and Middle Sugarloaf during our first camping trip of the year. Aubrey loved Middle Sugarloaf because of the ladder and is begging to do it again.
June was a busy month. It brought us back up Pack Monadnock for the second time of the year. And then she climbed Grand Monadnock for her second time, this time we took the White Dot/White Arrow trails and Daddy came with us. It was a gorgeous day for a hike and we shared the summit cone with probably 100 other hikers. We also checked of Mount Cardigan for our 52 With a View list. This hike took us two attempts. The first time we attempted to hike it, we were just a few miles away and Aubrey got car sick and forced us to turn around. She felt so bad for getting sick she kept begging to go do the hike, so a few weeks later we drove back up and conquered it. I really enjoyed the West Ridge trail and was surprised by how easy it was. I have my eyes on the Holt Trail in the next year or so for a fun challenge. June ended with us hiking out to Arethusa Falls, the tallest waterfall in NH.
July started off slow, with a massive heatwave that made our yearly camping trip practically unbearable. We were thankful for a pool at the campground! In mid-July we once again climbed Pack Monadnock with Brammy and Papa (my parents) and this time we did the Raymond Trail, which was new to Aubrey.
Then on July 20, Aubrey and I left home early and headed to Waterville Valley to hike our second NH 4,000 footer, Mount Tecumseh. Mount Tecumseh is the smallest 4,000 footer and is just over 5 miles round trip. This was probably the first hike Aubrey out-hiked me most of the hike. For about 1 mile of the hike, there are just endless rock stairs that climb straight up. Aubrey rocked it the entire way up and didn’t start complaining about being tired until the last quarter-mile on the way back down.
In August, we did Pitcher Mountain again, and then Grand Monadnock again, for the 2nd time of the year from the Dublin Trail. Dublin Trail was really nice, and quiet but also it was very wet and muddy. We checked Willard from our 52 with a View list. We then took Daddy to do Welch and Dickey, which was a great day to be in the mountains. Aubrey and I also explored the Forest Discovery trail off the Kanc which was a fun trail that explains logging practices. We also check off Black Cap from my bucket list.
September was an adjustment to our lives, as Aubrey started school full time. Gone were the days of being able to take off and hike whenever we wanted. Now hiking was limited to weekends so it was an adjustment. We visited Squam Lake Natural Science Center with Brammy and Papa, and did the Cannon Rim Trail after riding up the Gondolas. Our “big” hike for the month was hiking North Pack Monadnock, which surprisingly Aubrey had not done yet on her own.
October was extremely quiet and the only hike we managed to get in was the Gilson Pond Loop and we also ventured out to check out the remote campsites they have at Gilson Pond Campground. In 2019 I hope to take her out to one for our first “backpacking” experience.
November brought us up Gap Mountain again, but this time was Aubrey’s first time doing it from the Jaffrey side. It was a nice day for a late fall hike.
December welcomed another life adjustment to our family. We welcomed Charger a Pyrador ( Great Pyrenees x Chocolate Lab) Puppy to our families*. He has been a wonderful puppy but impacted our hiking due to how small and young he is. He has taken well to small walks and is great on a leash already. He will start doing easier hikes with us this summer, but won’t be joining us on the harder adventures until 2020.
I did manage to get out and do Mount Pemigewasset in December. Aubrey opted to stay home with Daddy and Charger. Which actually ended up being a good learning experience. Aubrey had begun say she doesn’t like hiking anymore, so I didn’t push her to join me. She made her decision and I allowed her to stay home. However, when I sent her a picture of me at the summit she said she wished she went hiking and does like hiking and wants to go with me next time.
Looking forward to 2019, I am hoping we can tackle a couple more 4,000 footers and a bunch more of our 52 With A view hikes. I’m hoping for even more camping trips than last year. I found a new campground in North Woodstock that offers really good rates and I also learned how to back the camper into a site so I am no longer stuck camping at terrible KOA resorts with pull thru sites.
*(In April we had to find a new home for Brady after he proved once and for all he was no longer fit for our family. He is happily living with a past coworker of mine)