Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Don't Skip Leg Day: Hiking the White Mountains of New Hampshire

Mt. Lincoln summit. 5089 feet.

I never fathomed that I might not be able to handle a hike physically. Any hike. Anywhere. Never batted an eye or thought twice. A quick stretch. I'm good. I'm fit. It's just walking uphill, right? Ha. Dumbass. While hiking the Franconia Ridge Loop trail, I learned my mind is far younger than my body. It's a three-peak climb, that's listed as 9-miles the same way that Kevin Durant is listed at 6'9. It might say that in a program, but dude is 7-feet. This hike feels more like 11-12 miles. National Geographic considers the trail through the White Mountains of New Hampshire one of the 10 best in the world! The view is spectacular and if you're into the outdoors, it's a must-do in the New England area. Just be prepared.

Fueling up with 3-lb lobsters at Brown's Lobster Pound in Seabrook, NH. This girl is savage.

Warm-up hike about 30-minutes away from North Conway, NH. Nice waterfall lookout. This was a novice hike that anyone can do with moments of challenge

The summit sign at Mount Lincoln. There are an estimated 700 hikers a day on this beast during the busy season. There are certainly times on the trail where people are right behind you. When leisurely hiking, go at your own pace and don't worry about all the hikers around you. I didn't realize it, but I pushed myself harder than I thought, and paid the price around 4500-feet up when I started cramping right before we reached the summit. We sat for a quick packed-lunch, high in potassium to kill the cramps, but it didn't matter. My legs slowly transformed into wood. I could hardly bend my legs. I was walking like a pirate with two peg legs who had to poop. Yeah, picture that.
From Mt. Lincoln. That's Mt. Lafayette behind us.
Between Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Lafayette, is the 4760-foot Little Haystack along the rocky Franconia Ridge. It's a breathtaking view that surrounds you on both sides. You feel like you're Rocky training in Siberia. The weather fluctuates dramatically up here, so do your recon before heading out. So you see the peak way off in the distance we're walking towards? That's Mt. Lafayette at 5260-feet. That's where we need to go. And my legs are still cramping like LeBron James in the 2014 NBA Finals. Some passerby even gave me some pickles and pickle juice, which helps with cramping. Unfortunately, I needed to be in a Vlasic factory to eat my way out of this pickle. #PUNS!

After myriad stops, bless my patient crew, we finally reached the Mt. Lafayette summit. One of the keys to helping my cramps was keeping my legs warm with runner's leggings. Okay fine. Tights. I was basically wearing tights. That and drinking everyone else's water supply was great!
We probably would've made it here about an hour earlier without my legs cramping. Stupid legs.
All worth it.
We were not alone at the top.
The trek down lasted another 2+ miles. By now, my cramps had subsided and I was just sore AF. The trail is compiled of various terrain. While stunning, the unevenness takes its toll on your lower body.

All in all, the hike was spectacular - if not long. I would've been stoked if it was a couple miles shorter. It's a tough hike, but I feel like anyone can do it if they take their time. My issue was not taking care of my body enough - a few drinks the night before, poor sleep, lack of stretching, not enough rest stops - but then again, maybe it's just me. I'd always wondered what it would be like to be a pirate.