The title was quite simply the easiest part of this post.
Alternatively, posting the picture below was probably the hardest, followed closely by determining what to say about this topic.
As a rule, I really don’t like to talk about myself. So what do you say about a landmark number like this?
I suppose that says enough. Blurry me on the left there is from 2013, hovering somewhere around 325lbs, probably a tad more… the scale and I were not good friends, so I largely avoided it at this stage of my life.
“Right” me is atop Mount Garfield during my most recent “Epic Adventure with Ethan Weekend” at just about 225lbs.
My journey to become “Right Me” began in 2016 with Taekwondo, which I have since had to give up, at least temporarily. What has replaced TKD in my life is just being generally active. Hiking became a big part of my life in 2017. Ethan tried to get me into hiking right around the time I was at my most inflated… it didn’t go well.
He took me on a 5.5 mile loop hike of Mt. Morgan & Mt. Percival which has a total ofof elevation gain. I was in agony pretty much the whole time and swore off hiking.
Thinking back to that now it seems absurd that it would have been so difficult, since the Morgan & Percival loop is such a lovely, low effort hike now, but that’s the difference 100lbs makes.
Taekwondo got my cardio where it needed to be in order to put down decent times in the White Mountains of NH. People who have never hiked the Whites don’t fully understand the difficulty level of the mountains in the Northeast. Sure they’re “small” compared to the Rockies or Uintas, but often we don’t have the luxury of what you would even call a “trail”, it’s more: “This is the mountain, now climb it.” My running joke is that our trails in the North East were made back when “the men were men and the women were, too!”
Switchbacks just really aren’t a thing here; you just climb. For example, this data from Guthook (taken from AtlasGuides.com) which details the climb out of Pinkham Notch to Wildcat E, weighing in at 2000′ in 1.5 miles, with one 1000′ climb in 0.5 mile.
So just because the average elevation of our >4,000 footers is only 4,500 does not mean they are easy. There’s a reason the White Mountains are spoken of in hushed tones by AT through-hikers, they’re not wimps, folks. These are people who have walked for 1,800 miles, prepping for the worst that the AT can throw at them and they are often in complete disbelief of how intense hiking the Whites is when they get there.
As I’ve progressed, my efforts have often gone from one mountain at a time to “Peakbagging” or multiple peaks per outing. My first attempt at a “big” outing was my “Cats, Carters, Moriah Traverse” in June, which in all honesty nearly broke me. Since then, being able to put down over 30 miles and ~10,000′ of vertical in a couple of days has been my goal all summer. I started running in an attempt to improve my cardiovascular conditioning and finally I was able to see that happen this month with the “Semi-Pemi” over Columbus Day Weekend.
Ethan and I have more “monster days” rattling around in our heads, and I still have 14 of the 48 4Ks left to complete, so more epic adventures will surely happen, but I also have goals around both section hiking and thru-hiking longer trails.
Those include (and are not limited to!):
- The Long Trail (VT)
- The Cohos Trail (NH)
- The Appalachian Trail (State by state)
- New England National Scenic Trail (CT & MA)
In any case, I wanted to commemorate this milestone and note that it is still really just the beginning of the journey. I still have fitness goals that I have yet to achieve and will continue working towards them.
I intend to see as much of this amazing world on my own two feet as possible.