Sunday, August 28, 2016

Farmington River Tubing

So I will start by saying, I should think a little before I say Yes but then again I would miss out of some cool crazy adventures if I did. Earlier in the week I decided we could probably make the trip to CT to River Tube. I found a campsite at the American Legion State Campground so for short money we could camp about 20 minutes away.

Each girl wanted to bring a friend and I agreed without thinking that I needed more space. Cape Cod Pickers to the rescue. They had this car top carrier I could use. It was a lifesaver. It fir all 5 camping chairs, tents, mattresses and bedding. We wouldn't have been able to go without it!

This picture should sum up the whole trip with 5 crazy girls singing and dancing the whole way.

The campground was not bad. Small with about 35 sites but annoying as we had the site across from 2 cabins full of assholes. Sorry, not sorry-They were.  The one farthest from us actually has a lantern so bright it lite up our site and tent. By the time I realized it it was after 11 and i was in bed and not about to move my tent. The other was a cabin full of 6 drunk guys who had rap music going until Midnight. I think someone may have come over and complained because they packed it in and went to bed pretty fast. Needless to say my music was on as I cooked breakfast and packed up camp before 8am. I know rude doesn't fix rude but I was annoyed.

Because we arrived so late we never really got a chance to see anything or just hang out so after breakfast I lit another fire and let them make S'mores again and just explore a little while I packed up. On my way back from the dumpster I found a trail and the sound of water. 

 With our car all packed up we took a walk and found this river. I wish the picture was better because this river was full of fly fisherman. I have never seen it in real life. I thought it was actually beautiful. We did our best to move along and leave them alone to fish. We investigated the little pools for critters and found maybe half a dozen little frogs like this guy.

Now it was time to get down to business!!!
I can't explain it but I love this photo. It's like my Posse heading to the big game. I love the kids they are and the people they are becoming.

After signing all the waivers and listing to the safety talk about the rapids we were onto the river.
As you can see Ava is pretty close to me. She actually fell out of her tube during the 2nd set of rapids. SHe wanted to hold onto handles with Lilly and I but in the rapids that caused an issue and she fell out. I grabbed a rock and stopped but she was alone about 10 feet up from me and I couldn't get back to her because of the rapids pushing me. I had to calmly get her to let go and follow the directs of floating feet first thru the rest of the rapid until I could get her to a side rock and back in her tube. A little scary to say the least but she did good and they actually have 2 spotters on the side right after this directing us to a low rock and they helped her back in.
Scraped and bruised shin as a badge of toughness.

I was pretty surprised by the ducks and geese who were not very scared by us and let us just cruise by. We in fact were spread out pretty far when 2 groups of 6-8 geese crossed the river never even looking at us.

I think we floated for a little over 2 hours before we came to the end and climbed out. The special buses had seats on one side so tubes Could line up, Pretty neat!

All in all, we had a great time. I feel like we were in the car for 2 days though. I wish we had left earlier but Friday was the girls last day at camp and there was a big cookout at John's Pond they didn't want to miss.
I will add that they had an excellent Summer at the Boys and Girls Club and have already asked if they can come back next year. I don't like to promise such a huge expense but we will try. They were both nervous about a new place and new people but both made ghreat friends and Ava's counselor said she was one of his best kids.
1 week left of Summer vacation.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

On top of the World

We are getting to the end of the year for me. I live my life my birthday being the beginning of my year-My New Years of sorts. I am also working a lot right now so I needed a recap/pick me up.
Ava helped me write my goal board last year. I have a couple of cool support postings as well. The Wolf Prayer we bought in Salem last Halloween Season and it rocks. 
I look at this board when I wake up and now it makes me smile. I haven't done everything on the list because I have done so much more of other things and great things.
Just jotted down the mountains I have been to. I added Aruthesa Falls even though it wasn't a "peak" because it was an incredible hike. 
Not including that I did 12 new peaks. Ava set what I thought was a big goal of 4. Who knew?
I repeated Wachusett with the girls and am hoping to take them to Rattlesnake before school starts.  I have also added a few notes to my dream list so I may be able to get a few more in before October. 
I suppose you should ask the Universe for what you dream about and I am still hoping to get back to Acadia for my birthday. Once school gets under way I will see it the stars will align and I can make it time-wise and children wise. 
God have I covered some ground.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Day 24

Last month I grabbed this board in a half-ass attempt to get something written down. Like an inspiration, a record, a kick start-Who knows. As you can see it didn't go as planned.  I was joking really when I failed to follow a good eating plan on the 10th. Ava was there when I wrote those things and she tried to bolster me up. 
It didn't really occur to me until my sister saw it and texted me something about my "loser board". I said oh no worries it will be a winner board when I re-do it for August.
I went back and looked at it the other day to do August even though it is half over and thought WOW! 
This is how hard I am on myself on the inside. This is what I presented to my kids, even in a joking manner it is not a lesson I want them to learn.
August doesn't show any exercise but I climbed a couple mountains, camped a little, passed my physical agility test for the police department and maintained a weight and diet that makes me happy.
For a long time I have been struggling with this. First hard thing is turning the tide in the right direction. I am now very aware of the addiction with food. It tells me things when I am doing wrong. I can actually feel my brain function change when I am not consuming sugar but I can also hear the demons telling me I can turn around from just a small dalliance into sin-town. ( which is so not true by the way) It is more than just eating the right food but having the right thoughts and will power when the food is not on task. 
I had an issue with dinner tonight and threw away a burger without eating any. I resorted to 2 spoonfuls of peanut butter and an apple and went to bed. I acknowledge this is not a great choice and that better planning needs to happen when working overtime.
I am still reeling from a month long binge that started at Christmas last year and has come and gone since. Go figure! 
I will say this time I am thinking long and hard about the why's associated as to more deeply fix this besides just putting a certain food in my mouth because "I am supposed to". I don't like being told what to do and that is exactly how I started looking at it. 
Like a 6 year old.
Why can't I just eat Cheez-its like a normal fucking person?? Stomps away to kitchen....
The truth is I am a freaking machine right now. I feel good, I am not stressed out (for the most part), my kids and I are doing well with minimal yelling (carb-anger is a very real thing in my life).
Today I am embarking on day 24. 
With spaghetti squash in hand, I can conquer the World.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Franconia Ridge Trail July 30 2016

My first quiet worry which I pushed way back in my head was being scared, waking up in the middle of the night with nothing to relieve the terror. I took the site deep in the campground and diagonal from the Park manager's site. Not trying to focus on my fear but taking steps that seemed smart.
So when I woke at 7:20 I was both surprised and annoyed. I guess I wasn't that afraid but sleeping pretty well. I sort of wanted to be there or at least driving to the trail at this time.
I made quick work of cooking breakfast, downing some coffee and repacking my pack for a long day. The pack was heavy and I knew it but I was a little water paranoid. Sure ,the first trail was pretty wet but I wasn't sure what the rest would be like. I have experienced a pretty long and dry trail before and it wasn't good. In any case I had 2 liter bottles and a 50 ounce bladder. I also had a pack with food, layers and some first aid stuff.
I arrived just about 9am and the lot was filling up fast. One of the most popular trails on a beautiful Saturday in the middle of Summer....I expected nothing less.
The National Forest had a tent set up with guides answering questions and dolling out advice. The temp at the top was reported at about 57 with 30mph winds. Good info to have.
After a quick bathroom break it was up and away.
3 miles of up for that matter.

See the Blue Blaze on the tree? Yes this is the trail. Occasionally when I stopped to get out of the way of the runners and catch my breath I would take a picture. I loved that we crossed the water so many times. If you follow the link there are many more pictures but here are a few.

The trail was packed. The first mile I tried to hold my patience for the large group that stopped to take selfies and group photos with no regard for the many other hikers. I knew it was going to happen and I had no real time in mind besides maybe dark and I even had a headlamp and flashlight just in case.
Soon like in running we spaced out a bit. I leapfrogged past people and they to me as we rested for food, water and oxygen. People for the most part are friendly and kind. Like we are all on a solo trip but doing something great together. It felt good to be helped and help people on this journey. I donated my medical tape to a couple nursing their dogs feet on the trip down and had a woman ask me if I was doing this trip alone. When I replied yes, she came along side me and quietly said-You are brave. Little did she know how important these words are to me.
Physically I could have quit. I was starting to think about the ways I could have been better prepared but I didn't let myself go too far down that road because I just decided I would stop yet again and rest if needed. I did it many times on the ridge. I laid on the rocks and watched those magnificent clouds move slowly across the sky just above me.

The ridge ended up being harder than I expected. I wasn't prepared for the climbing it involved. In none of the pictures I looked at did I catch that. At the top of the Falling Waters trail I was at the summit of Little Haystack at 4765 feet and then to Mt Lincoln at 5089. That involved some climbing over rock which I will say is pretty scary when you think about sliding off and down the mountain. After a dip it was back to up and up to Mt Lafayette at 5260 ft. I didn't spend as much time here. I had eaten at Haystack and looky-looed a good deal there and over, besides the summit was a freaking hiker-fest and I still had miles to go down. I did find the geological marker and located my descent route. For a while it felt like no matter how far I walked the Greenleaf hut just never seemed to be getting any closer but really this below is the trail and there really wasn't anyway to pay attention to anything besides your footing.
Not soon enough I was back in the scrubby low trees and just moving through the rocky terrain as best as I could. Moving to the side when the clacking of trekking poles came up fast behind me.
Out of no where this popped up and I am not going to lie. I said Sweet Baby Jesus! right out loud and a couple guys in front of me laughed.
Note I feel like I have descended quite a bit but I am still at 4200 feet. 
The hut was packed but thankfully I could use a bathroom! I filled my water and got a hot homemade bowl of split pea soup for $2. And a seat, I sat on a long bench with all the other hikers and I just listened. The old timers at the next table and their memories of "back in the day" at the huts and young people looking at maps. There were kids, I mean little kids who were carried there on their parents backs and the family from Boston who I didn't hike directly with but I feel like we made this hike together. 
I first noted this woman with greying hair and her 3 children as we started out. I would guess they were 10, 13 and maybe 17 as she kept making references to when she was grown up and away from home. 2 of the girls wore skirts and all had new sneakers on-Crunchy for sure which I loved. We traveled back and forth all the way to the ridge before we exchanged any words. She explained they were from Boston and didn't own a car but traveled everywhere by bike. She says with a laugh, I thought we were strong but this is really tough. I had to agree.

The trip from the Hut back to the lot was a little under 3 miles and happily mostly back in the trees. The rock never really ended but soon the sound of water returned as we came back around towards the Falling Waters trail. At one point I got a little nervous as I looked around and found myself all alone. This hadn't happened out of now where and I immediately looked down at the time.

Almost 6 o'clock. I must be the last frigging person to get back to my car.
Again I remind myself I am here to hike my own hike.
The Old Bridal path ends right at the first water crossing for the Falling Waters trail and I did what I have heard is the best remedy for sore and achy feet. I took off my boots and soaked them in the ice cold water. The dirt that I hadn't noticed before washed away.
I looked over my shoulder and who do I see. My Boston friends.
I am sure to cheer them on-You made it! The kids sit and soak as well.
I got to chat with Mom again and she shared that they were happy to have made it and starving as well. She even told me about a goat farm to visit near Mt Watchusett with my kids.
I made my way down past the bath room towards the lot and was again greeted by another woman who cheered - You did it!
Hot Damn, We all did it!!
This magical day would not be complete without some tears. This is the view of the roadway when I pulled out of the Lafayette parking lot. When I arrived I was surprised to see an almost full lot but I wasn't prepared for the cars up and down the side of the highway when I left. Last Winter I drove thru this area and said to my kids, I'm going to hike these mountains some day and Ava said No Mom, this is too dangerous. I won't let you. 
To myself, out loud, I got to say-Hey, you just hiked that mountain today. 
I felt and still feels awesome. 
Sadly I am reminded that this adventure is over but only for today as I dream and plan and plan. 
I feel like I need to start a collection of adventure index cards that I can just pull one and set off when my wallet and calender allows.

fooseberry's Franconia Ridge Trail July 30 2016 album on Photobucket

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Camping and hiking Mount Hedgehog

Friday July 29th I dropped the kids at camp, my car was loaded with maybe too much stuff and maybe not everything I needed but I was off on an adventure. I didn't even realize it until I was home but I essentially didn't hit any traffic- Like no memory of any. I made a side trip on my way home to have lunch with a friend in Worcester so the exchange from 495 to 290 was a 2 mile crawl but even that was no big deal.
I headed up with my list of National Forest campgrounds. I could not find any available openings at Layfayette Campground so my next best option was to take my chances on a first come first serve site in the National Forest.  My goal was Hancock as it was closest to Lincoln and Rt 93. Somewhere along the line I realized I would really like a shower. As I am shuffling through by pages I see only 3-4 campgrounds out of almost 2 dozen have showers.
Damn it!
Once on the Kangamangus Highway I drive by a few campgrounds and go to one of the farthest campgrounds but it has showers and am greeted with a FULL sign so I turn around and go to the last one I saw about a mile back. At this point I figure securing a campsite is more important so I pull in. A National Forest person pulls up and says site 20 and 30 are open.

Because it is self-serve he tells me to park a lawn chair on the site to claim it and come back to pay. I actually set up camp pretty quickly and look at my map. My friend made a statement along the lines of Hike the S%^& out of those trails and I figured he was right so I should get right to it. Tomorrow would be an all day hike and Sunday may be a wash depending on how my body felt. 
Right across the street is a trail to Mount Hedgehog. Seriously?? Ava loves Hedgehogs so this is no longer a maybe but a requirement. I pack up pack and walk to the gate where I take care of signing in and paying and I walk across the street.

Is anyone else just in awe that I am walking across the street to a 5 mile trail on a mountain?? Well I am. I was at 2800 feet in a little over a hour. It was the kind of hiking I really enjoy. Woods, funky mushrooms and silence. I passed 1 couple early on but not a soul otherwise.
About 2.5 miles in I finally circle around from the back side to the cliff side and I am just filled with views of mountains, green and clouds forever. I have said this before but I just looked at my map trying to acclimate myself to what mountains I was seeing and thinking I have so many more miles I would love to cover.

I was really hoping to include a photo slide show but I can't seemto make that work. I have included a link to my photobucket album which includes all the photos of this part of my trip.

fooseberry's Mt Hedgehog 72916 slideshow on Photobucket

I headed out about 3:30 and was back to my site by 7pm.
I decided to head into Conway as I always head back to Lincoln and wanted to see what they had to offer. I was happy to find Seadog Brewery had an empty seat at the bar.  Just a suggestion, try a Sunfish if you like fruity Summer beer.  I did a quick stop and LL Bean too but wasn't impressed so I headed "home".
I was in bed by 9:30. Headlamp and a book and sleeping in no time.
I am glad I stayed busy because I really think I was too tired to be scared.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Prep/Pep Talk

First I would like to say Thank you to Mother Nature. I have been working on cultivating my relationship with her gently and with much respect and gratefulness. I think she is reciprocating these feelings by opening a window for me to bath in her wonder atop (hopefully) 3 great mountains on Saturday. I am not afraid of the rain but prefer not to be on the spine when lightning comes. It looks like just rain the night before and holding off just for Saturday and then rain again on Sunday.
I started this post yesterday morning and was slammed with another heartbreaking call at work. I now am still boggled and not as prepared as I would like. This means I need this trip more than ever.
I plan on spreading everything out in 1 place. I will overpack a bit as I can leave things in the car but not buy things I may have forgotten.
This time I am going to be able to bring a cooler to the campground and I am going to try to carry more fresh cooked food that I reheat via stove and boiling water. Don't ask, I'll update on this possible catastrophe on Monday. I plan on having plenty of nuts and fruit and will drive into town to eat at a buffet if necessary.
I am concerned about the heat and hydration. I want to freeze everything but I am concerned now I won't have water until noon when all my bottles thaw. Last time I took a bladder in my backpack and it warmed to a "delicious" 98.6 degrees as it rested on my back thru-out the 10 mile hike.
On a side note my daughters camp lost my tent while I lent it to them for the week. Horrified, I tell them I need it for tomorrow!! Luckily someone located it but you can hear the anxiety building in my voice right?
I am planning on a wet one so I will bag everything and bring extra lights as a fire sounds doubtful. Sleeping in my car is always an option.
Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Life sucks sometimes

This week I feel like Ava has been dealt some sucky ass life blows. Unfortunately I also don't want my kids to be little assholes so I stuck to my guns even though it felt like crap.
Earlier this week I had one of the toughest calls in a long time if ever. A kid was injured and we believed she would not make it. It hit me like a stone wall. I wanted to do everything I could to finish that call and help that little girl but I also needed to be holding onto my own kids. After work Ava says Mom let's get ice cream and I add a trip to the beach. I needed to get my head together. She of course is the only person who wants Dairy Queen and true to our family dynamic we do what she wants. She is nursing 2 cat scratches on her foot and it is ridiculous but she occasionally is playing the whole I can't walk, I can't wear shows, drama crap. When we get to DQ she starts. I say just come on bare foot, we aren't going inside or anything. Olivia and I walk over, stand in line( the whole time I am waving at the car like hurry up), we order and walk back to the car. Still moping. I finally, while she is bitching, say hurry up get out of the car, you're being ridiculous. She walks over and stands in line. Now mind you we are here all the time, ordering should be easy. When it finally gets called she steps back, no answer, whining about something. I say come on order, no words.
I walk away. Back to the car.
She is pissed. I get in with my ice cream and we walk drive away.
The explaining starts. I say you know what Av you always have to control a situation with your drama. I was at that window twice. I am over you being a pain in the ass. You had a chance.
I am thinking FFfffffff, I'll come back after the beach.
We go to the beach and she gets out of the car and walks away.....and I let her. You know what I didn't do anything wrong. She constantly has to control our family dynamic and I let her.
Eventually she comes up behind me and hugs me and says she is sorry. I can get a snack at home.
Typically I also spend a lot of time explaining my actions, justifying them.
These are kids and I don't have to do that.
So I said well you need to know that wasn't cool. Next time you should come and order when we do or you might miss out but it's over now and we aren't going to harp on it.
BOOM! How did I just do that?  I am hoping we all learn from that.
Yesterday she starts texting me in a panic. Apparently they collect items at Camp and put them in a large tub of lost and found. It is explained in the welcome paperwork that if you don't collect them they will be donated. Well we just found out they do that like WEEKLY! So some time in the last week she lost her favorite Avengers Sweatshirt and Fox shirt she bought at Normandy Farms.  I am not really believing it so when I go to pick her up I am told well we can't keep all this stuff. I am a little pissed. I never enter the building. You check them out at a table outside and they page the building. If I walked in I would be looking at the box and check it regularly like I did at school but you know what they have to be responsible too.
Most importantly was her text.

She realized her mistake but also says "other kids are enjoying them". Sad I know but she needs to learn to take responsibility for her stuff and I am also donating stuff saying other people aren't so lucky and could use some of the stuff we no longer need. I feel like this message shows she understands that even though she is upset by her loss.
In recent weeks both girls have repeated things to me that I never thought they heard. Please, please, please let my rants be forgiven and my daughters be good adults.
I am constantly dealing with both kids, "kids"( really adults with parents still wiping their asses) and parents who don't want their kids to take any accountability for their actions. I see a very scary world in the future. I really don't want them to grow up like that.
Now I see why my Mom says being a Nana is so much easier than being a Mom.
P.S. Nana We love you!

Race Results

09/07/07 Main Street Mile 11:44
05/18/08 YPD 5k 52:57 17:05
06/14/08 Walpole Village 5K 35:27 11:26
06/21/08 Mashpee Fun Run 34:21 11:05
07/19/08 Mashpee Woodlands 36.49 11:52
08/10/08 Falmouth Road Race 1:29:31
08/25/08 Women Running Wild 35:40 11:30
10/25/08 Mashpee Firefighters 37:47 12:10
05/02/09 Cape Abilities 5K 34:59 11:17
05/17/09 YPD 5K 36:41 11:50
08/09/09 Falmouth Road Race 7mi 1:37
10/31/09 Mashpee Firefighters 5K 37:15 12:00
09/11/11 Main Street Mile 12:31
10/29/11 Screech to the Beach 5K 39.13 12:20
08/12/12 Falmouth Road Race 1:34:24 13:29
05/18/14 YPD 5k 44.25 14:17
06/1/14 June Jog 4mi 1:04 16:00
08/17/14 Falmouth Road Race 1:42:04 14:35
09/27/14 Girly Girl 5K 37:24 12:02
10/26/14 Pell Bridge Run 4mi 48:41 12:10
11/27/14 Turkey Trot in VA 5K 35:22 11:23
12/06/14 Jingle Jog 5K 34:42 11:11
03/29/15 Thomas Guinta Memorial 5K 34:14 11:03
04/19/15 St. Margaret's 5K 31:11 10:21
05/17/15 YPD Blues 5K 34:58 11:17
06/07/15 Newport 10 Miler 1:56:09 11:36
06/20/15 Mackenzie's 5K 33:55 10:54
08/17/14 Falmouth Road Race 1:33:51 13:24
10/31/15 Screech at the Beach 36:19 11:40