Back in the White’s

It took a week, but I finally had a moment to reflect on last weekend’s awesome family adventure to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We were back in the White’s exactly two weeks after our last adventure, but this time, with our two children.  2013_White Mountain Family Adventure 130

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It was a fantastic trip with many highlights. Last year’s Cog to Hut Adventure and 2009’s Hut-to-Hut with our son were inspiration for this trip. This time, we decided to base ourselves at AMC’s Highland Center in Crawford Notch. It is a great central location for day adventure in the White’s.

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Horst Engineering was closed for four day’s over the July 4th holiday, so we had the perfect amount of time to make the trip. We arrived on Thursday in time for me to take a short bike ride across Mt. Clinton Road and up to the Cog Railway. Several times during the weekend, the kids got to play on the amazing playscape. This was one of the main attractions. It is no ordinary playground. After our initial play, we had dinner at the lodge.

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At dusk, we made the short hike to Elephant’s Head and took in some sweet sunset views of the notch. The walk offered some fun photographic opportunities, which was part of the weekend’s “relaxing” appeal. It was a late night for the kids, but you make exceptions when you are on “vacation.”

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Friday was the day for our big hike. The goal was for our son to bag his first official NH 4000 footer. He had been across the summits of several qualifying mountains, but not entirely on his own power. This time, he was hiking solo without a net! From the notch, we went up to 4,052 Mt. Jackson via the Webster-Jackson Trail. It was cooler on the summit, but comfortable enough to enjoy a snack.

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From the top, we headed over to Mizpah Spring Hut for a late lunch and rest. Then, we took the Mizpah Cutoff to the Crawford Path and returned to the notch. The 7.7 mile  hike took us about eight hours. It was a fun day. We saw some critters, including a grouse, several frogs, and lots of insects. We avoided any rain. It was warm and partially sunny. Truly, it was a gorgeous day.

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It was a lot of work for a six-year old, but he was tough. We had to encourage him a bit at the end and he was cracking us up with the exchanges. At one point, he said, “I’m wilting.” I replied, “No, you are wilted.” He said, “What does wilted mean?”

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It was that kind of back and forth that made the day so enjoyable. Debbie and I were so proud of him. Our daughter did a fair amount of walking too. We were in no rush. It was great to just spend a day exploring in the mountains and we were blessed to have the weather with us, unlike our June Hut Traverse.

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After cleaning up at the lodge, we met up with our friends Matt and Christina Schomburg and their nearly one-year old daughter. Matt helped us out on our Hut Traverse as he has many times in the past. We invited them down from their home in Milan to have dinner and enjoy the playscape. After the meal, we had some rain showers but they cleared in time to reveal a lovely full rainbow that spanned the notch. The evening ended with a campfire and S’mores. It was a great day.

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On Friday, it was my turn for some adventure. After Debbie did hill repeats on Mt. Avalon, I suited up for a big training ride. My route took me west on Rt. 302 through Littleton, Lisbon, and across the mighty Connecticut River in Woodsville. From Wells River, Vermont, I rode west until I hit Rt. 232. I took the beautiful road north through Ricker Pond State Park, Groton State Forest, and Kettletown State Park. The climbs were hard but the descents were fun.

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I connected with Rt. 2, then headed west again until I reached Montpelier. I stopped to refuel at the co-op, then headed south on Rt. 12. When I got to Northfield, I took Rt. 12A into Roxbury. From there, I took Warren Mountain Road to the mostly dirt Roxbury Gap Road and over the infamous gap. I was way over-geared with only a 38 x 19 thanks to a balky derailleur. I gutted it out, nearly walking three times, but was able to finally pedal the whole way.

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I want to go back and do the epic Six Gaps Ride. I’ve been on most of those roads, but never in one ride. I had a fun descent down into Warren, and then paralleled Rt. 100 into Waitsfield where Debbie and the kids were waiting for me. It was 7.5 hours and 118 miles of bliss and should do wonders for my triathlon training. I took the kids for a quick swim in the Mad River and then we met new friends at the 1% For The Planet 10th Anniversary party.

Post-party, we changed the kids into their pajamas and made the 100 mile drive back to Crawford Notch. We didn’t see any moose, but it was a challenging trip after a long day. Sunday morning, we were up bright and early, packed the car, and headed south to Lincoln for the Loon Mountain Race. Debbie ran while the kids and I explored and watched.

After the race, we enjoyed some time in the Pemigewasset River before once again loading into the car and heading south. We were home by 6:00 P.M. and capped off an awesome family adventure. We can’t wait to get back to the mountains.

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Little D passed her second of three #taekwondo #blackbelt tests. The third, and biggest, is in October. #tkd #sunset #md90 🌞✈️ #echoamphitheater #carsonnationalforest #newmexico Stopping to stretch our legs and use the potty was the best $2 I've spent in a while. I even borrowed a nickel from @trailrunningmom and got rid of the 95 cents in my pocket. Amazing #durango #colorado trails. These are the #HorseGulchTrails near @fortlewiscollege which has an amazing #cycling culture. When I raced collegiates @bcclubcycling & @bucycling in the early 90's, it wasn't anything like what's happening with the powerhouse @flccycling team. What an amazing backyard. Imagine rolling out of your dorm and onto this landscape. I would never go to class! Don't tell my kids I said that! #mountainbiking #cyclocross #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #horstspikes 🚵‍♀️ @trailrunningmom finished in 41 hours and 1 minute. #hr100 #hardrock100 #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports #trailrunning #ultrarunning #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom  at the #hr100 #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom  at the #hr100 #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom left the Chapman Aid Station at 2:10 P.M. I paced her from Ouray (56.6 miles) to Chapman (82.2 miles). @ultramarathondan will take her to the finish of the @hardrock100 #hr100 #hardrock100 Most importantly, she is in good spirits and despite the altitude, is moving OK on the climbs, albeit slowly. As for the descents, her legs are trashed but she is still bombing them. Finish could be in the 40-42 hour range if all goes well. Who knows? Lots of variables! Fingers crossed. I have tons of photos to go through, so I selected one of our crew with Deb as she headed out for the final 18 miles. #trailrunning #ultrarunning #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports We finally reconnected with @trailrunningmom She arrived at Grouse Gulch, 42.2 miles at 8:33pm and departed at 8:50pm. She was soaked to the bone after climbing her first ever 14,000 foot peak. Handies had lots of hail and rain. She changed every piece of clothing and shoes and felt much better. The drive to/from was white knuckle insanity with our rental. @ultramarathondan is with her now. It will be a long night. I'll see her in Ouray. Our kids  have been awesome. Mom just wants to finish, but a long way to go. @hardrock100 #hr100 #hardrock100 #trailrunning #ultrarunning 🏃🏻⛰

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