Trilho das Brandas de Sistelo (Brandas de Sistelo Trail) – September 11th

Growing up my outdoor activities were limited to “going to the beach” and hiking was not something I ever imaged myself doing – woods, bugs, sweat… pass!! But then I moved to the US and married a hiker… I had never hiked before 2008 and now I love it!

In September we went to Portugal to visit my family and friends and we did something that I had never done there – hiked! We hiked the Brandas de Sistelo trail.

Sistelo is a village situated in North of Portugal, set in the foothills of the Peneda Geres National Park, on the left side of the river Vez. The trail is an easy loop (about 5.3 miles) that winds through different brandas (brandas are “villages” made by shepperds to move with herds in search of better pastures. They were used mainly in the summer, when the fields around the village were being cultivated).

The trail is fairly easy with the occasional increase in altitude (the highest point in about 2700 ft) and it’s all around beautiful. You walk through villages, through open ridge and the views are spectacular. The scenery is so much different from anything I’ve ever hiked here… 

I took so many pictures… here are some to show a little of it (as usual, the pictures don’t do justice to this incredible place!)

 

It is a beautiful world out there – enjoy it!

Happy trails,

A.

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Mt. Starr King & Mt. Waumbek – September 2nd

This is a very,  very pretty hike through the woods. Mt. Waumbek is one of the shortest 4000ft, but a 4000ft nonetheless!

The summit is marked by a pile of rocks in the middle of a wooded area, and one of the most memorable things about the hike is the fireplace (what remains of a cabin) in the middle of the woods before the summit.

This is not a loop, so be ready to turn around and go back the same way, which is not our favorite, but it really is a very enjoyable hike.

Happy trails,

A.

Mount Moriah – August 26th

Moriah was a beautiful hike!!

The parking lot can be tricky to find and so can the trail!! It is located at the end of Bangor Street in Gorham, NH. There is no actual parking lot at the trail head, so you can park on the street or in a little sandy area before the trail head. Make sure you walk to the end of the street – that’s where the trail starts (don’t be like us and enter the woods by the sandy area and walk for 2 miles until you realize you are in the wrong place 😉 )

Moriah is 4,049 feet and the trail is relatively easy, compared to other 4,000 ft mountains (it can be dangerous when wet, a big portion of the Carter-Moriah trail is rock.)

The summit is above tree line and offers amazing 360 views.

I made a video of the top, but for some reason can’t post it… I’ll work on that…

Happy trails,

A.

South Hancock & Hancock – June 10, 2017

Two more 4000F in the bag!

The drive to this hike was through one of my favorite roads – the Kancamagus Highway! After parking you actually have to cross the highway to get to the trail (so, be careful!!)

(the parking fee is $3 for the day – we buy the season pass)

The trail is a loop known as the Hancock Loop Trail, which is reached from the Cedar Brook Trail and Hancock Notch Trail, starting at the Kancamagus Highway parking area (parking is $3 a day or you can get the season pass, like we do)

Hancock Notch Trail – leads from the Kancamagus Highway to the Sawyer River Road. For the Hancocks, follow this trail 1.8 miles to the Cedar Brook Trail.

Cedar Brook Trail – from the Hancock Notch Trail to the Wilderness Trail in the Pemigewasset Wilderness. From the Hancock Notch Trail follow the Cedar Brook trail 0.7 miles to the Hancock Loop Trail.

Hancock Loop Trial – To North Hancock the trail runs 0.8 miles (1,150 feet) to the summit. To South Hancock the trail rises 0.5 miles (1,000 feet) to the summit. The trail runs 1.4 miles between the peaks, and rises and falls over three small false summits.

The summits are wooded (and small) and the views limited, but it just felt good to be out here, regardless!

Have fun out there and

Happy trails!

A.

Southern Presidential Range (as promised)

In September 2013 we took a few days and decided to hike the Southern Presidential Range starting at the Dry River Trail (9.6 miles from Crawford Notch to the Lakes of the Clouds). Knowingly a fairly isolated, not super popular trail, so we were expecting it to be nice and quiet…and just weren’t expecting it to be closed!

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If you encounter a closed trail sign, turn around…. Don’t do what we did…. The trail was heavily affected by tropical storm Irene in 2011 the layout of the trail in some places, as well as junctions, gone…

The beginning of the trail up to the shelter was fine (we spent the night close by at a tent site), the problems started the next day after a mile or two… the trail was completely gone… Thankfully with Wade’s great orientation skills, a map and compass we were able make it through the rough and scary nonexistent trail…. Some parts of the trail were completely covered with fallen trees and debris so we were climbing over and crawling under… I confess, i was pretty scared but then the adrenaline and will to get out of there kicks in and the bruises, the cuts, the scrapes, the holes in clothing and bags don’t matter…

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When we finally got out of that mess and were able to look around, see the beauty that was all around us, it made me feel pretty damn good! (Even more so when I was able to see the White Mountains National Forest sign… then I was able to feel relieved because we were finally “out of the woods” and on the right track 🙂 )100_2663100_2665

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You can see the towers at the top of Mount Washington.

 

 

 

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The view of the Lakes of the Clouds is just breathtaking! (by the time we got to the hut we were exhausted… inquired about staying but the prices were crazy!!! The girl at the hut was really nice, looked at us and said that we’d be able to get to the Naumann Tentsite near the Mizpah Hut. So we refilled our bottles, and kept going. And yes, we made it before night time!

The next day we tackled Mount Monroe, Mount Eisenhower, Mount Jackson and Webster.

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The Dry River Trail has since opened (in 2014 if I’m not mistaken) but it is still, from what I read, a pretty challenging trail, and a work in progress…

If you are prepared and up for it, it is worth it, it is as challenging as it is beautiful! (We would love to go back in the fall when the foliage is at its peak)

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As always, have fun, be careful and…

happy trails!

A.

The worst hike (so far…anyway)

So, I really enjoy hiking and even though a few of the hikes we’ve done were tough, there’s always something very rewarding and a sense of accomplishment at the end of the end. Well, not with every hike though… In July of 2012 we tackled Mt. Tripyramid loop in the Sandwich Range Wilderness in NH and that was, by far, the worst hike I’ve ever done.  In this 11 mile hike you will come across North Peak (4,180 feet), Middle Peak (4,140 feet) and South Peak (4,100 feet) (hence Tripyramid).

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If, by whatever reason, you decide to hike this  mountain, I would recommend going up the North side and down the South… if you have hiked this, you know what I’m talking about 🙂  Be ready to get your mountain goat mode on and don’t look down! And be EXTREMELY careful!!!!  A really big chunk of the “trail” is made up of steep rock slabs… terrain that you probably should climb with rope and all happy stuff… It was scary, it was tough, it was nerve wrecking but we did it – and no, I do not have any desire to do it again…. After all the hard work you are rewarded with wooded summits which makes for a pretty disappointing climb, in my humble opinion… (I like to be rewarded with breathtaking views after putting my life at risk 😉 )

I did sit down every once in a while on the way to snap some pictures…

This was so far the worst, scariest hike we’ve done… although the Southern Presidential Range had a pretty hairy section, but that’s a topic for another post… Stay tuned 🙂

Happy trails,

A.