Get Outside and Have Fun!

On top of Mount Madison, Sharon, Nancy, Sarah and Liz begin their journey back down to Madison Hut.  We braved high winds to reach the summits of Mount Madison and Mount Adams.
On top of Mount Madison, Sharon, Nancy, Sarah and Liz begin their journey back down to Madison Hut. We braved high winds to reach the summits of Mount Madison and Mount Adams.

Amy Patenaudeby Amy Patenaude
Outdoor/Ski Writer

This is a great summer. I have been getting out and I have been getting out with my friends. We’ve been hiking, climbing and biking as much as we can and playing some golf too. Work is such an inconvenience.
Have you noticed that the days are getting shorter? Oh summer’s longest days are well behind us and now the sun is setting at 8pm. And the poor children will be forced accompany their parents to do their back to school shopping too soon.
If not now, when?

A trip to Clark’s Trading Post  in Lincoln, is never complete without having a run-in with the infamous Wolfman.
A trip to Clark’s Trading Post in Lincoln, is never complete without having a run-in with the infamous Wolfman.

Have you visited your favorite White Mountain Attraction? Clark’s trained bears are putting on shows and Wolfman is still chasing the train. Take the kids to crawl around the Polar Caves or help them find Lost River.
We have mountains and if you’re not crazy about hiking and rock climbing there are many ways to reach the summits. Three peaks are higher than 4,000 feet and you’ll be able to see what all the fuss is about hiking up New Hampshire’s 48 peaks that make up the 4,000-footer list. Mount Washington offers two ways to avoid hiking via the Cog Railway and the Auto Road. Wildcat’s gondola will whisk to the summit in a jiffy and it is just a short walk to the viewing platform on its summit. Cannon Mountain’s Tramway will carry you and all you family and friends to the top (after you visited the New England Ski Museum, free admission, located near the base of the Tramway).
Gosh there is still more fun to be found at New Hampshire Ski resorts. Mount Sunapee, Gunstock, Bretton Woods, Attitash, Mount Cranmore, Loon Mountain and Wildcat offer exciting zip-line adventures. Mountain coasters, mini golf and mountain biking can be found at many of these resorts too.

Sharon LaVigne of New London steps carefully up Mount Adams as she tries to keep her balance in winds that gusted as high as 50 mph.  Only Mount Washington is higher than Mount Adams. Mount Adams’ elevation is 5,794 feet.
Sharon LaVigne of New London steps carefully up Mount Adams as she tries to keep her balance in winds that gusted as high as 50 mph. Only Mount Washington is higher than Mount Adams. Mount Adams’ elevation is 5,794 feet.

My hiking golf gal friends are steadily checking off peaks on their New Hampshire 4,000-Footer List and now they are down to just 9 mountains left to complete the list. Our most recent adventure was up Mount Madison and Mount Adams. We enjoyed comfortable hiking conditions as we hiked up Airline from Appalachia on Route 2 in Randolph and as soon as we reached treeline the wind hit us hard.
The plan was to hit Adam’s summit first but the high wind and the summit was just barely in the clouds made us detour to Madison Hut to decide what to do. Madison’s summit was clear so we worked our way up the rocky summit cone and back down with some difficulty. The wind was steady 30+ mph with gusts as high as 50 mph (winds that hard make it difficult to stand let alone hike). I checked the Mount Washington Observatory’s records and confirmed the wind speed.

Happy finish after ten miles and nearly ten hours—front yours truly & Sarah McCann; back Nancy Vespoli, Liz Treece &  Sharon LaVigne.
Happy finish after ten miles and nearly ten hours—front yours truly & Sarah McCann; back Nancy Vespoli, Liz Treece & Sharon LaVigne.

We didn’t linger on the summit, only long enough to take in the grand vista. We pointed out all the peaks on the nearby Carter-Wildcat ridge that we hiked earlier this summer.
Luckily by mid-day the winds had not increased, perhaps the wind slightly tamed and the clouds blocking the top of Adams had moved on. We made the push for the Adam’s summit along with some Boy Scouts and two men from Massachusetts (they had an exciting time being lost in the bottom of King Ravine before making their way to the Airline Trail). The strong wind was cold and we all put on our jackets.
On our return we took a nice long break in the hut before we danced and stumbled down the Valley Way Trail. My friends reported that the day seemed much longer than the ten hours that our adventure took. Wind is very taxing and makes taking a step difficult yet alone the many steps it takes to climb a mountain. The effort was rewarding and I know we all had fun because there was much talk of making another hike soon.

Yours truly in the orange helmet is beginning a climb at Mount Oscar.
Yours truly in the orange helmet is beginning a climb at Mount Oscar.

I had the chance to go rock climbing with my husband Charlie and our neighbors Barb and Steve. New Hampshire is a hot bed of activity for rock climbing. North Conway’s Cathedral and White Horse Ledges, Rumney and Cannon Cliff are where many famous mountaineers learned and practiced their trade. Thousands of climbers visit these popular climbing areas every season. Happily locals know where to go to avoid the crowds.
We rode our mountain bicycles from Zealand Road, across from the parking area for the Sugarloafs, up the snowmobile trail/old logging road to Mount Oscar’s ledges—Mount Oscar, a.k.a. Bretton Woods’ West Mountain. The mountain biking is excellent and there are dramatic views of the Zealand Valley and the Sugarloaf’s cliffs.

We climbed all morning. I am the least talented and knowledgeable by far and I am thankful that Barb, Steve and Charlie take the time to teach me how to climb outside. I have been going to the Evo rock gym in Concord once a week to try to improve my skills. I learned the hard way why I should have remembered to remove my wedding band. I got my fingers deep into a crack and I managed to wedge my ring with my finger tight in between the rock. After some time I was able to wiggle my finger out of the ring. I used a carabineer to gentle knock my ring free. I won’t forget next time.
My father is way ahead of us. He, with the help of a couple of neighborhood kids stacked a winter’s supply of firewood in his shed. There is a big pile of wood waiting to be split for future winters use. I think I will wait until October.
Have fun.

Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: amy@weirs.com.