Last year I began hiking around my new home, Moosehead Lake. I loved exploring what the area has to offer, yet didn’t realize all that I was able to gain from the simple task of taking a hike. I began to feel a strong emotional pull each time I summited a mountain or explored a new area. I felt alive, grounded, healthy and free. It was wonderful. Some hikes were solo, some hikes were with friends both new and old. Some challenged me as I huffed and puffed to the summit while others I felt like I could tackle easily. The constant experience was that I never regretted a hike, I was at my healthiest and I wanted to push myself to do more!
In October 2016, I completed the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit and quickly decided I need to set a goal for myself for 2017. It is easy to say, “hike ALL the mountains” around Moosehead Lake. I was too intimidated to attempt the Winter or Ultra challenges the Moosehead Pursuit offers, yet I knew I could do something. I started googling different types of hiking challenges and found the 52 Hike Challenge. I knew this was a great idea for me since it was at my own pace, a big goal but not crazy. I could go solo, go with friends, do it everywhere I traveled and mountains close to home. S, I decided to define hiking for the purpose of this challenge. For MY 2017 challenge I decided to define hiking as a walk for a long distance, especially across country or in the woods.
In December, I bought a small journal and some fun stickers and decided I would journal after or during each hike, to remind myself of the journey, the company and the happiness it brought me. It has been a bit of a slow start, yet I got the first 5 hikes out pretty fast and had fun company on most 3 of them. Then February got away from me. Here is a quick overview of the first few for those that are interested.
Hike 1: On January 1st, I put on my snowshoes and took to the woods in my own back yard in an effort to start the year off right. During the Fall my husband and I did a great deal of work to improve our trails, making them a perfect place to start my challenge. Porsche and I headed out and hiked a little over a mile, taking in the fresh winter air while enjoying the powdering snow. We hiked to the Pebble Beach where we sat and relaxed for a while before returning home.
Hike 2: January 7th I returned to our Tomhegan trails with a topographical map app in an attempt to mark the milage of each of our trails. The app struggled to find our location (#rurallifeproblems) so we ditched it and kept on snowshoeing. Porsche sniffed out some very fresh Moose tracks on the Ferguson trail. We followed them the the intersection of the Boundary trail but never spotted any animals. Nevertheless, it was a fun addition to our snowshoeing trek.
Hike 3: On January 12th my sister Megan came up for a visit. She had never snowshoed before, so we were quick to decide she had to before she returned to Massachusetts. I lent her a pair, that were a tad too big and we took to the trails. We had a great time, but the long snowshoes caused her to take a few falls. The good sport laughed them off while Porsche smothered her in kisses. We made it to the Pebble Beach before Jeff decided to met us with his new camera. We took some fun photos and finished the hike with him. Porsche found a strange jaw bone on this hike that we couldn’t identify. Oh the strange things you find in nature!
Hike 4: January 17th Jeff suggested we take a lake hike. I am so glad he suggested this, but will share that the frozen lake scares me!! I don’t trust it as much as some Mainers do. The popping sounds scared the living daylights out of me each time!! We were able to climb some of the small islands and visit the Eagle’s nest. Of course no eagles were home but it was a fun time. My favorite picture so far this winter was captured on this lovely adventure.
Hike 5: My mom and two youngest siblings came to visit for a week while Jeff was in Florida for his annual guys trip. They had never been snowshoeing so we decided to rent some for Gabe (too little to borrow any of mine) and head to a trail I had never done before. On January 28th we hiked about 45 minutes into the Little Moose Mountain trail that starts behind Moose Mountain Inn. We laughed a lot as we had to struggle up some hills and slide down others. We set up a hammock at the point we decided we would stop at and relaxed for a little while before descending and going out for lunch in Greenville. We all decided we would love to hike this mountain together in the spring or summer!
Hike 6: I don’t know where the month of February went…. All 28 days I went without snowshoeing or hiking. AHH I hope to avoid that in the future. I was tense, tired and a bit cranky most of the month. In an effort to repair my attitude, on March 1st I explored an area new to me, Brown’s Mill Park in Dover-Foxcroft, ME. All I had was a trail map and an idea of where the trailhead was. When I arrived in Dover, it was raining. Determined to hike, I pulled the radar up on my phone and saw it would be stopping in the next half hour. I decided to hit up one of the local coffee shops and wait it out. Sure enough the rain let up and I headed out to explore. The fog was amazingly beautiful! The park was easy to find with a large sign at the entrance, yet the two trailheads identified on my map were not easy to locate. I ended up on a different trail than I intended but did a nice loop (main trail, connector trail, towards the swamp trail but turned around and took the river trail back) I really loved this solo hike and can’t wait to return to this park when spring has sprung!
I have 6 hikes planned this coming week on a visit to Massachusetts and a handful more before the winter is over. I plan on doing 9 while on our 2 week April vacation and have already started planning hikes for Northwoods Wellness Collective. Stayed tuned! I will have to play some catch up in order to get all 52 done before December 31st! Cheer me on! Give me hiking suggestions and let me know your favorite places to hike! Maybe you can join me on one or many of my adventures! View all hiking photos by following #sammhikes52 on Instagram