Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Winter Learning

As you know, I attended one of the winter mountain workshops with the New Hampshire chapter of the AMC (in specific, I believe my class was called "intermediate winter wilderness travel" or something like that).

Left work early Friday and carpooled up with some other people who were attending from the Boston area. Had some classroom sessions and went out for some hikes with our groups on snowshoes, did a 2,900' or something the first day, and bushwhacked up to a smaller hill and over to an old cellar hole (where there used to be a house like a thousand years ago, probably less than that). We slept in a lodge in bunk beds. We ate a wooden tables in a dining hall with giant timber beams across the ceiling. Like probably 2' deep or something. Nothing like could be built now. I believe the lodge was built in the 20s or 30s, so there were still some big trees like that then. It was kind of paradise there. Got back Sunday evening and had a couple friends/family members over for a little birthday toast.

Things I learned (or did for the first time):
  • Learned the symptoms of hypothermia, what to do if something like that happens, what the biggest dangers or things to avoid are
  • Carry extra set of socks, dry long underwear, in your pack
  • Learned to read a compass/setting bearings
  • Bushwhacking (going off the trail, just through the woods, using your map and compass to get from point A to point B)
  • Saw where a moose had chewed the bark off of trees. The type of tree was called striped maple, I believe, but the nickname is moosewood, because they sure do love it. 
  • Saw snowshoe hare tracks
  • Broke trail (this is very fun, basically you are walking in the front of the group, on the fresh snow, and you may or may not be finding the way to go, depending if you are following a trail or bushwhacking)

Things I learned (or remembered) about myself:
  • I love being outside
  • I love being active
  • I love learning new skills
  • I am excited to be the first to do something
  • I like to notice things and try to figure out what is going on or what caused it to happen or be that way
  • I'm not cold when I'm moving
We were packing up to head home and somebody said "back to the real world" and to be honest I was a little bit bummed. The weekend really was spectacular. But then I wondered. Is where we were, in the forest, in the mountains among trees and snow and open sky, isn't that more the real world than almost anything? In a way, yes it is. It does remind you how fragile you are, as a creature, how much we need clothes, shelter, heating, insulation, things like that to keep us warm. That is pretty damn real. We kind of live in a bubble that we can take those things for granted.

In a way it was like a dream too, so so so beautiful, breathtakingly beautiful. So much fun. And there wasn't anything to worry about really, they fed us, told us what to do, taught us what we needed to know. Really the main thing to worry about is not dying, and you do worry about that, a tiny bit, but only from time to time.

Which is more real? I guess all of it is IT IS ALL REAL.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Sweetest Birthday Wishes, from My Mom...

Got this email in my inbox when I returned from my NH weekend. I think it might be the best happy birthday I got this year.
Hey Hi Birthday Girl!

Hope you're having a wonderful day snowshoeing around - we even got the snow that I special ordered JUST FOR YOU...

Getting out this AM put me in mind of the Saturday morning you were born - it was sooooooo cold that AM that by the time we got Kevin into & out of the car to the Guggios house [and we only had to take him at W______ Rd] and then on to Beth Israel hospital, my labor stopped - and it had been going strong for several hours. Fortunately when I 'thawed out' things kicked back into high gear and we had you .. ta-da here she is! I am so glad that we did; you have truly been a joy to me. I love your spirit and quirky-ness and joie de vivre and kind & generous & loving nature and exceptional, inquisitive mind and your creativity ...and so much more! I love you more than words can say. Happy Birthday, Katie. 

It really means something, coming from the person who has known you since you were born. Who actually made that happen (your birth). Who wiped your little butt and your snotty little nose and held your hair back while you barfed into the toilet and put up with you when you were acting like a little shit... who watched you grow through that super awkward phase (which you may or may not still be in), who loved you through it all and will continue to love you through it all.

Thanks Mom!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winter Adventure

This weekend I turn 28.

Also, I am taking a winter wilderness/snowshoe class with AMC. I will need to purchase, borrow, or rent a couple more pieces of gear. Specifically microspikes, as the terrain near the hut where we'll be staying is apparently super icy.

It is so exciting, I can't wait! I can't wait!

I am trying to get my coworkers (or some of them) to do a winter snowshoe hike too. There's actually some significant interest!

Also, I have been spending a bit of time lately with someone for whom it actually makes sense to say "you too" when he says "happy birthday" to me. Cute, right?

Monday, January 16, 2012


This is the time of year in which I am confused both about how old I am and which year to put at the end of the date. It's like a mini number identity crisis.

p.s. it's 2012 and I'm still 27 for a couple more days (although have thought I'm 26, 27, and 28 this past week).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Sometimes you look at all the things that seem hard, that you want or need to do, and you feel like you just. Can't. Do it.

Sometimes you just gotta look it in the face and say PUP YOU I'M GONNA SHOW YOU. Or at least just dig a tiny bit deeper and find that little bit of strength to drag yourself where you need to be, go through the steps necessary to get things done. One. By. One.

Ah motivation. Ah January. Ah winter.