“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” ~ Sir Edmund Hillary
Annual New Year’s Hike
Every year, I start the New Year off with a hike. Not that I am one to make resolutions, because I am not, but it is a great way to start off the year on a healthy note, get outside for some reflection and contemplation, and just feel the healing vibes of nature. I feel like we could ALL use some of that, especially right now. And while a New Year doesn’t constitute a blank slate per se, it is a nice reset, which we all need from time to time.
I have been doing a LOT of reflection, given a wide range of events that have occurred, both personally, and on a more national and global level, and one of the nice things is that I have been doing this hike for eight years. Even with living in New York, I was always home for Christmas and New Year’s and it is nice that I have this tradition. Even when I do move, where ever that may be, I can not wait to keep up my annual New Year’s hiking tradition, and perhaps like this hike, it won’t be as snowy!
Despite getting snow right before Christmas, Christmas Day was NOT a white Christmas. We got several FEET of rain, and it melted all the snow. For the first time, in what felt like forever, we didn’t have any snow on New Year’s even in the mountains. I ended up hiking in sneakers. And while I did bring micro spikes just in case, because it is ALWAYS best to be prepared when hiking, I didn’t need to use them.
It also wasn’t that cold out. Three years ago, I hiked in negative temps wearing a balaclava and ALL the layers. This year, it was a light jacket and I was SWEATING, up until we started descending which always feels like a cool down. Mother Nature is interesting friends! I did use hot hands, just because my hands are super sensitive to cold temperatures even when it is fifty degrees out, but I honestly didn’t have to bother with them either.
Peaked Mountain is a three mile round trip up to the summand and back hike, though it does have trails that connect to other mountains. I have been hiking it a lot since the pandemic began, both with my brother and the kiddos. It is a relatively easy hike and with the trailhead located right in town, it is also easily accessible. It is also quite nostalgic, as I use to do it weekly when I was a teenager.
Ironically, it has gone from a favorite hike to one of my least favorites, though that could be now that I have gotten older, and am no longer hiking weekly, I can no longer hike it in just over an hour. Old age
sucks is interesting. Irregardless, it is still a gorgeous hike, and has some of the best views of the Valley.
We had a late start as my brother was working at the hospital in the morning. We were shocked by how crowded the trailhead was, but decided to do it anyway. Most people, I think were walking around Pudding Pond, which shares the same trail head, since we didn’t really see anyone on the trail and thankfully no one was at the top when we got there.
It took us just under two hours and that was with bushwhacking to a secret spot for a slight reprieve that offered us views of snowy Mount Washington, just about the only snow capped mountain to be had! We also weren’t in any races. As I have gotten older I have realized I prefer to be more the tortoise then the hare and want to enjoy the hike even if it takes a bit longer. It was an enjoyable couple hours and I loved that I am getting reacquainted with Peaked. I even joked with my brother that I should start doing it every week, but we will see on that one!
How did you spend New Year’s Day? Do you have any New Year’s Day traditions?