Archive for January, 2008

Trip report – Mt. Monadnock – 2008/01/06

Monday, January 7th, 2008

So a few of us mad hatters went hiking up in New Hampshire yesterday. We hiked Mt. Monadnock, allegedly the second most climbed mountain in the world, using snow shoes and other appropriate gear. It was a great mini-adventure, and has certainly convinced me to do this more often.

I left home just after 7am, having been to EMS already on Saturday, to buy gear. I met the others up in Nashua just before 8am, and he headed out to have breakfast before driving over to Jaffrey, New Hampshire, for the hike. We got to Monadnock at around 10:15, and took the red dot trail up to the summit. Tim brought some spare (old, but very useful nonetheless) snow shoes for me to try out (I’ll buy my own next time), which really made a difference. I was able to run up much of the trail, and also experimented with deep snow just for the fun of doing that too.

We could have gotten to the summit in under an hour, but took a little longer, stopping for the benefit of one of the group (oh how I love that not being me, the old me would never have been running up a mountain!), and to do silly things in the snow. Nonetheless, we were drinking hot chocolate and eating snacks by noon, from Tim’s never ceasing to amaze us backpack. There’s probably a pressure washer somewhere in that pack, although we didn’t need it. But joking aside, it’s also good that at least one of us had planned for all contingencies. I really was the novice hiker, glad for advice.

This was my first real winter mountain hiking experience. I lost a couple of pounds during the day, thoroughly enjoyed myself, and need to go again! Next time, I want to try something a little longer, more like 7-10 miles.


Exercise is the new black

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

So, I’m not one of these New Year’s resolution converts to the gym. In fact, I joined the latest gym last summer, but I did start going regularly again recently. And I’ve progressed to going every single day again.

Being the in the gym helps me unwind. It’s a very good way to relax, by pumping some weights, using machines, whatever I feel like. I originally joined the gym back in the summer – having not been to any such establishment since living in the UK – as a means to take my mind off thinking about a certain someone. But over time, I stopped going regularly – mostly (would you believe) because it’s a few blocks from my apartment, I’m a sensitive little flower, and I don’t like walking over there in the cold(!). What a lame excuse. I’ve told myself that’s plain crazy, and also noticed I’m addicted to driving everywhere. Heck, I’ll drive to a Starbucks that’s further away on a cold day, rather than walk a few blocks. Like any American, I really do love my car, and I really do like driving almost anywhere, at any time.

I’m a member of the Central Square, Cambridge, BSC (Boston Sports Clubs) but tonight discovered the one in Wellington Circle, Medford. I was late (how unlike me) and realized I was going to miss the 8pm (how very British – closing way too early to be useful to modern lifestyles – but this is “New England”) closing time. So I decided to actually try another one for a change. I discovered that Wellington Circle is only a few minutes from here (oh the joys of finally having a vehicle). And that one is simply amazing. Not only do they have a pool, basketball courts, sauna, and all of the frills, but the basic equipment is interesting and also brand new. I spent an hour there and am already looking at either transferring (I can only go off peak right now), or upgrading to a “passport” account. It’s funny that I was going to cancel my membership, and now I’m looking at going much more!

On the subject of fitness, tomorrow, I’m going hiking with some guys from the office for the first time. We’re hiking Mt. Monadnock, in New Hampshire (check out the historical USS Monadnock designation used in civil war vessels), and I’m hoping to simultaneously avoid any Presidential wannabes, who decide Monadnock would make a bizzare staged photo-op du jour. As a direct consequence of our little expedition, I decided to check out EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) in Harvard earlier on. It’s hardly MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-Op), but it’s not REI either. They seem to be fairly clueful, will go out of their way to help you, and didn’t mind the amount of time I spent trying things on. I even made them strip down one of their display mannequins to get me the snow pants (ok, alright, trousers) in size medium. This was after the skinny assistant told me he was several sizes larger than me and needs a large.

I’ve joined the gym in the office too, and yes, I do plan to go climbing again with the folks up in Westford. But I need to go to the gym a lot more before I’m pulling the kind of weights that I need to in order to be a good climber. Right now, I can adequately manage 110lbs on the chest press, but I’m 160lbs at the moment. Although this is a far cry from the 210lbs fatboy, the thinner version isn’t yet toned enough to be doing serious aerobatics. Anyway, if you’re looking to find a workout partner in Central Square, want to go hiking (half day-full day hikes only at the moment, I’ve got too much else on to spend a whole weekend somewhere), please let me know. Now to try Bikram Yoga.

And yes, Andrew, I do want to go to the ‘dacks soon.