I have done little day hikes before, but NOTHING could/would prepare me for the 4,200 foot climb into the sky that is Mt. Lafayette! (Although Mt. Lafayette is 5,260 feet in elevation, I only made it to the Greenleaf Hut at 4,200 feet.) It took me roughly 4 hours to get to the Greenleaf Hut.
This is about the halfway point. You can't see the summit in amongst the clouds unfortunately.
My extended family went on to make a dash for the summit. Although the weather was closing in, as they neared the top a quick rainstorm made for a soggy trip. They even said that it hailed on them, which didn't happen while I was at the hut recovering. (Goes to show you the difference 1,000 feet can make.) They said that they made it to the top, but then had to hussle back down since the weather was getting so bad.
My cousin was amazing, he offered to stay back and help push me. Trust me when I say there were times that I wanted to turn around and go back, but he wouldn't let me, he pushed me when I was at my weakest. And it made the biggest difference when we got above the treeline into the Alpine zone. The views were breathtaking.
He and I had talked before about preparing for the trip and taking it easy, you don't want to make frequent stops because your muscles will cramp up, but there were so many times that I had to stop, and then I wanted to stop, but would take little steps, so to keep moving.
The Greenleaf Hut is up in the clouds in this picture
While I was waiting for my family in the Greenleaf Hut I had an opportunity to speak with some of the AMC staff who work at the hut (they are called the Croo) and one lady informed me that of the majority of the mountains in the White Mountains in New Hampshire that Mt. Lafayette was one of the most challenging ones to climb. Apparently I picked a good one to start with! But in all honesty, it made my day when she said that!
Squinty McSquinterson here....
I cried at one point. My cousin told me there was no crying in hiking. I said, ok, but that there is crying when you hit a huge milestone in your life, like my weight loss journey. He was great, he kept telling me that it would all be worth it. And it was that and SO much more.
I've realized some things. I CAN do anything if I put my mind to it. I may have been the heaviest person I saw on the mountain that day, but I did it. I realized that I like hiking more than running, and that I may have a shift in my goal setting moving forward. I realized that I still have a long way to go, but that I am so proud of challenging myself and succeeding. I am already in the process of looking for some day hikes around the New England area. I've found New England's Fifty Finest list that looks particularly interesting. I think it has a great mix of smaller mountains and some larger ones. I've realized there is nothing like a fresh pair of dry socks to make your day a little bit better.
Coming back down was tricky. Not only were we having to climb over rocks but since it had rained, everything was wet and slick. Of course, Ms. Grace that I am, I fell and I have a nasty bruise on the side of my thigh to show for it. But it's just part of my battle scars!
We made it down in just shy of 3 hours. All of us tired and hungry. My aunt was more than happy to fill our bellies! She had been cooking for some time.
When I finally got back to my apartment I plugged my Gruve in. I couldn't wait to see how many calories I had burned, sure enough just a hair shy of 2,200 calories in one day! Wow, that was incredible. I was pounding water like you wouldn't believe, but sweating it out as quick as I could get it in. I took some medication and went to bed.
The next morning I got up and decided to step on the scale, just to see, I had dropped like 5 pounds! I was in shock, but then a goodbye dinner later on (my extended family heading home) and a full day of recovery, I was up a few pounds, but still down overall.
Today (Sunday), my muscles are tight still, my calves especially. The tops of my thighs ache when I use them, my abs hurt, but I'm happy that I accomplished something so fantastic. I am hoping that when they go next year, that we'll have better weather and can make it to the top of the mountain. I am going to try to get a walk in either tonight or tomorrow just to try and stay limber.
I find that hiking is very symbolic of any journey, it doesn't matter how long it takes you to get to the top, but once you get there, you feel you can accomplish anything. And the view isn't all that bad from the top!