Nov 13

Hiking the Osceolas

In mid-August the Stonyfield hiking club finally had another get together planned to hike the Osceolas. We were going to go up East Osceola and then head up the chimney and over to Osceola for a double peak. We were supposed to meet at the parking lot of the Greeley Pond trail head at 8am to get started. I live a little over 2 hours from most of the trailheads and was leaving my house about 10 minutes later than I wanted to. I texted one of my hiking buddies to let them know that I was running a little behind. He called me back to let me know that he actually wasn’t making it that day and gave me someone else’s cell to try. I texted them that I was running late and then got back on my way. The thing about most of the trail heads in the white mountains is that they’re not known for their cell service. My friends had gotten to the trail head, waited around a little bit, and then assumed I was coming and started up without me. Thus begins the adventure of my first solo hike!

I pulled in to the parking lot about 15 minutes after our appointed meeting time and debated whether or not I felt safe enough going up on my own. I reasoned that I had all of the supplies I needed, there were dozens of cars in the lot and so there were likely many other hikers on the trail, and I was at most 15 minutes behind my friends and could possibly catch up. So, I started out. I overtook several groups of hikers on my way up the Greeley Pond Trail, but none of them were my friends. At least I felt that I was fairly safe, knowing there were a few groups of hikers behind me, and several more than I could hear a ways up ahead. I kept going, on what was probably the most strenuous trail I had climbed so far. I remember getting to one area of sheer rock face and being mildly terrified at the thought of sliding off the edge and tumbling down the mountain. Thankfully, I made it safely up and across the ledge, and am still here. But it was definitely not an easy climb!

At one point after I felt like I had been climbing forever, I started to actually go downhill pretty steadily and steeply. Luckily another group of hikers was coming up the other way. I greeted them and asked if they knew if I was still on the right path to get to East Osceola’s summit. They informed me that I had actually already passed it and was heading down the other side to Osceola. I felt like kind of a dumbass for a moment, until the woman I was talking to told me that it happened all the time because of East Osceola’s wooded and unimpressive summit. So at least it wasn’t just me! I thought about heading back up, but since I was going to be doubling back to my car the same way I figured I would just stop on my way back. Still no sign of my friends at this point! (And also no trail pictures thus far — I was too disoriented from unexpectedly hiking alone and forgot to take pictures along the way.)

I kept on keeping on and eventually came to the Osceola chimney, which is a steep and jagged climb that leads you up to the Osceola summit. This was actually my favorite part of the hike. I LOVE when I have to climb on a hike. This part was a lot of fun. A little ways after that, I finally made it to the summit of Osceola.

Panorama of Osceola Summit

I heard two girls just under the rock ledge that was directly in front of me in that picture and I approached them to see if one of them would mind taking my picture at the top.

At the Osceola Summit

I thought that the girl taking my picture looked a lot like a friend of a friend of mine and, sure enough, as she was handing me back my phone she said she recognized me too. We took a summit selfie together to send to our friend, who is my work wife and her best friend. We’ve since all been hiking together a couple of times, and those trips have been some of my favorites.

SummitSelfieCourtney

She had reached Osceola with another friend of hers via the Osceola Trail from Tripoli Road. Apparently this is the way most newbie hikers or those looking for a nice, steady climb would take. When I told her I had come up East Osceola she looked horrified. Apparently the hiking team from Stonyfield had picked the hard way up! We parted ways and I headed back toward the Greeley Pond Trail. I paid extra close attention on my way back this time and made sure to stop at the summit, which is where I eventually found my friends. It turns out they had waited for me a little while but never got my text and so went on without me, just as I had thought. What I hadn’t considered was that they might head over to Greeley Pond before actually starting up the mountain. I walked right past them while they were hanging out at the pond and was well on my way up the mountain before they had even started. They were just getting to the East Osceola peak as I was heading back down. They agreed, the view was not much to look at.

East Osceola Wooded Summit

We parted ways as they headed toward the chimney and Osceola, and I headed back toward my car. I got a little nervous on that same rock face on the way down, but ultimately made it out unscathed. And, as an added bonus, the Osceolas are up Rt 16, which means I got to stop at Hobbs Tavern on the way home! Behold, the knuckle sandwich:

Hobbs Knuckle Sandwich

Nothing but claws in that thing. I kind of want to go get one again right now…

 

Nov 06

Hiking Chocorua

Chocorua isn’t a 4000 footer, but it was a lot harder than some of the taller mountains I’ve climbed since. It did make the 52 with a view list, and for good reason. This is one of my favorite climbs so far. But prepare yourself for reading these hiking posts — almost every one of them is one of my favorite climbs so far. Because there’s NOTHING BETTER THAN HIKING!

Anywho. After hiking Eisenhower I was totally smitten with the idea of being on a mountain. Sadly, the next Stonyfield hiking club trek wasn’t for several weeks but luckily one of my hiking buds from that trip was also interested in getting up again ASAP. We planned to hit up Chocorua together the following weekend.

My friend had climbed Chocorua previously, and suggested we go up and down the Piper Trail. It ended up being a really great trail, and I definitely would recommend it. Being that I’m writing this post so far after the fact, I don’t remember a ton of details, but I do remember feeling challenged pretty much the whole way up, and being frequently rewarded with breathtaking views.

 

I do recall at one point feeling like we were almost there, and then looking up to realize that the summit was what looked like an entirely different mountain still way off in the distance. This climb was LONG. At one point we started scaling the rock face at the top before another helpful hiker on his way down pointed out that we had gone off trail. We’ve done this a couple of times since then and now we always refer to it as “pulling a Chocorua.”

When we first got to the top, I was worried that it wasn’t going to be worth it because this is what we saw:

Chocorua summit in fog

Luckily we decided to stick it out on the top for a little while and eat some lunch while we waited for the fog to blow off. If I’m not mistaken, this was the first time I packed a PB&J for my summit snack. It was EPIC. After a little while we were rewarded with much improved views:

From the summit of Chocorua

Up Chocorua

Finally we posed for our Summit Selfie and then made our way back down.

Chocorua summit selfie

I have to admit, my favorite thing about this day was that we stopped in at Hobbs Tavern in Ossipee on our way home. We had both noticed their sign on the way up and decided to give it a try on the way back. It was FABULOUS. They brew their own beer, have a full bar, and also have the most DELICIOUS food you could possibly hope for after a day on a mountain. I wish I had taken a picture of my knuckle sandwich, which was the very best version of a lobster roll I’ve ever had (And I live on the seacoast — I’ve had a LOT of lobster rolls!). Hobbs is now the reason that I always opt for mountains up Rt 16 over those on Rt 93 which land me at the Woodstock Inn at the end of the day. Woodstock is still delightful, but it’s no Hobbs. Sadly all I have to show you is this subpar picture of my beer. I promise to step my photography game up now that I know I’m going to be blogging all of this!

Hobbs Beer Ossipee

 

Nov 02

Hiking Ike

Over the summer I got completely addicted to hiking the 4,000 footers of NH. On a recent trip one of my hiking buddies suggested that I start keeping a record of each trip up both to share with others and to better remember the day, which I thought was a great idea! So now that I’ve reached 13 peaks, I’m going to back track and write up what I remember of them, and then will hopefully be better about writing it all down when I get back on the mountains in the spring.

My first trip up was as part of Stonyfield’s hiking club. They were hiking Mount Eisenhower and I decided to go with them. There were 9 of us in the group, along with 2 truly awesome dogs. We met up at the Edmands Path parking lot at 8am and headed up. Here’s one of the pups once we reached the summit. She was trying to beg my snacks:

 

Hiking Dog on Ike

As it turns out, I was WOEFULLY out of shape for this hike. I managed to keep up with the folks in the middle of the group the whole way, but I was definitely hurting! Lots of water breaks and panting for me. I was a total mouth breather from about 5 minutes in until we reached the top. I also was totally unprepared snack-wise. I had some trail mix and a Clif Bar, which actually would have been fine energy-wise, but when my companions started pulling out apples I was drooling. Luckily one of them had extras and I was able to partake in that most perfect trail snack, with just the right amount of fiber, sugar, and juicy liquid to keep you hydrated and satisfied.

After climbing what felt like FOREVER to me, we got to a point just below tree line where the view opened up and I remembered what I was doing this for:

The View Up Ike

 

We climbed just a little bit further after that before we got to a giant rock pile that we had to make our way across. Once we tackled that we were at a perfect lunch spot and those of us in the front/middle of the pack took a load off to wait for the folks bringing up the rear. We had a pretty beautiful view while we waited.

Lunch Spot on Ike

 

The somewhat foolish newbie in me actually thought that we had reached the top when we took this little break. Once everyone else caught up and we all started putting our gear back on I realized that I was mistaken. We had more climbing to do, and it was the steepest part so far. Luckily, it was as short as it was steep and we were at the summit within 15 minutes or so. I had a bunch of summit shots that I took that day but they have since disappeared from my phone, so now I only have one.

Eisenhower Summit

 

It’s probably the least impressive of all of the shots I took, but somehow it’s the one that I saved. Whoops! This trek to the top also marks my first Summit Selfie, which I now do on each mountain I climb. Here is the fabulous group of fellow Stonyfielders who helped me get up this mountain:

Ike Summit Selfie

At this point one of my fellow hikers said, “you know, Pierce is only a mile and a half over there. We could peak bag it if everyone wants to…” My response at the time was, “WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO DO THAT, YOU COMPLETE AND TOTAL CRAZY PERSON?! DON’T YOU REALIZE WE JUST *FINISHED* CLIMBING?!” but that was my total lack of fitness talking. Sadly, I was NOT overruled on that one though, because clouds were coming in fast with giant lightening bolts visible in them so we all decided it was better to turn around and save Pierce for another day. We climbed back down pretty uneventfully, and then all made our way to the Woodstock Inn for some much deserved beer and food. I could barely move the next day, but I knew that I was totally hooked anyway. I couldn’t wait to go back up!

Oct 10

Shiitake Rabe Grain Salad

So part of the major upheaval I posted about in my last post is that I’m going through a divorce. It’s okay, I’m actually much happier now than I have been in a long time. Life lesson: being alone is always better than being in a shitty relationship! But enough about that. The reason I bring it up is because I’ve been doing a lot of cooking for one now that I’m on my own, and I realize there are not a ton of resources out there for 1 serving size recipes. So I’m just going to go ahead and share the recipes I come up with that are particularly delicious, like this one!

ShiitakeRabeCooking

The thing I’m learning about cooking for just one person is that I generally rely on whatever I already have in the house, and I definitely tend toward one-pot style meals. I also like things that are quick because I have a long commute and am usually already starving by the time I get home. Yesterday I was actually home sick and had all the time in the world to make dinner, but it turns out I’m also really impatient. Anyway, this meal satisfied all of the things that I look for in a meal, AND was super delicious to boot! So here you go:

Shiitake Rabe Grain Salad

ShiitakeRabeBowl

Ingredients

1 bunch broccoli rabe
1 3.5 oz pkg fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems chopped, caps sliced
1 c prepared pearl barley (or any other grain of your choice – quinoa, brown rice, cous cous – anything will work)
1 clove garlic
1 green onion
1 egg
2 tbsp butter (You could def. get by with 1, but I was going for ALL THE FLAVOR)
lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Blanch the broccoli rabe in a large pot of salted water and drain
  2. Melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli rabe and the shiitake mushrooms and sauté until warmed through and starting to soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, sauté for another 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the prepared barley, or whatever grain you’re using and turn the burner off. Mix well so it starts to warm through.
  5. While that’s heating, poach the egg.
  6. While the egg is poaching add the lemon juice (squeeze 1 fresh lemon slice, or just use 1 tbsp of bottled) and the green onions to the pan and mix it all up.
  7. Serve hot with the poached egg on top.

As a side note — this recipe made enough of the grain salad that I only ate half for dinner and put the other half away for leftovers, so technically this could be dinner for two, with the only modification being a second egg.

Oct 09

Aaaand, she’s back!

Don’t you love starting a new blog and then dropping off the face of the earth? I think it’s a great way to amass new followers. The mystery! The intrigue! Where did she go?!

tomshrugs

Shortly after I started this blog I suffered some pretty major upheaval in my personal world, but now I’m back! And I have all sorts of new things going on that I’ll be blogging about. Cooking for one! Hiking the white mountains! Traveling! This blog will truly be a smorgasbord of all of my favorite things.

But first up is the news that I’m going to be presenting at the upcoming Digital Portsmouth event, The Art of Social Media on October 21st. The tickets are going like hotcakes, so if you want to attend, head over and reserve your seat NOW.

social_media_freak_event

May 12

7 Reasons Being Sick is THE BEST.

Okay, so maybe being sick isn’t really the best. In fact, it’s never really even good. I’ve been sick for 7 days now, so I fully admit that I’m just looking for bright sides here to stop me from intentionally overdosing on narcotic cough syrup being sad. That said, here is my list of 7 reasons (1 for each day I’ve been sick!) why being sick is THE BEST, in case you are in need of a similar bright side.

7. Narcotic Cough Syrup.

For real. It is the only thing that will allow me to sleep through the night and it also gets me nice and loopy but in a way that is all legal-like. You know, like a grown-up!

Leslie Knope

6. Princess Charlotte.

The new princess was born  just a few days prior to my illness, and being home sick allowed me to bask in all of the delightful absurdity that is the British Royal Family without worrying about my coworkers noticing what’s on my screen. So much royal watching….

Royal watching

5. Pajamas.

With the exception of a couple of days where I was delusional motivated enough to think I could actually do things and interact with people (like going to TEDx!), I have not been out of my jammies in a week. It’s glorious, if slightly alarming to the nose. Just kidding – I do occasionally shower! (Just kidding!)

Tina Fey Pajama Gif

4. Servants.

It turns out when I’m really sick on this current black plague level, my family becomes very good at bringing me things. Water, soup, sandwiches – I ask for it and it is brought to me. Now I just need to invest in a little bell so that this aspect of being sick will be even more satisfying next time around.

Granny rings a bell

3. Netflix.

7 days in and I am almost done with all 6 seasons of Lost (granted, I was already on season 4 when I fell ill). I also finished The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Watch it! It’s as wonderful as you’ve heard!). I have so much time to stream ALL THE THINGS what with not ever being able to leave my bed.

kimmypuppies

2. Books.

I’m participating in the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge this year, and this illness has given me time to squeeze some real reading in, as opposed to the usual audiobook listening that I do on my commute. While I love my audiobooks, I have definitely missed actual pages that you actually turn. This week I’ve been able to scratch Dead Wake by Erik Larson off my list. Check!

Gif from iCarly

1. Puppies.

Why would you want to get out of bed when these two snuggle monsters just want you to love them all day?

snugglepuppies

 

There, now. I think I’ve proven that while it might not actually be the best, being sick doesn’t have to be all bad. What do you think? Are there things you actually enjoy when you’re sick? Tell me about them in the comments.

Peace out, Brussels Sprout!

May 09

Lessons from TEDx Piscataqua River

TEDx Piscataqua River

I had the good fortune to be one of 100 attendees to today’s TEDx Piscataqua River event at the newly renovated and super impressive 3S Artspace.  If you’re not familiar with TED talks you should crawl out from under your comfy rock and watch this list of must-sees to acquaint yourself. The gist is that they are short but impactful talks about Ideas Worth Spreading. TEDx is a licensed spin-off of TED talks that are organized within individual communities. Portsmouth, NH has the indefatigable and epically fabulous Crystal Paradis to thank for bringing this bit of magic to our little city.

The whole day was brimming with a fantastic energy and left everyone feeling inspired to get out and do something to make the world a better place. (Though as one of the co-organizers reminded us all at the end, being inspired isn’t enough — the point of today was to get us all motivated to actually go out and make change happen. )

As is the case with most events that are chock full of information and inspiration, it’s easy to forget what was talked about. In fact, some of today is already gone for me (I may or may not be part goldfish). Before I lose the rest, here’s a quick (one sentence!) summary of the things that I took away from each speaker:

Sam Hayward, Taste and Place:

Food tastes like where it is from, and Maine is the most delicious state.

(Sam is the chef and co-founder of Fore Street in Portland, ME. If you haven’t been yet, you need to go to there. Seriously. It is foodie heaven. )

Sara Curry, On the Mat to Recovery:

Yoga is good for you in all the ways, and you should do it.

Dr. Sandra Rehan, The Secret Lives of Native Bees:

Bees are amazing.

Martha Stone, You’re Homeless… Now What?:

Homelessness affects people from all walks of life, for a variety of different reasons. They need respect, dignity, and help to move on to the next chapter of their lives. (Okay, that was two sentences.)

Meredith Bennett, The Power of Yes:

If you want to do cool things like work with Stephen Colbert, you need to say “Yes!” a lot.

Lunch:

Block Six makes delicious food that I thoroughly enjoy putting in my face.

TJ Evarts, The Kidpreneuers Are Coming:

I’m really old and will never be as successful as this 19-year-old already is.

Matthew Loper, Youth Harnessing Religion for Peace (and How They Helped Me Heal):

Taking the time to understand things that seem strange to you, rather than judging and hating, makes you a better person.

Von Diaz, Every Dish Has a Story: 

I want to go to Puerto Rico and eat all of the things.

Reagan Ruedig, Memory of Style: How We Fall In and Out and Then Back in Love With Our Buildings:

Don’t tear down buildings just because they’re ugly (for example – any and all buildings built in the 70s); one day you’ll die and the next generation will appreciate them for being historic.

Aimee Molloy, How to Get a Book Deal:

Don’t take “no” for an answer.

Interspersed throughout the day were also video TED talks, live performances, an imPact session where we were each asked to speak with and commit time/money/psychic energy to one of the non-profits that was present, and conversations with old and new friends (all of whom I hope don’t get sick as a result of seeing me… I have a slight case of the plague that I’m just getting over), which all added together to make what I considered to be a highly successful day.

In the next few days the talks will be up and available on the TEDx Piscataqua River site. Until then, I hope my bite-sized recap will do. I’d love to hear from you — have you ever attended a TED or TEDx event? What did you think? Did it cause you to try something new or change the way you were doing or thinking about something?

May 03

About Hey Look, a Duck!

I’m just back from the Mom 2.0 blogger conference in Scottsdale, AZ which I attended as a sponsor. Meeting all of the amazing and inspiring bloggers there made me realize how much I miss actually sitting down and writing about things. And so, I decided to start this blog. You’re welcome!

Hey Look, a Duck is a collection of all of the things that I am interested in — social media (natch, since that’s what I do), food, books, dogs, and there will most likely be some posts dedicated to memes that crack me up (of which there are many). Since all of these things tend to be equally important to me, I couldn’t decide on one primary focus for my blog. Instead, I decided to let my blog mirror my life, where each of these things occasionally distracts me from all the others.

For now, there is just a duck. Did you see the duck? He’s up there in the header. Cute, right? I think I should name him. Maybe that will be in my next post.