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Gender: Male
Hometown: New Hampshire
Home country: USA
Member since: Sun Oct 3, 2004, 04:16 PM
Number of posts: 13,826

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Hiking Mt. Washington, NH

In a General Discussion thread that I'd started...

A year and a half after "70 lbs. down. Now I can rant about obnoxious fitness fanatics"...

...I'd posted some pictures, and ended up getting a few requests for more. So here are several shots from my two times hiking Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, last fall and this past summer.

September 2013

This is the Cog Railway. I didn't use it to go up the mountain, but I did use it for the return trip, as the weather turned cold, foggy, and very windy soon after I reached the summit.

I got called a noob for doing this hike wearing jeans. Well, I was noob, so fair call! The problem with jeans is you don't want to get caught in damp cotton if the weather turns cold and wet. Mt. Washington's famously unpredictable weather means you should be prepared no matter how nice the weather seems to be.

June 2014

This was the first time I could officially (by AMC rules) claim to have climbed Mt. Washington, because I went both up and down, not just up, under my own power. I still think of it as my second climb, however.

This is outside the hotel where I stayed overnight to get an early start for my climb.

No jeans this time! My backpack contained a fleece jacket, a hooded shell jacket, and pullover hiking pants in case the weather took a turn for the worse.

A year and a half after "70 lbs. down. Now I can rant about obnoxious fitness fanatics"...

...time for a less ranty rant.

Back in February of last year, I posted this:


About six months after that post, I was down 85 lbs, and I've been holding steady at that weight ever since, while building more strength and endurance.

One positive thing I can add to what I said before: I've finally found something to do for exercise that I really enjoy doing, and something that for the first time has let me occasionally experience the "runner's high" that long eluded me.

Hiking mountain trails.

Hiking is not, however, by itself, enough to be all the exercise I need. Not by far. It's a weekend/vacation activity when the weather's good for it. I still have to keep up with the stuff I consider drudgery most the time to give myself the fitness and endurance I need to do well at the hiking.

But it's fun to be 51 years old and to be leaving the teens and twenty-somethings in the dust. I can reach the top of NH's Mount Monadnock in just a hair under 50 minutes, when most people take one and a half to two hours for the same hike, and then I can listen to people half my age groaning about how they'll never, ever put themselves through that climb again -- the same one I've done five times this past summer and several times last year. I've also climbed NH's Mount Washington twice now, once last year and once this year. If you subtract the time I took to eat lunch at the summit, I did my last Mount Washington climb in better than an hour under "book time".

There's a down side to trying to do this for speed, however -- risk of injury. These aren't technical trails I'm climbing -- no need for ropes or pitons or any of that stuff -- good sturdy hiking boots and very optionally some trek poles will do. But the footing can be tricky enough in some places that slipping, tripping, and falling are easy if you aren't careful, and the jagged, rocky terrain doesn't provide a soft landing.

Without going into the details, I've suffered a few injuries, and have had to learn to be a bit more careful -- no more trying to go back down Monadnock, for example, even faster than I went up, not after spraining my ankle badly last summer while going back down in under 40 minutes.

I hope I don't have to get so careful, however, that it takes all the fun and exhilaration out of my hikes. I'll always, of course, love the scenery and the views and the feeling of being out among the trees and the rocks and wildlife -- you can enjoy all that without speed. But the "runner's high" feeling comes from really pushing myself, keeping moving at a steady pace with little or no rest.

I miss the feeling of heedlessly bounding downhill like a mountain goat, but at least uphill is still good for me for speed. (It's much, much easier to remain stable while ascending rather than descending.) I have to remind myself even then, however, that uphill isn't 100% safe either, and if I screw up badly it won't be just the mountain trails, but 90% of everything else I do for burning calories that will be tabled for weeks or months.

I do wonder how long I'll be able to keep up my current level of fitness. I think I've developed good habits of both eating and exercise that will keep me from getting way out of control again, but I'm currently spending an hour and a half to two hours each day, six days a week, on exercise. I usually burn at least 1000 calories/day, often more. My continuing short commute, flexible schedule, and gym at work help make that level of activity possible, but I realize that for most people that's a thoroughly impractical amount of time to devote to exercise. Maybe at some point it will no longer be practical for me.

I've gotten used to eating 3000-3500 calories a day. I actually had to make myself snack more because I started losing more weight than I wanted to lose. Now I've gotten used to grazing all evening (on yogurt, fruit, peanut butter, jerky, air-popped popcorn, dark chocolate, etc.). If I ever have to cut back on my exercise, and thus cut back on the eating that balances out that exercise, it'll be tough to go back to eating more like I did when I was actively trying to lose weight.

At any rate, this last weekend was one of those hikes that really gave me a great high, a high that lingered right on into today. Here's a panorama taken from the Cliff Trail on North Pack Monadnock.


wikiHow: How to Persuade an Atheist to Become Christian


I find this article an odd mix of genuine concern, tired old rhetoric, and confusing twists. There's more understanding and sympathy for opposing viewpoints than one normally sees from a Fundamentalist, but then it almost can't help but fall back on the expected stereotypes and bad arguments that you pretty much have to expect.


Conversion to Christianity is a beautiful thing that requires that the person believes in God and in Jesus as the way to salvation. As a Christian, you are probably concerned about atheist friends who have not invited Christ into their hearts. Here is an approach to persuade an Atheist to become a Christian.

There are a few jarring inconsistencies where, if I were to be charitable, I have to think some text editing went awry, like this:

If you don't know the answer to something, simply say that God is responsible for it. "I don't know" is many more times preferable than crediting the creator.

If the first sentence had been in a list clearly labeled "Things not to do", with the second sentence being the reason not to do it, it makes sense. Otherwise it's a glaring self-contradiction, and leaves me wondering what the author really meant, or if he/she is so conflicted that contradictions like the above can leak out unnoticed.

Another similarly odd bit is below, where it sounds like the author acknowledges the "God of the gaps" argument, but makes it sound as if he/she thinks it's a good thing, that you'll impress people by filling in the gaps in knowledge and understanding with "God did it!".

Realize that scientific theories are not evidence whether God exists or not. This includes arguments that require the person to accept your beliefs of how life came about, how "ideal" the Earth is, or how the Big Bang happened. They have already decided. The fact that we don't know everything about the origins of life demonstrates to the unbeliever that God did it (God of the gaps argument).

Bits like this next section are refreshing, since I've known many fundies to take the approach (my own right-wing sister included) that "deep down" there really aren't any atheists, just people who are angry with, or "rebelling" against, the God they say they don't believe in. (There's another one of those weird twists that could be bad editing, however. I'm pretty sure the word "intrigue" below was really meant to be, or would have to have been meant to be, if there's any sense to be made of the text, something like "incense" or "annoy".)

Do not assume that your friend actually believes in God. You have probably been told that atheists are angry at God or do not believe in him because they are disgusted by the things that are done in His name. Atheists are people who have concluded that Gods do not exist. Assuming you know what, why or how they think or believe will intrigue your friend.
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