Sunday, November 22, 2015


Monday- Things are so mundane that's it's getting hard to remember day-to-day. I could remember every run I did and details, but the lack of running has turned my brain to mush. I can't remember a thing. I have to look back at Strava to jar my memory of what I did when. That's why I'm keeping track of the little things. The walks, the hikes, the "runs". Everything. I've been blacking out so much of the last 8 weeks that I have to document it in order to remember it. Is this normal?

Anyway, now that I've looked at Strava, I remember my day. Typical Monday. One call in the morning at work. Spent the afternoon walking 2 miles around the base. I need these walks, as wacko as they make me appear. I'm starting to go nuts without the intense running. As I walked past my car 20 times (haha), I took a look at my stickers. Funny, to see the acidoticRACING one just about to fall off. The timing is about right. My era with aR is just about over. I was a member from winter 2012 through 2015, but I officially left it after snowshoe racing season in 2015 to join Central Mass Striders. With my focus turning back to the roads (I have always been a roadie, unbeknownst to a lot of people, I learned), I decided to join a team more into that. I haven't regretted it. aR was good to me in the beginning, but I found it wasn't the right fit. I love the people I met along the away, and I'm thankful for having aR when I was just a newbie to the New England scene, but I felt it was time to part ways. If the sticker doesn't fall off by Dec 31st. I'll be taking it off. Not to offend anyone, but because I will no longer be a member. I did end up joining Six03 Endurance on April 1st, of all days (They thought it was an April Fools joke). I had been eyeing them for awhile and found their dynamic to be way more my style. I'm a bit of a party girl, as well as a serious runner, so I liked what they had to offer. I'll be part of the Six03 snowshoe racing team in 2016. We're going to have an awesome team, and I don't mean me. I'll only just be coming off this injury, so I don't expect to be competitive this season, but I'm still excited to represent Six03 anyway. I love a good friendly competition, and I'm hoping that's how it remains, but we'll see. For USATF purposes, I'm sticking with CMS. I love my teammates. I feel like we could have a good masters team once I hit 40 in April, but I don't really care, to be honest. I just really love being a part of this team. I love all of the teams, actually. 2015 was SO much fun with its rivalry against Whirlaway, Craft, WMDP, etc. I've gotten to know so many great women on all of these teams and love the fun of the competition during a race and support and friendliness afterwards. I stepped into a whole new world in 2015 and am so thankful for it. It's really helped me through my year of turmoil to get me to where I was pre-injury. I don't even care how slow I am in 2016; I will still be there with all of these people at the NE Grand Prix races enjoying myself and loving it.

Just about to fall off on its own right on time.
Someone tried to peel off my CMS sticker over the summer. No idea who did it, but someone did. Interesting.

After work, I went right to The Mill, as usual, for 30 minutes on the elliptical, followed by 30 minutes of aqua jogging. I ran into Darin Brown, a local runner, and talked to him awhile about his injury. We're kind of in the same boat. He's an ER doctor, but also has to rely on the Marketplace for health insurance. His deductible is higher than mine, so he's struggling on the decision for surgery on his knee. I feel for him because it's so tough when you don't have good health insurance. It's not just the po' folk like me who are falling through the cracks in the system. For all of 2015, I'm considered not a parent because of tax purposes, even though I can't make more money because I'm a parent. The system is fucked. Anyway, we talked injury. Seems like so many people I know are in the same boat or at least have been in the last year. It's been like a plague. I had a feeling I would succumb, but I never wanted it to be a reality. Yet, here I am.

Tuesday- The BIG DAY. The day of x-rays. I got up super early so I could get in some aqua jogging before my appointment at the chiropractor. Aqua jogged for 45 minutes at The Mill. Had the pool ALL to myself the whole time. It makes a huge difference if I can use the entire deep end of the pool for it because I'm not turning around as much.

From there, I drove over to Fryeburg to my chiropractor. Yes, where I used to be employed. He's a good chiropractor, and he knows I won't put up with any bullshit, so I have it good there. He asked me to help out with something Medicare related that I had dealt with a year ago. What a fiasco Medicare is, but I was able to get them he headed in the right direction, so he was nice enough to give me my adjustment free of charge. Then it was on to discuss my injury and do some xrays. He first examined me a little bit. I pointed out the origin of pain and told him I thought it might be a stress fracture. It took him 10 seconds for him to feel that place in my glute before he said, "I don't think this is a stress fracture." He pinpointed the pain and said, "I think it's your tendon." Huh. We did the x-rays. He had to retake a few since the machine is old and it has to be adjusted manually, but sure as shit, there's no stress fracture.

My bones look GOOD!
I know this is in the previous blog post, but I'm still writing about it again. In a way this was a relief, but at the same time, a stress fracture is so much more straight forward. Now, what the hell do I do? If it's my tendon, it's probably a tear, just based on the amount of pain and slow healing, but that would definitely need an MRI to show exactly the issue. I've looked up stuff about it. The symptoms do mimic a stress fracture. Healing is about the same time, depending on the degree, but so much is uncertain. I know for a fact that I didn't rupture the tendon. If I had, it wouldn't have healed at all on its own since that requires surgery for repair. But I still don't know where I stand. Is it even a tendon tear? I have no idea. I know that it's not muscular; that's for sure. Stress fracture is ruled out. All that's left in that exact spot is the tendon. So, now, it's just wait and see. I have had SIGNIFICANT sudden improvements in the last week and a half, though, so things are looking up. I can all of a sudden stand on my left leg and put a sock or pants on my right side without pain. That is huge, and it was sudden.
Anyway, I left the chiropractor actually pretty bummed out. I decided I needed to cry and shed two tears before I decided that was ridiculous and got on with my day.

John came home just as I did, and I got us back out shortly thereafter for a hike up Mt Katherine in Wonalancet. It was a really easy hike, and it's almost not even like going up a mountain. Heavenly Hill is more mountainish, but I guess because it's under 1000ft in elevation, it just qualifies as a hill. But the hike up Katherine was nice. I hadn't run into Kevin's car in two days, but, of course, there just had to be TILTON Spring along the way. I swear it's a conspiracy. The summit is only 1.6 miles from the trailhead, so it was short, but perfect for our day. I took a video of all 3 dogs playing as we got back towards Ferncroft.
John at Tilton Spring

Poor Phoenix

Chill on Mt Katherine

 We drove down the road to the Sandwich Spring to fill up our jugs after then drove home. I had a tourist moment as we crossed over the bridge on Chocorua Lake Road and saw Mt Chocorua. It was worthy of a stop and a photo. The picture doesn't even do it justice.
Mt Chocorua and Chocorua Lake at dusk. 
 When we got home, the sunset was beautiful behind Heavenly Hill. With the leaves off the trees, it's nice to be able to see it.

Looking at the sunset behind Heavenly Hill from my house
Wednesday- Start of a 34 hour shift. The day was slower than last week. We had two calls that were definite BLS calls, so I teched those into the hospital. We had a late night paramedic transfer to Maine Med, but I still managed about 4.5 hours of sleep. I also got in a 1.4 mile walk during the day that I forgot to record on Strava. Whenever we take walks, the partner who stays behind just picks the other up if we get a 911 call. It doesn't happen often, but it did on Wednesday. I snagged a picture just before Michelle drove up.
I like to hitchhike to our 911 calls. SOOOOONewHampshire. Haha.
Thursday- Got up at 6am, showered, had a coffee then drove down to Tamworth for the rest of my 34 hour shift. I had to stop for gas on the way down when I realized my tank was on empty. Oops. It was another slow day there. We did end up with one call that turned into a sign-off. We took that call over the other crew so one of them could finish her lunch, but they got toned out within 5 minutes of us and had to transport their patient. Funny how that happens. My partner and I visited Windy Fields Farm in Ossipee for lunch (which was SO GOOD) and to inquire about their Thanksgiving dinner. We decided to order Thanksgiving food from them for Thursday to kind of have our own dinner together as a crew. We'll join the Ossipee crew, so that 6 of us can do something together. The rest of the day was very uneventful. I walked 2 miles around the base at some point which helped me relax enough until 5pm rolled around. Then it was off to The Mill. I went 50 minutes on the elliptical, joining Darin Brown in Injury Corner until he had to leave, and then decided to attempt a run on the treadmill. As soon as I started, I realized these fancy treadmills were no better than my cheap treadmill. It was so hard with little give. Ouch. It felt like running on a board. I immediately had to up the incline to 4% to alleviate any pain and then proceeded to run 2 miles VERY slowly. It was really close to 10 min miles. Very depressing. I was happy to be doing it, but I knew that I wasn't really ready to be running anything other than a shuffle. It felt good, though; that I'll admit.

Friday- I thought it was supposed to a gross day, but it ended up being a beautiful day!! I had planned to hike something long, but I decided that I really needed to hit Red Hill in Moultonborough. I had never been up it. As soon as I pulled into the trailhead, I was so psyched to see I was the only one there. And then, about a minute later, three cars pulled in right behind me. Ugh!! I do not like sharing summit with people. Call me selfish, whatever. It's just a thing I have. I don't even like sharing trails with people. I'm a loner, as in I want to be alone. Haha. One woman got out of her car just as I was about to walk. She was super nice, so I talked to her for a minute, but then it was go time. I was dressed for a hike. Hiking pants and boots and kind of a warm top, but I realized that if I wanted to be alone, I had to start running. So I did. I ran all the way to the top of Red Hill. I was way overdressed, and hiking boots didn't really cut it, but I did it anyway. I even snagged the Strava CR which was funny because it was SO SLOW. And I lucked out to have the summit of Red Hill to myself for over half an hour. It was beautiful. The sun was warm and the views fantastic.

Lake Winnipesaukee

Squam Lake



 We hiked back down the Cabin Trail which was a nice single track trail. There was a snowmobile trail that we crossed, too. I'm eyeing this for a nice winter long run... if I can ever really run again.

I had some time to kill before picking up John so I headed into town to grab my free Starbucks drink. I walked in and out of EMS, which is the norm. I don't know why I ever go in there. I almost always walk out empty-handed. I thought I might find what I was looking for at TJ Maxx, but ended up walking out with some new running gloves instead of what I came in for. Oh well. I picked up John at Tin Mountain after that. We went home. I decided to test out the treadmill again, so I got on my treadmill. It was SO much better than The Mill treadmill. Plus, I wore my Hoka's which I've never really liked. They are now my friend and make a huge difference. I still had to keep the treadmill at 4% incline, but I was able to run slightly faster. Only 2 miles again in 18:08. Still super slow, but it's something.

Saturday- I had a super lazy morning and slept in until almost 9am!! Way too late. I am so messed up without the racing; just off kilter. I can't wait to be racing every weekend again so that I'm back in my routine. Nothing seems right anymore. Kind of living in the land of limbo. It was ok, though, since I had time to make it a lazy morning anyway. I was actually really excited since I was invited, along with a group of others, to participate in a photo shoot for Trail Runner Magazine at Black Cap Mt. Since it was a Saturday, I had to find someone to watch John. Fortunately, his best friend's mom (and neighbor) said John could go over there, so that made it easy. I couldn't believe I was actually going to have a free Saturday afternoon and early evening!! So unheard of. Haha.

Since I was worried about my car making it up Hurricane Mountain Rd, I decided to take a chance and run up the Red Tail Trail to the Black Cap Trail and down to the trailhead. I was meeting Doug Mayer and the photographer, Joe Klementovich, a half hour before everyone else to take some photos promoting Doug's venture Run the Alps. I've done some photo shoot modeling things before, but it's still always awkward. I'm not very good at fake running, and I never know what to do with my face. Haha. The worst was the golfing model shoot. I've never played golf in my life!
Pretending I play golf. Photo by Joe Viger.
We only spent about 15 minutes on the Run the Alps shoot, and then the rest of the group showed up. Adam Wilcox, Jerimy Arnold, Ryan Welts, Kristina Folcik and Bob Najar all joined us for the Trail Runner shoot. I was able to do the running for most of this fine. We stood around a lot and took a lot of different shots near the summit. We were out for almost 2 hours. By the time we were done, I was really starting to feel it. I could barely run down the mountain. Everyone else was gone within a minute, and this is when the depression hit me. I've lost everything, and I'm not even on the road to starting back up again. The telltale signs of a tendon inflammation finally showed up with pain radiating into my lower back, hamstring and groin. If I had felt this before the x-rays, I would have known it wasn't a stress fracture, but without running, the pain had been so localized. Now, it's obvious. I was so bummed to not be able to run down the trail. Jerimy waited on me, which was nice, but I hated that he had to go so slowly. I snagged a ride from Doug back to my car, and then we all met up at McGrath's for dinner and drinks. It was a nice time.

In my Run the Alps gear that Doug gave me. Check it out at Run the Alps
It was pretty late by the time I picked up John. He had had a good time at his friend's so it ended up working out great for both of us.

Sunday- Fortunately, a friend's message woke me up a little after 7am, so that I was able to get up at a decent hour. I hate sleeping in too late. I got up, took care of the dogs, then sat down to endure my yearly torture session with the Healthcare Marketplace. This year wasn't so bad. It might have taken an hour. The rep was actually intelligent and helpful so that made a big difference. I try to do it all online, but some glitch always has me needing to get on the phone. I have a phone phobia, so this is why I put it off. I got it done, though, and ended up with a pretty good plan since I'm a parent again in 2016! Haha. When I was done, I made John breakfast, ate something myself and then we drove to The Mill so I could aqua jog. I passed by Jim Johnson and Andrew Drummond outside Jim's house getting ready to go for a run and then passed Paul Kirsch's parked car where he was out for a run. It was torture to see them out for a run while I was headed to aqua jog in a pool filled with screaming kids at a birthday party. Ugh. Way too many kids, but I got it done. Only 30 minutes since I had other plans for the afternoon. John and I took the dogs on a short walk behind The Mill and then went home.

I quickly showered, then we drove over to Tuckerman Brewing Co to get tickets for their afternoon show. We had an hour so we came back home again for almost an hour. The time at the brewery started off great. I had some of their beers I hadn't tried before. The music by the Mallet Brothers Band was awesome. I got John to have some fun and danced with him, but then he got upset over me taking a picture of him, said he hated the music and had a horrible time the rest of the evening. That definitely tainted the evening. I attempted to have a good time, but it was tough when I had a kid there not having fun. It was still worth it. I'll just have to cut it short next time.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

It's Not a Stress Fracture!

So I was 100% wrong about it being a stress fracture. I have no problem admitting when I'm wrong because when you're wrong, you're wrong. Might as well own up to it.

If it were a stress fx, it would show up by now, and there is nothing. I had these done at my chiropractor. He thinks it's the tendon, and he's probably right. No idea how bad it is, but it's most likely a tear. Once again, I am totally guessing. No idea what this means. And I won't know for sure until I get better insurance on Jan 1st or it heals, whichever one is sooner. For now, it just means more time not running. It HAS gotten so much better. That I know 100%, but..... will it only improve to a point on its own? Will I need surgery?! No idea. No idea about anything except that for now, I'm fucked.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Monday, 11/9- 10 hour shift at work, as usual. Started off with a bang for a 2-car motor vehicle accident. Ended up being nothing, and the rest of the day was quiet. I walked 2 miles in circles around the base. After work, I went to The Mill as usual. 30 minutes elliptical, 30 minutes aqua jogging. Weird group of people in the pool area. Like 7 people who came together who were all mad at each other. Very awkward. Typical Monday.

Tuesday, 11/10- Went to The Mill first thing. Same as the night before 30 minutes elliptical, 30 minutes aqua jogging. John came home around 10ish. I had a lot of errands to run during the day, so we only took a short walk at Whitaker Woods from the hospital in the afternoon. Ran into a few people I knew in that short half mile. Haha. Took John to ninja. Typical Tuesday night.

Wednesday & Thursday, 11/11-11/12- Start of the busiest two days I've ever worked. 48 hour shift, 7a Wednesday to 7a Friday. Unlike the week before, we were insanely busy. Most of the calls we get are for minor things, but on Wednesday, we got a really good call. When an EMT refers to something as a "good call", it means we actually got to use our skills. We had someone with an unknown issue circling the drain right in front of us, and we had to keep him going. The thing that always impresses me is how calm we all are and just start doing what we know to do. I was in the back of this tiny van ambulance with 3 people I have been working with for years. We all calmly did our job working together and kept the patient alive. That is what we call a "good call".

We had a few more calls that day, plus a transfer until about 1am. My partner and I were the same two on for the next 24 hour shift, but the only truck on, so when it came to one call after another after another, it was just us. No serious calls that day, though. One easy 911 in the middle of the night, and then our shift was over. Busy 48, but I will take it any day over the quiet days like the week before.

Oh yeah. So after begging, we got new batteries for our power stretcher! It was a lifesaver for me with the stress fracture, especially with that many patients over 2 days.

I was psyched to see the 2016 NE GP potential races come out. It only took me about 10 minutes to mostly decide my picks, except the 7th race. I have no idea on that one. I'll figure that out when it's vote time. My top 6 picks are An Ras Mor (5K), Middlebury Maple (Half Marathon), Vermont City Marathon (Marathon), Bobby Doyle (5 mile) (although, the End of Summer Classic is a close 2nd), NH 10-Miler (10 mile) and Lone Gull (10K). 7th race? No idea. These are all totally selfish picks, too. Shouldn't they be? Knowing I'll still be coming back from this injury over the winter, I don't want any races except the 5K until May. That will give me time to get back up to speed, I hope.

Friday, 11/13- Got up at 6am, washed our truck for the next crew. It was filthy from the rainy day the day before, and I didn't want them coming into work with a dirty truck. Got the second truck supplied for the second crew since we had swapped out equipment on it the day before. Got my bags together, then bolted at 7am. It was HIKE DAY! Yay!

I decided on Chocorua via the Hammond and Liberty Trails, so Spot and I drove over to the trailhead and started up. I decided to stop running these for awhile because I'm worried about overcompensating and injuring my right side. I did run a little bit up, though, but it was very slow with short steps, mostly a speed hike. I saw 3 other people along the way, one of them I've seen every time I've gone up the Hammond Trail. Local dog walker with a group of dogs. The other two were stopped at the Jim Liberty Cabin. So these were all brief encounters and then I had the summit all to myself. It was super windy up on the summit. I took a few pics from the very top then hid behind the rocks for awhile to get out of the wind. It was raining a bit and then ice pellets started falling, so we only stayed up there for maybe 15 minutes. Got to see a rainbow that never disappeared the whole time we were up there.

We made our way back down the way we came up. At one point along the Hammond Trail, I came to an opening and looked out to see ANOTHER rainbow. It was awesome.

It was a nice hike, but I realized along the way that hiking is just way too easy for me. I really need to be RUNNING mountains. Kept reminding myself that I'll be back, even if it takes half of next year. I will be back. Enjoy the moment of just being able to be out there. To have that very small amount of free time once a week to do something for myself.

Picked up John from his homeschool group in the afternoon. I brought along his ski boots to try on to see if they still fit. They did!!! This means this is the first year I didn't have to go to the ski sale to buy any new gear or clothes!!!! I am so psyched!! Skis will need a simple wax and tune-up. Season passes were paid for in June, so we are all set for ski season at Black Mt at the end of December. I'm super excited about getting on the slopes again. Between that and snowshoe racing, I enjoy the winter. I'm hoping to do Nordic Meisters at Great Glen Trails this year, too. I only have backcountry xc skis, but I'd still like to do their weekly race, just for fun.

Saturday, 11/14- With no race this weekend, I didn't really know what to do with our day. I decided a simple hike to the Great Hill Fire Tower in Tamworth. It was cold, windy and blowing snow flurries at the top, but it was such a beautiful little walk.

Great Hill Fire Tower 

From there we went home for a few hours. When the evening rolled around, we drove over to The Mill so I could get on the elliptical for 45 minutes. Typical Saturday night for me with nothing better to do, so why not hit the gym? :) After 3 days of no intense exercise, this felt really good. But still, it's just not enough. I need to be running now. I'm starting to feel it. That need! But the elliptical is what I had available, so I just did it. Soon enough. I can feel it. The injury is changing. It's not healed, but it's starting to feel different. I'm getting an x-ray at my chiropractor on Tuesday morning. It should show up at this point. I can't wait to see what it looks like... kind of.

Sunday, 11/15- Slept in and woke up to a beautiful morning. I took the dogs out then sat in the sun for about 45 minutes with my coffee. Probably one the last days I'll be able to do this until Spring. The sun was SO warm. I was really bumming to not be at the L'il Rhody Runaround Trail Race that I had signed up for and was SO looking forward to, but it is what it is. I'll just have to shoot for it next year. When my coffee was gone, I went back inside and made pancakes for John then got us out at a decent time for another hike. We drove down the street to White Ledge Campground to hike up to White Ledge and back. It was super slow going today. John played the whole time and even laid down on the trail quite a bit. He even asked me to go up ahead while he waited behind. Ha ha. Um, no way. :) I had the patience today that I didn't have yesterday, so even though it was excruciatingly slow, it didn't really bother me. It was kind of funny. We hiked up to the top and back down the way we came instead of doing the loop. At John's pace, the loop would have taken an extra hour. Haha.

We got back to the car about 45 minutes before dark and headed into town to get me a drink at Starbucks and John a smoothie at Circle K. As soon as I got out of the car to walk into Starbucks, there it was!!!!
Kevin's car in the drive-thru!!! 
I thought I was being sneaky, walked up and took this picture without Kevin and Jess seeing me. Little did I know. Kevin was in the process of sending me this:

Haha!! I said hi and talked to them for a minute before they had to move up in the line for the drive-thru. I thought I would beat them by going inside, but they won this round. Haha.

We went home, and I took the dogs for a walk up Heavenly Hill in the dark with a headlamp. I don't have to worry about deer hunters in the dark, so I just let the dogs run free. Good walk for them and me since I could go at my own pace. Haha.

The weekend flew by. Back to my regular 44 hour work week this coming week. I have to admit I really like the 48 hour shift, so I'm kind of bummed to not being doing it, but I was just filling in the last two weeks for someone on vacation. With two weeks of 58 hours, the overtime in my check will be sweet!

Friday, November 13, 2015

South Doublehead Hike

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Got up earlier than usual so that I could go to The Mill to aqua jog. I woke John up to go and once we got there, he sat on the couch upstairs with his computer like he always does. I headed to the pool. Within about 5 minutes, the woman working the front desk, whom I'd never seen before, came down pretending to straighten things out. I knew immediately that she was wanting to say something about John being upstairs. I could tell by her demeanor. So I just waited. And sure enough she finally got up the nerve to say something. "Is that your son upstairs?" Yes, obviously. You saw us both come in together. I only said, " Yes." "It would be better if he were down here because I can't be up there the whole time." I smiled in my head. She didn't ask me a question. Therefore, the ball was in my court. "He sits up there all the time. He doesn't need to be watched." She had nothing. I win. John stayed where he wanted to be, and I continued aqua jogging. Hopefully, I don't have to deal with her again this weekend. I had planned to aqua jog for an hour, but just before the 45 minute mark, I started to have some pain in my injury. This was odd to feel aqua jogging, but I didn't want it to hurt more, so I stopped at 45 minutes.

We went home. John's best friend came over to play, so I decided to push our planned hike to later in the afternoon and just take the dogs up Heavenly Hill to get them taken care of. I had to leash Spot the whole time since it's hunting season. That was tough because she kept pulling on the leash and hurting my injury, but I dealt with it.

Once back, I showered, packed the day pack and drove up to Jackson to hike South Doublehead. I was kind of lost in thought, though, and ended up driving up Town Hall Rd instead of Dundee Rd. I didn't realize it until I hit the Forest Service Rd where I turned around. Just happened to see Kevin Tilton's car parked there, so that was funny. (I also saw Kevin's car at D'Angelo's on Wednesday. I might have to dedicate an entire blog post to Kevin Tilton's car sightings. I mean, how can you miss this thing?)
The most obvious car in the Valley
I drove back down Town Hall and hit Dundee Rd for the drive to Jackson. North Doublehead was one of my regular hikes with John in 2007, so I always took the Old Path. I had totally forgotten about the New Path, but when I passed the sign, I quickly turned the car around and parked there. 1.2 miles up to South Doublehead. Shorter than the Old Path, but it was going to be a steep climb. And steep it was. Over 1300 ft in 1.2 miles. It was slow going since John likes to play as he walks, but we finally made it to the top where we saw our first snow of the season!

We didn't hang out too long at the top because it was cold and windy, and I knew we'd be chasing the light on the way back down. It was super quick, and we got back to the car just as the sun was about to set behind the mountains.

Since we were in Jackson, we drove down to the Shannon Door for dinner. We used to get their pizza to go all the time when I ran the trail race series at Great Glen Trails, so I was craving it.
John and I had a great dinner. He has never wanted to sit down and eat there, but once we did, he said he really liked it. Yes! :) Good way to end our weekend together before my 58 hour week started the next morning.

I'm really trying to get in as much hiking with John that I can before the snow flies. Once that happens, we'll be either backcountry skiing or hitting the slopes at Black Mt. I can't believe it's almost that time again!