Cover photo: October 2015, Sunset from Signal Ridge Trail, Mt. Carrigain
In October of 2014, around my 30th Birthday, I decided that I would attempt to complete the remaining 42% of my White Mountain Grid (48x12.com) in the next year. That goal would entail hiking anywhere from 10 to 32 4,000-footers per month while working my full time job with my brother's commercial flooring business. The total was over 240 mountains, mostly at night, after work. I finally completed my 48 at night (summit after sunset/before sunrise). Many times I pulled over and napped in my car because I couldn't make it home - nodding off. After a couple of hours, I still had to go straight to work. Every hike I had to pack my "life bag", which often included extra boots, gloves, clothing for double Hikes, ... and then there was my toiletries and street and work clothes for the next 1-2 day, since I may or may not be at home.
At the same point in time, that fall, this awesome and loving girl named Linda sparked my interest and our feelings for each other have grown all year into an amazing relationship. :) . She is a super-mom to her two very talented youngin's, Doloreon and Izabel, and they each make me a very happy man.
I had been living with my brother that fall (2014), but was starting to look at homes. There was this one in southern NH, a 1960 ranch with a barn on 4.5 acres....it was awesome! It was right up my alley, but, no matter what, it would take years of work inside and out. After looking at about eight other houses going into the winter months, I put in an offer. This got the wheels turning on a process that was on-going from the beginning of last winter through August 2015 when I closed on the home. The house was in a reverse mortgage short sale situation. I think It was mostly this that resulted in me not being able to post even the basic trip reports I started last summer. So during the whole 5-month home buying process, it was emails and back and forth, lots of day-to-day waiting, hoping, uncertainty, and obtaining bids for work that would be needed to make my case and support my offer on this house. I would like to give a shout out to Kevin Madigan and Berkshire Hathaway for helping me from start to finish.
|The house I was after; the listing photo from the fall of 2014|
|4.5 acres with a barn....and lots of work to do|
|4/11/15 - On the summit of Mt. Monroe in 90mph winds, where I aborted|
a Presidential Traverse. I drove around the range, and hiked the northern Presi's the next day.
|4/12/15 - Ascending Mt. Washington for a Northern Presi Traverse|
|4/15/15 - Sunrise from West Bond during a nighttime|
36.5 mile, 9-peak Pemi Traverse
|4/19/15 - Clingman's Dome summit, Highest Point in TN|
with my brother.
|4/22/15 - Summit of Owl's Head at 11pm, in pouring rain and sleet to Grid April|
|Magic Kingdom on the 4th of July 2015|
I'm happy I got to balance in some boating weekends last summer on Lake Winnisquam. I got straight to work at my house demo-ing the basement, mowing my 4 acre field by hand with a cord trimmer, then by hand mower, then by ride-on mower. I also hauled every piece of wood of 2 cords to its location for my wood-burning fireplaces and stoves. This was done late at night after work by headlamp, just as my hikes were. My neighbor said I've single-handedly done more work at the home in 2 months then anyone did in the last several years.
|On the boar with Linda and the kids|
|McGinness Family Weekend - August 2015|
|Mowing my field with a push mower - August 2015|
|Removing the old kitchen floor tile|
|Sunset from Clay as I headed south to Mt. Washington during|
a Moriah to Jackson Traverse (41.6 miles, 18,800' elevation gain, 26hrs)
|The Great Room when I bought the house|
|The Great Room nearly finished|
As October passed, November came. On November 8, 2015, I was incredibly fortunate to become the 59th finisher of the White Mountain Grid on Mt Eisenhower. Joining me was the best crew of hikers I could ever ask for. It was a day of celebration, one where the goal was to enjoy the outdoors and the Presidential Range. The other goal was to have fun, and that we did. It was windy and challenging as well. It makes me very, very happy that my special day was one that all who were with me won't soon forget. I strive to make all my hikes this way, whether by myself or with others.
|A well deserved celebration on Mt. Eisenhower, a special moment |
with great friends that will never be forgotten.
|Purchased a ride-on mower, vigorously cleaning up the homestead|
|The bonfire at my Grid Finish & Housewarming Party|
As the holidays came and went, and winter set in. A group of amazing friends and I set out to take on some of the hardest single-day traverses throughout the winter. As if I was some retired adventurer, these big winter hikes were the only ones I came out for. We did a Mahoosuc Range Traverse, the first ever to be completed in one day in winter, a Presidential Range Traverse, a Great Range Traverse, and a Pemigewasset Loop. All winter, I continued to work on my home, which still kept me away from time at the computer to write about these adventures. I will never forget last winter, and I have my awesome friends to thank for capturing the experiences in their words, on their blogs. The collective commitment, endurance, dedication, and character of our group has shaped a bond that I'm sure will allow us to get together for big hikes no matter where life takes us.
|The 1st ever winter Mahoosuc Traverse in under 24 hours (22hrs 30 min)|
|Winter Great Range Traverse - 16hrs 12 min|
|Full Winter Presi Traverse - 12 hours 20min|
|Winter Pemi Loop - 16 hours|
Now a WHOLE year or so later, its May 2016, and the ice is finally giving way to dirt trails and knee-jamming rocks. Despite the lack of posts on the blog, it was certainly a wild year of non-stop adventure for me, in my life. With that, I respectfully ask that you join me as I refresh my passion for sharing my adventures with you, here at DMOutdoors.
This special post is dedicated to all of my followers, friends, and family, and hiking friends. You have all stuck with me and my adventures, and for that I am so grateful. To put all of this into perspective, below was my schedule from the fall of 2014 to my grid finish on November 5, 2015. As you can see, I put every ounce of my heart and soul into finishing this goal, as well as balancing all of the very important life moments that happened for me in the last year.
For anyone pursuing the White Mountain Grid, I found these quotes inspiring:
The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus. ~Bruce Lee
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life -- think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success. ~Swami Vivekananda