The sky was gray and I was lacking any motivation to go and climb a mountain. My friend Maria picked me up in her Jeep and we began our hour trek north to the trailhead. We traveled down winding backroads which quickly turned from pavement to a mixture of dirt and rocks. As the car jolted over every bump, I couldn’t help but feel thankful that we didn’t take my small sedan on this trip. We arrived at the Mt. Israel trailhead in Sandwich, NH by 8:00AM. I don’t prefer to wake up early on the weekends, but when it comes to hiking, I’d rather go in the morning.
The trail quickly rose in elevation as we made our way. We gossiped as we crossed streams and found that it became hard to continue our conversation with our lack of breath. The trail was littered with boulders that required help from my arms to get my 5’2″ body up and over them. As we gained elevation, it was obvious that this area received a decent amount of snow. We were lacking snow shoes and spikes, so I was hoping that we would still be able to summit. We made it past a few icy areas that took precise maneuvering and we finally got a view.
As we gazed out into the Sandwich Wilderness, we noticed that the trail we had been following stopped. The tracks in the snow did not continue and there were no blazes or cairns in sight. Being the more experienced hiker, Maria looked to me for the decision making. Were we at the summit? Do we continue? I was unsure if this was the summit because there was no sign and if there was a geological marker, it was buried under feet of snow. I decided that since we were lacking gear that we should not continue and head back down.
Although we may have not summited, that’s not what’s important to me. The most important factor in a hike for me is our safety and if overall we got something out of it. I got to spend quality time with a friend in the outdoors instead of sitting in my room watching netflix. Sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation and I constantly have to battle with my mind, but in the end I find it’s always worth it, even if I’m exhausted.