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NH48: Cannon Mountain, My Daughters 1st 4,000 footer

This was a special one because my daughter came along for her first 4k'er and helped me not only capture number 10 but reconnect with the part of me that loves being out here.

In short, we had a blast. Typically my style is more "get to the top and back as fast as possible like your life depends on it", but this was a welcomed change of pace. And maybe a bit more than that.


Rushing and crushing these mountains has been the priority as I try to fit 3 hour drives to NH, 10, 20, 30+ mile hikes and a drive home in between work and family time. It was inevitable that what I hold as meaningful to accomplishing the NH48 would begin to erode. After checking off the Osceola's my only focus was the end result as I contemplated the remaining summits on the list. Not really appreciating the slice of wilderness I had just got to explore. I hadn't taken in the beauty of the trail, the views from the summit, or even appreciated the effort I put out to finish it in the time I did.


I started to ask myself, "Is this how I wanted to accomplish this?"


A few days later I was looking out over the week a head, I had a day off coming up and was planning to hit the Sandwich Traverse next. Then I noticed the date and realized my daughter would be out of school for summer. Light bulb.


I combed through the list and broke Cannon Mountain out of a multi-summit hike I had created and asked if she wanted to do it with me. She was game after confirming it wasn't anything "crazy".


We left the house at 3am, got there for 6am and started up. Usually, I'd be fully focused on pushing myself from the start. This time I was locked in on laughter instead of a target pace. We shared stories, identified animal tracks and sounds, and occasionally I would drum up a little motivation when she felt tired.


We paused at the "fake" summit and the real one. We took in the views, prayed, and shared some moments together that I know I will remember forever.


As a dad it was also wonderful to watch her push through times when she felt like stopping. There weren't many super technical portions of this trail but there weren't many level portions either. She did tire a bit on the steeper climbs but she mustered up some grit to get it done.


I feel Cannon Mountain was a great beginner 4k mountain. Relatively short trail, diverse terrain, good views along the way and a very rewarding summit. And don't forget the "fake" summit which arguably has better views. Its not even a 10th of a mile off trail and definitely worth it. Up and back took my daughter and I 4 hours and 26 minutes. And that's with plenty of stops to enjoy it. The total ascent of 2,280 ft seemed quick. Probably due to the fact 90% of the trail has some % grade to it so you eat up elevation pretty quick. Even if you feel that you tire quickly, take frequent breaks at quasi plateaus and I think you'll really enjoy this mountain. And appreciate it more than riding the gondola up.



As for me, was it a killer performance? Did I push myself to my physical limits? No. However I do feel realigned. I feel reconnected to the spirit of the pursuit and the spirit of the mountains. And furthermore, I made some forever memories with one of my favorite humans....


You probably think I was the one leading this hike but really you helped me more than you will ever know. Thank you. Love you kiddo.



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