Two New Hampshire girls hike the 500-mile Camino de Santiago to raise money for women around the world.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

More roadwalk training, gear notes, and additional challenges

The girls and I usually do "big hikes" on Thursdays.  Meaning, we're typically on the trail at dawn and back at the house after dark, and we generally cover 10-15 mountain miles (3300+ ft of elevation gain).

Today was an exception; we had evening plans and therefore needed to do something less time-consuming.  We therefore hiked 10 quick road miles -- road miles are much easier than mountain miles (less elevation gain, smoother walking surface, etc.).  We were out the door at 8am and back before noon.   

Scenes from our meandering:

Gear notes:

The girls still say their backpacks feel fine, but I still say I'm getting them lighter ones before we leave for the Camino.

We've made progress in gear selection.  For base layers, we'll continue to use Polarmax.  The girls have been wearing them for four years and they work, so why switch now?  We're bringing our Sorels as our main winter/wet hiking boots.  We may regret that decision at some point...these Sorels keep our feet warm down to -40 degrees, so they might be too much for what we need.  Plus, they're heavy.  However, it will still be winter when we arrive and we will hike over a few mountains.  The girls feel quite comfortable in these boots and the material is bombproof.  We'll also bring hiking sandals (brand not yet chosen) so we have something to change into if/when it gets too warm for the Sorels.

I'll create a "gear list" tab at the top of this site next week.  By the way, we're not sponsored by anyone, so if I say something works for us, it's because it really works for us (and not because I'm getting free gear or $ just to say it works for us).  :)

Additional challenges:

I'm on blood thinners.  I'll most likely be on blood thinners for life.  I'll explain why in another post.  For now, let's just say that it's important I not take a serious fall.  I did so tonight...silly household accident, I tripped over I-don't-know-what while carrying laundry...and now my leg is swelling up.  Our evening plans went out the window, which was very disappointing (I have to stay home and elevate the leg). 

If I fall on the Camino, then we'll have to hang about in whatever town we're in for an extra day or two until I'm good to go.  I can tell you right now that we won't come back to the States until we reach Santiago...but if I take a fall while we're out there, then our journey will take a bit longer than expected.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Giving Tuesday!

I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

It's Giving Tuesday!  We're walking 500 miles -- can you donate 500 cents?  We'll meet our fundraising goal within a few short weeks if everyone who visits this page contributes $5.00 to GirlVentures and/or Global Fund for Women.  Click here to donate.

Ticket, anyone?  Photo by Sage.

We've two and a half weeks before the raffle drawing.  I'm pleased to say that we've sold over 400 tickets thus far.  Since we still have seven more venues on our ticket-selling schedule, I'm optimistic about our chances of bringing in over a thousand dollars.  That money will go to GirlVentures, which will give that half of our fundraising campaign a nice bump; I'd love to begin our Camino with a significant portion of the fundraising already behind us.

By mid-December, we'll probably have raised at least $1100 for GirlVentures (amount from the raffle included) and more than $500 for Global Fund for Women.  I'll post the exact numbers for both organizations after the raffle is over (December 15).

 Remember -- 500 cents from every visitor would allow us to reach our goal ($5000 for each charity) long before we even set foot on the Camino.  If you've already donated, thank you!!  If you haven't, then please visit this page, choose a charity, and donate while you can still write it off on this year's tax return!  :)

Coming soon...base layers, bedbugs, and planes/trains/automobiles.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Kearsarge North Video, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Support girls!  Donate to GirlVentures and/or Global Fund for Women!  If you're in New Hampshire, then you can also participate in our raffle.

Happy Almost-Thanksgiving!

We hope you have a safe and wonderful holiday.  We'll be back next week; in the meantime, here's a video of last Thursday's hike up Kearsarge North.

Coming next week -- gear selection, bedbug prevention, and more hikes!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Kearsarge North

Raffle tickets are now available at the Mt. Washington Weather Discovery Center in North Conway, NH.  Don't want to buy a ticket?  You can support our cause in other ways -- donate directly to Global Fund for Women and/or GirlVentures in honor of GIRLS ON THE WAY.


The girls and I hiked Kearsarge North today.  It was a moderate hike by White Mountain standards -- just 6.2 miles roundtrip with only 2600 feet of elevation gain -- but it gave us a bit of everything in terms of New Hampshire terrain.  Again, the girls carried "Camino packs," and again, both fared well under the additional weight.  I'll have a full trip report early next week.

Typical White Mountain trail

This weekend, I hope to buy both girls the base layers and socks they'll need for the Camino.  I think they're set with waterproof layers, hats, and gloves.  Fleece and shoes/boots will have to wait until a month before we leave (if I buy those items too early, then the girls might grow out of them before they're needed).  Would still like to get the girls ultra-light backpacks, but those'll have to wait...I can't buy everything we need at once (my last name isn't Rockefeller).

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

First Four Thousand Footer with Fully Loaded Camino Packs

Want to show your support?  Donate to GirlVentures and/or Global Fund for Women in honor of Girls on the Way!

The girls and I accompanied two of our friends on their final 52 With a View hike last Sunday.  After reaching the top of Starr King, we decided to continue and get nearby Mt. Waumbek as well.  Both girls have ascended all 48 of New Hampshire's highest mountains (Alex is now on her third round of these "4Ks"), but, until Sunday, they'd never ascended a 4K carrying everything they'd need for an accidental night out.  My pack, on the other hand, felt wonderfully's nice to finally be able to transfer some of the kids' gear into their own packs!

The hike went well.  Alex and Sage said they could feel the extra weight, but they didn't complain of aches or pains.  Their pace was only a bit slower than usual and they seemed like their usual happy selves throughout the ascent.

You can read the full trip report on my main blog (click here)Since the focus of that hike was to celebrate Dan and Janelle's final 52 With a View peak, I feel the report should go there instead of here (where the focus is on our Camino preparations).

Friday, November 9, 2012

Our First Fourteen Mile Road Walk

If you're a New Hampshire resident, then participate in our raffle!  We have almost $1000 in cool prizes lined here for details.

Instead of ascending a mountain yesterday, the girls and I took to our local streets and did two seven-mile loop hikes close to our home.  Both girls carried fully loaded backpacks that weighed more or less the same as the loaded backpacks we'll take on the Camino (we have not yet settled on specific Camino backpacks or brands of gear).  During our hike, it snowed, rained, and hailed.  In other words, we experienced typical New England weather.

Ready to roll

Catching snowflakes with our faces

The girls and I are used to hiking 10-18 miles at a time over mountains.  That feels natural to us, and our muscles have adapted to that kind of exertion.  Road walking is very different.  There are no rocks or roots to deal with, and the elevation gain isn't as severe.  We definitely moved faster on the road than we do on the trails -- it took us only six hours to hike the fourteen miles yesterday, and we were walking at a very casual pace.  However, our feet and calves were quite sore at the end of the day; hard asphalt and concrete are unkind to legs!  We'll have to make sure we stretch from time to time during our next long-distance road walk.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Choosing Our Stones for La Cruz de Ferro

NH residents -- participate in our raffle!  $500 cash prize and lots of other cool items!  Click here for details.

We're about to head out for a 15 mile hike.  Instead of ascending a peak, however, we'll walk over hills and small roads.  We're hiking mountains on two other days this week, so I thought we'd do a more casual (albeit long) walk closer to towns and shops this morning.   This will be the first time both Alex and Sage will carry the same weight they'll carry on the Camino.

A few days ago, we chose our stones for La Cruz de Ferro.  La Cruz de Ferro is an iron cross located on the Camino Frances between the towns of Foncebadón and Manjarín.  Pilgrims leave a stone from their hometown at the foot of the cross.

Why do pilgrims leave a stone at La Cruz de Ferro?  The girls and I explain the reasoning in the video below.

Off we go now!  Time to shoulder our packs and enjoy the fresh air.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


We're holding a raffle to kick off our fundraising campaign! 

Tickets are $1.00 each.

The drawing will be held at The Stix in Campton, NH on December 15, 2012 at 1pm.  You do NOT need to attend the drawing; I'll notify you if you win, and I'll post the winning numbers on this website.


Grand Prize: $500 cash

Other Great Prizes:

**One-night stay for two at the Henry Whipple House Bed and Breakfast

**Mt. Washington Observatory one-year family membership

**Mt. Washington Observatory one-year family membership (another one!)

** $25 Gift Certificate, Mountain Wanderer Map and Book Store.

**An autographed copy of my book, Up: A Mother and Daughter's Peakbagging Adventure

**An autographed copy of Erin McKittrick's  A Long Trek Home: 4000 Miles by Boot, Raft, and Ski

**DVD copy of Erin McKittrick's award-winning film, Journey on the Wild Coast

**Christmas tree from Moultonborough's Aubuchon Hardware.  Fraser fir of your choice, valued up to $60.

**Monarch butterfly photograph print, matted, Clay Dingman Photography .  Value $75.


You must be at least 16 years old.

If you're under the age of 18, then you must have the permission of your parent/guardian.

You must be 18 years of age or older to stay at the Henry Whipple House B&B.  If a person younger than 18 wins this prize, then they can either a) give the B&B gift certificate to the adult of their choosing or b) accept an autographed copy of my book, Up: A Mother and Daughter's Peakbagging Adventure instead.  If the person chooses the book, then I will draw another ticket for the B&B stay.

How To Get Tickets

Send an email to if you would like to buy tickets.
New Hampsire residents only, please. 

We are now finished selling tickets at fairs, grocery stores, and other establishments. 

Many thanks to:

Angels & Trinkets Holiday Fair (Nashua)
Auchubon Hardware Store (Moultonborough) 
Beyond the Bean Bakery (Plymouth)
Lahouts (Lincoln)
Mt. Washington Weather Discovery Center (North Conway)
Shaws Supermarket (Littleton)

These fine establishments helped us raise close to $1000 in raffle ticket sales and donations.  We are much obliged!

***Permit for this raffle was granted by the Campton, NH Board of Selectmen on November 5, 2012.***

Monday, November 5, 2012

Let the Camino Training Commence

Our training plan for our 500-mile Camino hike is fairly straightforward.  We'll do a "big" mountain hike (at least 10 miles) once a week, just like we always do (see our main blog for past hikes and trip reports).  In addition, the girls will take turns going with me on "short" hikes (less than 10 miles) on Saturdays.  The Saturday hikes will give me an opportunity to test new gear or routines with the girls.

Last Saturday, Sage and I hiked up Black Mountain in Benton, NH.  For the first time, Sage wore a backpack loaded with everything she'd need for an overnight, minus a tent.  Up until this point, I've carried most of the load for both girls during our adventures.  Now, however, they're ready to shoulder their own stuff.

That being said, it's important they carry as little weight as possible on the Camino...lighter loads mean happier hikers and healthier backs and feet.  Therefore, the girls and I will bring only the bare essentials.  Though Sage's pack looks huge, it only weighs 6 pounds (not including water).

The hike went well, as you can see from the video below.  Black Mountain via Chippewa Trail is about 5 miles roundtrip with 1600 feet of elevation gain.

Good times.

Regarding the backpack's weight: Sage felt comfortable during the hike, but I think I need to buy her a different backpack.  The one she wore on Saturday is too big; the contents, when packed down, fill only half the space.  We can probably find a children's backpack that's lighter and smaller, yet still holds all that Sage needs to carry.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Important Note About "In Honor Of"

Several people have told me they've donated to GirlVentures and/or Global Fund for Women...but they forgot to put "GIRLS ON THE WAY" in the "In Honor Of" section of the online forms.  Typing "GIRLS ON THE WAY" is important; the organizations can then easily see how much money is coming in because of us, and they can report back to me accordingly.  If you don't type "GIRLS ON THE WAY" in the "In Honor Of" section, then there's no way for me to keep track of our fundraising efforts.

Thank you so much for donating.  The nonprofits are getting financial support and that's all that really matters in the grand scheme of things.  However, I would love to know how we're doing.

If you've donated because of us but didn't type "GIRLS ON THE WAY" in the "In Honor Of" section, would you mind doing me a favor?  Send me an email at and let me know the amount you donated and which organization you supported.  This way, I can keep an informal tally on my end while GirlVentures and Global Fund for Women keep track of "In Honor of" donations on their end (I won't publicize your name, email address, or how much you donated). 

Thank you for your support!


Pre-Camino Interviews with Alex and Sage

I asked the girls to express their thoughts about hiking the 500-mile Camino de Santiago; I told them to say whatever came to mind.

Sage talks about our upcoming Camino hike.

Alex talks about our upcoming Camino hike.

Don't forget, we're hiking to raise awareness for two important female-empowering organizations -- so please donate whatever you can spare to Global Fund for Women and/or GirlVentures.  See "How You Can Donate" at the top of the page.  To those who have already contributed -- thank you!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Please donate what you can to Global Fund for Women and/or GirlVentures.  Suggested contribution is $50, but any amount will help.  See "How You Can Donate" for details.


Me, Alex, Sage, and Hugh in Rocky Mountain National Park.  August 2012

How will Hugh see his children while they're walking The Way?  When his work schedule allows, Hugh will fly out and hike with us.  Though he won't be with us during our entire Camino, he does have every intention of walking the last 100 kilometers (62 miles) so he can receive his Compostela.  The Compostela is the certification of completion given to Camino pilgrims when they arrive at Santiago.  One must walk the final 100 kilometers (or bike the final 200 kilometers) to qualify for the Compostela.

For those of you not familiar with Hugh Herr, it's important to note that he's a bilateral amputee.  His lack of human legs doesn't keep him from being one of the best climbers in the country, though. 

That being said, I'm not sure how Hugh's going to handle the day-after-day grind of the Camino.  I'm worried there will be times when his stumps ache or bleed.  However, Hugh's an inventor and a leading scientist in the field of biomechatronics, so I trust he'll be able to invent/construct something that will help him handle The Way.