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

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I'm now 42 years old, Alex is about to turn 10, Christmas and New Year's are coming, and the world did not end on the 21st.

Life is good.

I'm taking a break from blogging and fundraising until the New Year -- time to hibernate a bit and enjoy the holidays with my loved ones.

We'll be back the first week of January with 4K trip reports, more gear choices, and fundraising updates.

Have a wonderful holiday, everyone!  And don't forget -- you still have time to make a 2012 tax-deductible contribution to GirlVentures and/or Global Fund for Women!

Peace on Earth and good will to men, women, and children.

Monday, December 17, 2012


I've received quite a few emails with questions about our upcoming hike.

For those interested in facts and details regarding the Camino de Santiago itself -- visit this excellent site.

As for questions regarding Hugh, the girls, and goes.

Why the Camino?

We saw this movie.

Why hike for charity?

We're fortunate to be able to go on this hike, so why not do whatever we can to help others while we're at it?  It's important to be of use in life.

Will the girls be okay hiking day after day after day?

I think so.  Alex and Sage are hardy, experienced hikers who routinely handle steep mountain trails in all kinds of weather.  They love getting out there and they are both looking forward to hiking in another country.  That being said, we have not hiked day after day after day before.  The most we've done is two days in a row...usually, we do a ginormous hike and then rest for a few days. 

We are used to rougher terrain and harsher weather than we'll likely experience on the Camino.  However, I do not underestimate our upcoming adventure.  Our plan is to take it day by day once we're out there.  If we feel we're doing too much too soon, then we'll slow down.  Flexibility is key.  If we need to take extra rest days here and there, then we will.

How will Hugh handle the Camino?

We don't know.  He will not be with us all the time, but when he is with us, he will do what he can to hike.  He'll rent a bicycle if walking day after day after day becomes too painful.  Worst comes to worst, he'll take buses/cabs and meet us each evening in the next town.  Again, flexibility is key.

Do you speak Spanish?

Alex has just reached an intermediate level and I'm at an advanced intermediate level.  Sage speaks a bit of Mandarin, and Hugh doesn't speak anything but English.  Alex and I will help Hugh and Sage in terms of communicating and getting around.

How do you have the time/money to do this?

We are a homeschooling family and thus have a lot of flexibility in terms of our schedule.  As for money -- we live very frugally on a day-to-day basis.  We don't subscribe to cable television, the girls don't have electronic games, we buy our clothing at discount stores (except for our hiking gear), etc.  I budget our daily lives very tightly so we can afford to travel.  When we do travel, we camp as often as possible.  During this trip, we plan to stay in public albergues.  We'll also do a lot of grocery shopping as opposed to constantly eating out.

What about the girls' education/schoolwork?

The Camino itself will be educational.  I am not lugging all our homeschooling materials in my backpack.  We will, however, probably do some math every day just to keep the girls' skills up.

What about your dog/cats/house?

We have an excellent pet/housesitter.

Pre-Camino Hiking. Doublehead, Squam, and Percival.

Congratulations once again to the winners of Saturday's raffle.  This morning, I made a donation to GirlVentures in the amount of $1141.00 (the amount of money raised from the raffle).  Many thanks to everyone who donated prizes or bought tickets! 

I'm past due posting the trip report from our last hike...I'll take care of that now.  Later this evening, I'll post the previously-promised FAQ.


Last Thursday, the girls and I brought our dog on his last mountain hike of 2012.  Our border terrier, Max, loves to hike, but he's not a fan of deep snow, frigid temperatures, or ice.  The White Mountains will soon be covered in all of the above, so this was Max's last chance to experience "views from the top" until we return from the Camino in spring 2013.

Trail and mountains:  Crawford-Ridgepole Trail over Doublehead Mountain, Squam Mountain, and Mt. Percival.  Out-and-back, about 9 miles.  Not sure of the total elevation gain...just under 3000 feet, perhaps.

The trail quickly rises.  Much of the elevation is gained right off the bat.

Fun ledges...

Once the initial climb is conquered, the trail meanders through the woods...

...goes over the (viewless) summit of Doublehead, and reaches the intersection with Doublehead Trail.

We took a break at this juncture.  Sage noted our location on the map before we continued on our way...

Onward, to Mt. Squam...

View from the ridge...

Max looking stately...


 More ridge views...

Frozen pond....

Approaching Squam's summit...

From Squam to Percival, it was more of the same...woods, boulders, and a few ledges. 

Percival's summit is gorgeous.  Fantastic views of the Squam Lake area.

Sage by the summit cairn...

Alex on the summit...

 This was a pleasant excursion -- it was the last one that didn't include microspikes, balaclavas, and snowshoes.  From December 22 on, it's winter 4K time.  The girls and I will hike winter 4Ks until we leave for Spain; ascending the 4000-Footers in the snow, ice, and frigid temps will keep us in shape and, hopefully, make our first couple of Camino days feel relatively simple.

The girls will miss Max's company during the winter hikes (and the Camino).  However, it's best if we leave him at home.  Max has made his dislike for snow obvious, and we've no desire to torture him.  :)

Next up, later today....those FAQ.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Raffle Drawing Today!

We're off to draw ten lucky stubs.

I'll post the winning numbers by 5pm.

Total amount this raffle has raised as of 12:22 pm today -- $1141.00


Grand Prize: $500 cash -- WINNING NUMBER: 0287
**One-night stay for two at the Henry Whipple House Bed and Breakfast  WINNING NUMBER: 1008
**Mt. Washington Observatory one-year family membership  WINNING NUMBER: 0288
**Mt. Washington Observatory one-year family membership (another one!)  WINNING NUMBER: 0148
** $25 Gift Certificate, Mountain Wanderer Map and Book StoreWINNING NUMBER: 0041
**An autographed copy of my book, Up: A Mother and Daughter's Peakbagging Adventure  WINNING NUMBER: 0273
**An autographed copy of Erin McKittrick's  A Long Trek Home: 4000 Miles by Boot, Raft, and Ski  WINNING NUMBER: 0633
**DVD copy of Erin McKittrick's award-winning film, Journey on the Wild Coast.  WINNING NUMBER: 0785
**Christmas tree from Moultonborough's Aubuchon Hardware.  Fraser fir of your choice, valued up to $60.  WINNING NUMBER: 0007
**Monarch butterfly photograph print, matted, Clay Dingman Photography .  Value $75.  WINNING NUMBER: 0705


All the folks with winning numbers have now been contacted via voice message or private message/email. 

THANK YOU for supporting our raffle! 

On Monday morning (12-17-2012), I will donate $1141.00 (amount of $ raised by the raffle) to GirlVentures.

Friday, December 14, 2012

What a horrific day.  As the mother of two young children, I can't begin to imagine the agony those Connecticut families must be going through.  I'm not sure what the answer is in terms of preventing tragedies like this from ever happening again, but I hope our nation can at least find a way to keep guns out of the hands of unstable and irresponsible people.  That would be a start.

Posting pictures from our recent hike seems like a trivial thing to do right now.  I think I'll write up the proper trip report late tomorrow evening, after I've posted the winning raffle numbers.  Ditto with the FAQ.  Today's events were tragic, and I simply don't feel right posting trivia, photos, and/or Camino plans tonight.  My thoughts are with the mothers of those murdered young children.  Everything else feels unimportant.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Busy day today!  We ascended three small mountains, homeschooled (spelling, chemistry, math, handwriting, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and Latin), and cleaned an entire floor of our house.  We're not usually this productive -- not by a long shot -- so I'm a bit amazed at ourselves right now, lol.

Tomorrow, I'll post the photos from today's hike.  The day after that (Saturday), we draw the winning raffle stubs!  Good times.

Hard to believe that three months from now, we'll be on the Camino!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fundraising, Part One -- Success!

Our raffle has now raised over $1000!  The drawing is this Saturday at 1pm at The Stix in Campton.  You don't have to be there to win, but if you're in the southern Whites and want to eat some seriously good food, then come on by and watch me draw the winning stubs.

Total donations to date:

GirlVentures (including the money I'll donate from the raffle): $1260.00
Global Fund for Women (straight donations through this website): $955.00

That brings us to a total of $2215.00 for both charities.  We've managed to raise 22.15% of our total fundraising goal ($10,000) in just over five weeks!  Since we've still three months to go before we leave for Spain, I'm optimistic about raising at least 50-70% of that ten grand before we set off on our big adventure. 

To all who have donated -- THANK YOU!!

To those who haven't yet contributed -- please take a look at the tabs above and donate whatever you can to one or both of these fine organizations.

Coming later this week -- another training hike...and FAQ of a personal nature.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Second 4K Hike with Full Camino Packs. Galehead, Dec. 6, 2012

A note on bedbug prevention -- I hear the albergues in Spain sometimes play host to bedbugs. Folks on this Camino forum recommend spraying clothing and sleeping bags with permethrin. I have bought Sawyer's Premium Insect Repellent and will treat our clothing, bags, and backpacks a few days before we leave for Spain.

As promised, here are the photos from yesterday's hike. We ascended Galehead Mountain, one of New Hampshire's highest peaks. This was Alex's third visit and Sage's second visit to Galehead (both girls have hiked all 48 of New Hampshire's highest mountains -- see our main blog, Trish, Alex and Sage, for details).  

We enjoyed a crisp and beautiful day; I'll let the pictures tell the story.

View from the porch at Galehead Hut (closed for the season) --

Galehead Hut (closed for the season) --

Galehead Mountain from Galehead Hut --

Summit of Galehead --

South Twin from the lookout ledge near the summit of Galehead --

Back at the hut --

We made decent time -- 10.2 icy mountain miles (2450 feet of elevation gain) in seven and a half hours (including breaks) carrying full Camino backpacks. 

Tomorrow, Sage and I are going shopping for a lightweight kid's pack.  Sage doesn't mind the pack she's been wearing, but that one is heavier than it needs to be and it doesn't have a waist belt.  I'm sure we can find something lighter and more appropriate for multi-day trekking.  I want the girls to be as comfy as possible during our Camino.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

We had a great "4K" hike today; we re-visited Galehead Mountain, one of New Hampshire's 48 highest peaks.  Both Alex and Sage have hiked all 48 peaks at least once (Alex is halfway through a third round) -- but their old packs were small and light.  Now, they get to haul "Camino" packs all over the Whites as we train for our upcoming Camino de Santiago adventure!

I'll have a full trip report late tomorrow evening (as well as a few words about bedbug prevention).  In the meantime, here are a few photos from today's excursion.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Fundraising update

Less than two weeks to go before our raffle drawing!

So far, the raffle has raised almost $800.  That's pretty good, considering I'm obeying the law to a "T."  I see a lot of New Hampshire-based raffles going on all around me that are not taking into account state and federal laws...and they're making a ton of money...but I will stay the ethical course.  :)  We still have almost two weeks before the drawing, so I'm optimistic about the chances of this raffle raising over $1000.

The $800 + (hopefully $1000 +) will go to GirlVentures.  Donations to Global Fund for Women currently equal about $700.  We hope to raise at least $2500 for both organizations before we leave for the Camino in March 2013.

Ticket selling is actually fun.  The girls and I enjoy sitting at a table and talking to whoever comes our way.  The sales themselves are easy -- there's no guesswork involved.  If someone approaches and looks interested, then they buy.  If they walk quickly past our table, then it's obvious they don't want to be bothered.  I don't believe in hollering after anyone ("Want to buy a ticket??") -- 'cause let's face it, that's obnoxious.  So we sit and smile and wait for folks to come to us.  Maybe we'd sell more tickets if we were more aggressive...but in-your-face tactics don't suit us well.  We're the kinder, gentler fundraisers.

Last week, I promised news about preparing for'll have to come this week.  On Friday evening, to be exact.

The girls and I are back to all-day, 4K hiking this Thursday.  I'll have pictures late Thursday evening.