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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

HikeGoo, "The Hiker Mama" Interview, and Climb-a-thon Pictures

We leave for the Camino in TEN DAYS! 

Pictures from last Saturday's fundraising climb-a-thon can now be found on my Facebook Page!

Jennifer Johnson of The Hiker Mama recently interviewed me and the girls about our upcoming Camino adventure.  You can read the interview here.


A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune of winning a raffle run by Philip Werner of The Section Hiker.  The prize was a tube of HikeGoo, a blister prevention cream made by Foot Kinetics.  Though neither Alex nor I have ever gotten a blister while hiking, I was glad to win this raffle because Sage sometimes has trouble with her feet.  There's a real possibility she'll get blisters as we hike day after day after day in Spain, so we were happy to give this product a try during our training hikes here at home.

One is supposed to spread the creme thickly onto the feet and between the toes.  The applicator is bumpy and a bit on the awkward side...I found it necessary to finish spreading the creme with my fingers.  That's only a minor drawback, however, since one can easily wipe the excess onto your ankle (or a towel).

After applying, one puts on a sock -- right over the Goo.

All three of us used HikeGoo during three of our training hikes (February 2013).  Each hike lasted between 5 and 8 miles long.  None of us received blisters.

The  creme itself felt comfortable on our feet -- we felt like we were wearing silky liners.  After our hikes, our feet looked soft and healthy (instead of the usual rough and stinky).  During our hikes, the HikeGoo worked itself into our skin and into the fiber of our socks, but there was no mess -- when we took off our socks, they smelt good, they were dry, and I didn't see any need to wash them.  If I can get away with not having to wash socks every day while walking the Camino, I will be a very happy camper indeed!  I almost like that benefit more than the promise of no blisters!

The nice guys at Foot Kinetics sent me extra tubes to take with us on our Camino.  After testing this product at home, I've decided to definitely use it in Spain.  HikeGoo should keep Sage's feet blister-free, and Alex and I will wear a thin layer every day just to keep our socks from smelly nasty.

I'll be back tomorrow,

Monday, February 25, 2013

Almost at our fundraising goal!

The climb-a-thon at Brooklyn Boulders was a great success!  Many thanks to Minna Kim and Stephanie Chan for putting together such a fun and fruitful event.

Alex and Sage at the climb-a-thon
As of today, we've raised $4515 for Global Fund for Women and $3886 for GirlVentures.  That puts us at $8401 total.  We are still counting pledges and Portsmouth Brewery will donate their Pint Night contributions in April or May, so we've actually raised more than the stated figures.  I'll update the totals throughout the coming weeks.

Many, many individuals and organizations have pitched in and donated money for the two nonprofits and/or prizes for our raffle.   To all who have helped -- thank you.  I will publish a longer and more formal post at the end of the week to better express my gratitude.

We haven't yet reached our goal of $5000 for each organization -- if you haven't contributed, then please click on the tabs at the top of the page (or to the right) and donate in honor of GIRLS ON THE WAY.

I'll post more photos of the climb-a-thon in a day or two!  I'm still gathering images from friends and climbers.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Saturday's Climb-a-thon at Brooklyn Boulders

See you Saturday in New York City!

We're soon off to Brooklyn for the climb-a-thon at Brooklyn Boulders.  We are so excited for this event!  Many, many thanks to Minna Kim and Stephanie Chan for organizing this wonderful fundraiser.

Here are the details:

The climbing gym opens at 10am on Saturday -- baked goods will be sold throughout the day.

The official climb-a-thon begins at 8pm Saturday and lasts until 2am Sunday.  There's a $20 minimum to climb.  Those with pledges can climb in 30-minute increments for as many 30-minute increments as they like.  Beverages are being provided by Runa Tea.  Tents and sleeping bags are being provided by EMS -- lights-out is at 2am and wake-up is at 6am.

All proceeds will be donated to GirlVentures and Global Fund for Women.

Visit Brooklyn Boulders' Event page on Facebook for more details.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

6 days 'til the climb-a-thon, 3 weeks 'til Spain!

EMS is donating tents and sleeping bags for our all-night Feb. 23 climb-a-thon at New York City's Brooklyn Boulders.  Much obliged, EMS!

Runa Tea is donating literally hundreds of bottles of its refreshing Guayusa Tea for the climb-a-thon -- all those thirsty participants will be very grateful, so thank you, Runa Tea!

Our fundraising total now stands at $6776 -- that includes $3000 in climbing pledges that we know about (there will be more).  If you have already contributed to either Global Fund for Women or GirlVentures, then we thank you!  If you haven't, then please consider contributing here or here.  Please remember to donate "in honor of GIRLS ON THE WAY."  Remember, 100% of the money you donate goes straight to the nonprofit organization (and not to us!).  Help empower females around the world!
Gear notes --
We're considering bringing lightweight down jackets (the kind that weigh nothing and smush up nicely) on the Camino.  The girls might like something warm to hang out in once we're finished walking for the day.  Their day-fleeces might be too light for the evening temperatures.
Training --
We continue to train, though the girls are getting tired of the 6-7 mile loop around our house.  They asked to hike a mountain last Wednesday instead...we don't usually hike mountains on Wednesdays, since the girls have karate in the afternoons...also, last Wednesday had a horrible above-treeline forecast...nevertheless, up we went.  
We ascended Mt. Pierce, one of New Hampshire's smaller Four Thousand Footers.  The path was well tracked out so we barebooted up the peak.  The girls had a blast.  There were several groups out trekking -- some wore snowshoes, some wore crampons, and some, like us, wore microspikes.  It was a wear-what-you-like kind of day, and most everyone was in good spirits and in proper HYOH (Hike Your Own Hike) attitude.  Unfortunately, there were a couple of men on snowshoes who copped attitudes at anyone who wasn't also in snowshoes -- in spite of the lack of postholing -- but oh well, there are always going to be people who erroneously think their ways are better than everyone else's.  The girls and I were able to ignore the petty negativity and enjoy the company of the other hikers we met on the trail.   
We also enjoyed the company of the Gray Jays...
[EDIT: As a rule, we do not feed the wildlife -- and we ask that you don't either!  However, we do make an exception for Perisoreus canadensis.  Most hikers I know also make this exception, but there are many who do not.  There's somewhat of a debate within the hiking community on whether or not feeding gray jays violates wilderness ethics.  Obviously, I do not believe feeding gray jays harms the birds or endangers other human beings -- gray jays are a unique can read about them here and here.  As for the debate -- here's a thread which highlights points from both sides of the fence.]
There were no views to be had above treeline, which is what we'd expected given the forecast.  There was, however, some rime ice.
Up into the fog... a snowy summit cone.
I'll be back in a few days with some miscellaneous odds and ends. 
Hard to believe we've only three weeks to go before we're on a plane to Spain...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Four Week Countdown...

In four weeks, the girls and I will be on a plane.  Our Camino adventure is right around the corner.

Thanks to all those who have donated to GirlVentures and/or Global Fund for Women.  We haven't yet set foot on the Camino, but you've already made our hike a success.  If you haven't donated to either organization, then please do so here or here (in honor of "GIRLS ON THE WAY").  We've still a ways to go in terms of our fundraising goals, so please do what you can to help these fine organizations.  Every dollar counts.

For those of you who live in or near New York City -- Brooklyn Boulders is having an all night climb-a-thon in our honor on Saturday, Feb. 23!  100% of the proceeds will be donated to Global Fund for Women and GirlVentures.  Contact Stephanie Chan at for more information, or check out Brooklyn Boulders' Event Page on Facebook.  We are very excited about this event!

Massachusetts and New Hampshire residents --  Portsmouth Brewery has included us in its Tuesday Community Pint Night.  From now through April, you can visit the pub, have a beer, and choose Girls on the Way as your charity of choice.  The brewery will donate $0.25 for every pint you buy to Global Fund for Women in our honor.  Many thanks for your help, Portsmouth Brewery!

Community Pint Night charity token.  Photo taken from

I think we're ready for this adventure.  I'm sure we're going to have a difficult first week as we get used to the rigors of hiking day after consecutive day.  I'm also sure, however, that the novelty of this quest and the constant new ground will help keep spirits up and ambitions strong.  The girls are used to dealing with adversity and they enjoy challenges, so I think they actually want this to be rather difficult.  They'll likely get their wish.

We're almost finished with our "lasts."

Last gear purchase -- just now, online.  Had to buy new rain/water-proof pants for Sage, since she no longer fits into her old pair.  Arg.  These kids, they keep growing.

Last doctor appointment before the Camino -- check.  Both girls are in tip-top shape.

Last dental appointment before the Camino -- almost a check...we're visiting the dentist this week.  I'm sure both girls are destined for braces...perhaps as early as the month we return from the Camino.  Needless to say, Alex and Sage are less than enthused about their appointments.

Last planning session with Hugh -- check.  We now have a flexible schedule regarding meeting times and places.  Hugh will join us in Spain from time to time as he is able.  He will bike parts of the Camino as we walk the paths.

Last check of overseas health insurance coverage -- check.

Last month of normal life -- straight ahead, from now until March 10.

What we still need to do:

Get scallop shells for our backpacks.

Get last haircuts.  We'll do this a week before we leave.

Get Euros and make sure my bank card will work in Spain.  I'll take care of that tomorrow.

Decide what I'm taking in terms of electronics.  I want one thing that will allow me to blog, take pictures/videos, check email, etc.  It'll probably be an iPad, an iPad mini, or an iPod.  I don't currently own any of those items and I don't have a lot of cash to spare, so I have to do a lot of research and bargain hunting in the immediate future. 

I'll post again on Friday.  Hopefully, I'll have some great photos to share -- the girls and I want to hike some mountains this week.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Overnight Climbathon at NYC's Brooklyn Boulders

Be Bold, and Mighty Forces Will Come to Your Aid. -- Basil King

Mighty forces have indeed come to our aid -- Brooklyn Boulders, New York City's popular and prestigious rock climbing gym, is holding an overnight climbathon in support of GIRLS ON THE WAY! All the proceeds will go to Global Fund for Women and GirlVentures.  The event begins the evening of Saturday, February 23.  If you live in or near New York City and would like to participate, then email Stephanie Chan at for more information.

Thank you, Brooklyn Boulders!!


The girls and I continue to train.  We're now hiking three times a week; Alex and Sage easily and happily crank out seven miles in two hours on gravel/paved surfaces, regardless of how steep or hilly the route.  Starting Feb. 10, we'll hike four days a week, about 7-8 miles per hike, and we'll keep that up until we leave for the Camino.  That should be enough training to keep the girls in great hiking shape without overdoing it.  We don't want to hike the Camino before we're actually on the Camino, if you know what I mean.