When we hiked Garfield last November, I thought it would make a great hike to do on Sept 11, 2011. We have hiked the last three years on the Sept 11th tribute, not as part of a group, but to see the summits and the flags and reflect. We like to hike a mountain with views to other summits, to see if we can spot any other flags. When we hiked Garfield in November, we had no view at all (disappointing) and I knew that it could have been a great one. The hike was pretty mellow, so I thought, this would be great for Sept 11th, made the plan, and hoped for a great day.

A couple days later I got pregnant and had to put a hold on hiking the 4K?s for a while. Garfield was #24 for me, and the last one that I had done before my hiatus.

I had a beautiful, smart, healthy, wonderful baby girl on July 19, 2011 via C-section. It took a while to return to any kind of real activity, let alone hiking. As Sept 11th neared, I wondered if a 10 mile hike, even a mellow one like Garfield, was a good idea. Of course I decided that it was!

We headed out to Garfield very early that morning, as I knew that I wouldn?t be as fast as I usually was (which isn?t all that fast to start with) and had a perfect day for the hike! We put flags on our packs and started the hike up. I handled most of the hike without and major issues, and wasn?t slowing the others down too badly. We hit the trail at 8 (after a few small glitches) and reached the summit at noon. There were a lot of people on the summit as we knew there would be, and a view of the entire Pemi loop with the exception of the very top of Lafayette, which had a small cap of clouds. We finally got the amazing view that we should have had in November, and the summit was much warmer and less icy than it had been then too : ) We were treated to a visit from a blackhawk helicopter that was circling all the summits starting over at Cannon. It flew right around the summit of Garfield, slowly. It was very cool to see.

We headed down off the summit, and I then noticed that my feet hurt. Not completely uncommon for having hiked 5 miles in and not having worn my boots in almost a year. As we continued down the trail, the aches and pains seemed to work their way up from my feet, to my knees, then my hips and abdomen. I knew I would probably be suffering some in my present condition (almost 8 weeks post op), but it got worse as we continued on. The reality of having no option but to make it back to the car (as the chopper was long gone) was the only thing that kept me going. By the end of the hike out, lifting my feet was a battle, and I was slightly embarrassed by how badly I had kept myself together. My hiking partners were in fine spirits though, as they were on board from the beginning that it might be difficult for me. One was even happy to be able to hike ahead of me for a change and stop to look at mushrooms etc instead of having to try to keep up with me!

We made it out of the woods at a decent time, there were still many cars in the parking lot and on the side of the road. I haven?t hurt that bad since I did Mt Washington and my knees failed me. I was in pain, which is NOT common for me. Soreness yes, pain not so much. But we enjoyed the hike regardless and I now feel like I?m back in the swing and ready to continue on with my quest for the 4K?s, staring with the Hancocks in October. Taking almost a year off takes some getting back into, but it?s been worth every minute to have my future little hiking partner : )