Because of covid-19 I am confined to my home and cannot go hiking. I’m not sick, but I’m self distancing and self isolating because I’m in a high-risk group. I would still go hiking, except there’s nothing else for people to do in New Hampshire right now so the hiking trails are overcrowded and it’s impossible to practice social distancing to the point where I need to. So there won’t be any hiking blogs for a while. Feel free to read past blogs in the meantime. At some point I hope things get back to normal. If this goes on too long, I may just write the rest of “Reliving My Journey to Mount Washington,” but as of right now I can’t focus enough to do that. It’s the anxiety of the situation.

Hiking to Mount Washington Summit via Jewel Trail
© Carmel Gangi 2018

Welcome to my blog! I am not a professional blogger and I am really new at this. So why write a blog at all? I got the idea on a hike, actually. After I finished my redlining goals and climbing Mount Washington in 2018, I was going to write a book about my journey to Mount Washington, and everything I had to overcome to reach that goal. The goal was to climb to the top. And in a future blog entry I will write in detail about that hike, because it was a pivotal moment in my life.  However, the book never materialized because my neuropathy worsened to the point where I can’t type like I used to.

Until now I would post all of my hikes on my Facebook page, and they were limited to my friends. My Facebook page is not public. Occasionally I also post pictures on the Belknap Range Hikers page on Facebook if I am hiking in the Belknaps, or if I am hiking in the Ossipee mountains and take pictures of the Belknap range from there. My posts on Facebook became quite lengthy, and I posted a lot of pictures. So I realized that a good compromise between a book and writing everything on Facebook was to learn how to create a blog.

Even with all those reasons, I would have to say one of the main reasons I decided to write a blog from a disabled hiker’s point of view, really stemmed from the Appalachian Mountain Club Trail Guide descriptions and ratings. They really did not apply to me as a disabled hiker. I understand there are many different kinds of disabilities, so I need to explain mine in a little bit more detail.

As my tag line says, I suffer from progressive idiopathic peripheral neuropathy. In a sense, that means my nerves are dying and nobody knows why. It affects my balance; my ability to walk unaided, because I have partial paralysis in my feet; and now it has affected my fine motor skills in my hands. I do not hike like an average hiker does. I have to rely on all parts of my body and hiking poles, so I hike more slowly than the average hiker. A trail rating of moderate to an average hiker may be very difficult for someone with my disabilities. My brain surgeries have left me mostly deaf in my right ear,  so that is another disability that I have to deal with when I’m out in the woods.

I hike alone, and I do follow the safe hiker practices outlined by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Because hiking for me is a spiritual journey every time I go out there, I prefer to hike alone and enjoy the quiet solitude of nature as I commune with my Lord and Master. You will see me refer to my hikes as dates with my Lord and Master, because they are dates with God for me. I also hike (or snowshoe) in all kinds of weather, but I like ice hiking best.

I invite you join me on this adventure! I plan to write a few posts a week. I will be writing posts about my hikes and rating trails from my own experience, so other people who may not hike the same way the average hiker would, they can get a different idea of what they may be up against when they go out in the woods.

Update: In June, 2019 I was diagnosed with hereditary peripheral neuropathy, also known as charcot-marie-tooth disease. So it’s not idiopathic anymore.

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.Luke 5:16

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