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Hiking the Fimmvörðuháls Pass in Iceland was one of the greatest experiences and hikes of my adult life. Even after hiking my way through some of Maine and New Hampshire’s beautiful mountains, no hike has succeeded in humbling me quite like this one.

We had planned this hike well before arriving in Iceland. We knew that we wanted a large hike that both challenged us and gave us a scenic tour of Southern Iceland. For those who have researched Iceland or have been to the beautiful island already know that traveling around in a car can be tricky (unless you opted for a 4-wheel drive vehicle). Getting to Skógar from Reykjavík isn’t a problem in a small car, but the drive to/from Þórsmörk involves several river crossings.

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Our three-peak (two 4,000-footer) hiking adventure began quite early in the morning. Darren and I left Portland around 6am, hoping to reach the trailhead around 8:30-9:00. After a bit of confusion (the highway in Franconia had a series of detours that really confused us and our lack of phone GPS connection), we reached the trailhead closer to 9:00.

The trailhead was well-equipped with a bathroom right near the parking lot. (Though beware – it smelled awful.) We checked and rechecked our bags and set out.

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Let’s talk about the Beach to Beacon, shall we?

Back in March, I was one of those lucky thousands who managed to click and type away fast enough in order to secure a race spot. For many, the Beach to Beacon is the event of the summer – they train hard (and fast!) to be able to perform their best with the best. People anxiously await the event, meeting the elite athletes, and of course running along a beautiful stretch of road in Cape Elizabeth. For me, it was definitely a healthy combination of the three.

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Photo © Carly Raymond

On Sunday I participated in the Tri for a Cure for the second year in a row. Starting almost immediately after Sugarloaf, I dove right into triathlon training. I trained for six days a week with a rest day on Fridays. In the midst of this training, I left my job at a graphic design firm and joined the ranks of a larger business in town as a front end engineer. While it proved to be a very hectic and busy two week transition, my tri training and fantastic new job provided me with a huge confidence boost and finally brought about my excitement for the Tri for a Cure that had been missing for way too long!

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Earlier in the week, Darren and I had planned a hike that involved getting Jackson and Pierce. (Remember that time I had intended to do Webster and Jackson only to miss Jackson completely and end up 6 miles up the road on Rt. 302?) This was our “make-up” hike to try to bag that peak! After examining our AMC maps for a little bit, we realized that we could hit Eisenhower if we added on 3 more miles. We proposed this idea to our hiking friends and everyone seemed on board. So we added Eisenhower to the list of peaks to hit on Saturday!

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After months and months and months of anticipation, I finally did my first hike of 2015! Hiking was the #1 activity that I missed during marathon training. Now that I’ve hopped back to tri training, hiking is a perfect form of cross-training – so I gathered the troops and we planned a really exciting hike in the Whites.

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