Almost as long as her 46-year marriage, is Rochelle’s long-standing friendship of 45 years with her best friend and fellow Go North 9er, Dixie. We introduced you to Dixie in our recent, “Let’s Get the Patch” blog post.
Rochelle, who’s from Massachusetts, met Dixie when she and her husband were building their home next door to Dixie and her husband down in Charleton, MA. They became friends and have been friends since. And, after many visits and stays with Dixie and her husband at their camp in Pittsburg, Rochelle and her husband decided to take the next big step of purchasing their own second home there too…just three tenths of a mile from her best friend!
Rochelle and Dixie talk several times a week when apart, and when they’re together, they could walk and talk for hours, something that would come in handy for the two novice hikers.
Rochelle always liked walking and used to be a runner; two things that took a back seat while working, raising a family, and taking care of her mother who recently passed away. But, with two grown sons and the freedom that came with retirement two years ago, Rochelle realized that after caring for others for so long, it was time to care for herself. She shares, “when I retired, I thought, ‘you know what…I have this time now. I’m gonna start doing things for me.”
She was first turned on to hiking when she was working and her company hosted the two women who wrote, “It’s Not About the Hike,” about their journey from strangers to best friends who went from walking the sidewalks of Keene, NH to climbing the 100 highest mountains of New England. “That kind of got me thinking like, ‘Wow, what a great relationship, you know, to go for a walk in the woods with, a stranger or a friend, and how much they learned about each other,” says Rochelle.
So, it makes sense that when a women’s hiking group in Pittsburg was formed (including her best friend Dixie), and soon took on the Go North 9er Hiking Challenge, Rochelle wanted in. Except she could only join them when she was in the area, while the others lived there 24/7. Dixie had already climbed Brousseau and Averill without Rochelle, but like a good friend, she said to Rochelle, “I’ll do them again, so you can catch up.”
Rochelle jokes, “Dixie actually deserves two patches because she did extra hikes with me.”
So, the two best friends embarked on this journey together on August 17, 2021 by hiking Magalloway, and ended it together too when they completed Gore in October of this year, which almost didn’t happen.
“We said, ‘you know what, we’re done,’ says Rochelle. “Let’s just wait until next year.” They were tired, especially after climbing Sugarloaf, which was a difficult climb for them, plus Dixie was fighting a bad foot. They figured they’d wait until next spring or summer. But, then with the weather NH was experiencing this fall in all its unseasonably warm and sunny glory, they decided it was time to seal the deal on the 9er. “That ended up begin a nice walk in the woods,” says Rochelle about hiking Gore Mountain.
Over the course of their 9er experience, Rochelle and Dixie experienced steep climbs, easy walks in the woods, gorgeous views, lots of wildlife sightings, including a bobcat on Middle Mountain, a lot of laughs, and most importantly their valued time together as the best of friends. Check out the blog about Dixie for some stories.
Now that the 66-year-old has conquered the 9er challenge, Rochelle says, “I want to keep going!” In going through the Go North Guide, she’s found more hikes that she hasn’t done and wants to do. She is proud that at 66 years old, she can do these hikes and do them well, often better than women who are younger than she is. “You have to stay active. Just keep moving,” says Rochelle.
And when asked about her favorite moment of the journey, Rochelle shares, “I don’t know if it’s a particular moment or just being there with someone you love.”
But, then as she thought more, she recalled a beautiful moment. “I think we were on gore,” she says. “It was breezy, and the leaves were falling. And I said to Dixie, ‘stop…just stop’. And the leaves were falling like rain all around us. You could hear the breeze, you could hear the leaves falling, feel the breeze, and it was just so beautiful.”
Rochelle and Dixie’s Go North 9er Ratings Review
Trail Rating, 1-5 (1-hard, 5 easy)
View Rating, 1-5 (1-Meh, 5-Beautful)
Ready to start your own Go North 9er challenge? Visit HERE for more info.