I’ve managed to keep the 24th edition of the AMC White Mountain Guide in good shape over the years (even though I did buy the newest edition). I recorded my first hike in this guide. I visited the White Mountains for the first time in May 1988. I hiked Lafayette and Lincoln with my boyfriend and his family just before high school graduation.
I caught the hiking bug from that hike and have Nathan to thank for that. Hiking and peak bagging kept me sane in my early 20s when I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I had no goals and no career aspirations. So I hiked the 4,000 footers in NH for a sense of accomplishment.
Every weekend I would head north from Portsmouth and hike, checking off each mountain. I got to a point where I had about 10 or 12 peaks and suddenly I found my career path. In 1999 I moved to the mountains full-time and stopped hiking 4,000 footers. Even after moving to Colorado I didn’t hike the big mountains, (14ers) but choose the mountains in the wilderness around Grand County to hike and explore with my dogs.
I knew I’d be back in New Hampshire to finish the list. Once I got here it took about a year to settle in and get back to my mountains.
I hope to finish the remaining peaks this month and start the list again. It’s been too many years and I need a fresh perspective of these beautiful, challenging mountains; and I need to hike Mount Washington and the Presidential Range again. I can’t wait to start again.
Today I hiked to South Hancock and checked off number 40 of the 48 4,000 footers in NH. I thought it was 41 but I miscounted the number of peaks left. I didn’t hike the loop trail that would have given me 40 and 41 because the last half mile to the peak did me in. It was so steep and it was so humid and I was short on time.
I’m glad we turned around yesterday on the trail because the loop trail close to the summit is no place for a dog. Maybe after more practice. The Hancock Loop trail is spectacular and as I’m building up my hiking legs I’m hoping to finish the remaining peaks this year.
I met an interesting woman on the trail today, Jill. She is what is called a Grid hiker, someone who climbs every 4,000 footer in each month of the year. She is 58 years old and hikes primarily by herself although she does have two male friends also Grid hikers who sometime join her when they need to check one off. One of her friends hiked Waumbek today and she didn’t need it for September so she did North and South Hancock. She said she tries to find different trails to each peak. I thought it would be interesting to really get to know one trail, hiking it 12 times, but she liked the variety of different trails.