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.
Garfield Trail is the perfect trail and the Mount Garfield is the perfect mountain. Water is abundant thanks to all the rain the last few days. The trail is medium difficult the entire way so I sweated but not that much. The views from the top are magnificent.
All the hikers on the trail were kind and interesting. One woman at the top finished her 48 peaks today! So impressed. One of her hiking mates was on her second round, hiking #19 today. All dogs were friendly and CUTE! I had great conversations with a few people about 4,000 footers and hiking buddies.
The last .2 miles to the top were pretty icy and a bit scary so it’s time to buy some spikes and start carrying them with me for every hike now.
Coming back down the icy .2 miles, I have to say, it was nice being behind 10 people as they slowly descended; I felt safe from falling. Winnie did great on the ice although most the time I couldn’t watch the path she took.
I’m excited to finished #44 of the 48 4,000 footers in New Hampshire.
Now all that is left is Hancock North, Cabot, Waumbek and Owl’s Head. Hancock I can do in a few hours, and Cabot/Waumbek I’ll finish next weekend. I’m still hoping to do Owl’s Head with Cheryl before the end of the month. I’m guessing Owl’s Head will be the last, and the most dreaded but still hopeful it will surprise me and be wonderful.
Saturday’s hike was epic. North Twin 4,761, 8.6 miles round trip during peak New Hampshire foliage.
4,000 footer #2 for Winnie and #43 for me!
We had to cross the Little River six times.
After slipping on a rock half way through the first crossing I decided for safety I would just walk through the water and not worry about rock hopping. My Injinji socks and Pearl Izumi trail shoes quickly dried enough to not give me blisters.
The fall foliage was beautiful and the lighting just right:
We saw a few dogs and about 20 people total which isn’t much considering the drive past Lafayette trailhead with cars parked for miles on I-93. I can’t image hiking Lafayette with all those people. One family hiked North Twin with children who looked 5-years-old – amazing! So many smaller groups that loved Winnie and petted her.
She’s getting less scared of people on the trail which is nice.
A great day to be on the trail. I had great conversations with hikers about hiking the 4,000 footers and other trails.
Then after driving home I met my mom to see to movie, A Star is Born.
On Saturday Winnie and I hiked to the top of Mount Sunapee. The trail was pretty wet and muddy from all the rain. The streams were flowing and Winnie had fun playing in both water and mud.
We saw a lot of people on the trail and Winnie swam in Lake Solitude. Winnie was beat for the rest of the day. Unfortunately I wouldn’t be taking her to the hike scheduled for Sunday: Flume.
I hiked the Liberty Spring Trail to the Franconia Ridge Trail. The trail passed over Liberty and then I reached Mount Flume in 2 hours 30 minutes. I saw a few hikers on the trail going up and about 10 trail runners coming down. I hoped that I would be running down, too.
I tried to run as much as I could but the trail was 75% rock with large roots thrown in for good measure. Once I passed Liberty Spring tent sites I could hear the wind and it got pretty cold. I put on a warmer jacket and a beanie. I didn’t realize that the Franconia Ridge Trail is an exposed ridge only on the northern section that is closer to Lincoln and Lafayette. This part of the ridge was wooded and smelled of pine.
The summit rocks of Liberty took my breath away when I saw it for the first time.
The rock pile seems to rise out of the ground and trees. According to my AMC White Mountain Guide Twenty-fourth edition I hiked Liberty in 1988 and 1991 but don’t remember. I did note that on the 1991 trip I took the same trail starting on the Whitehouse trail. I’m so glad I kept that book over the years. I knew I’d be back to finish all the 4,000 footers.
About 15 people took pictures and hung out on the summit of Liberty. I don’t stop and continued hiking south to Flume; I passed about 10 people headed to Liberty.
Since my PI trail shoes were still soaked from yesterday’s hike in the mud at Sunapee I wore my new, not-yet-worn Altra trail running shoes. It was a risk to wear them on this important bag-a-4,000-peak hike but they turned out to be perfect. They got a bit beat up on the rocks and roots, and managed to stay comfortable the entire time.
I did like the Liberty Springs Trail despite feeling like I walked up stairs for miles on end. As my thoughts started to wander through the sometimes monotonous terrain, I thought about the Grid and wondered if I might try to do it: hike all 4,000 footers in every month.
Sunday’s Total mileage: just about 10 miles round trip. I’m pretty beat and not sure I’d want to do that hike in every month, but I’ve been thinking about winter hiking and with the right instruction I might give it a try.
Now I’m down to six remaining 4,000 footers: N. Hancock, Waumbek, Cabot, Garfield, N. Twin and Owl’s Head. My plan is to finish them by the end of October. November is too risky with the potential of ice and snow on the trails. I’m hoping that Winnie will hike Waumbek, Cabot, Garfield and N. Twin; the other two are too rocky and long.
Foliage Update: The leaves in northern New Hampshire are just about starting to turn. Next weekend they will be at their peak colors.