On a 2 day backpacking trip across the Sugarloaf mountain range in an attempt to climb six 4k peaks – South Crocker, North Crocker, Reddington, Abraham, Spaulding, and Sugarloaf, I had so far bushwhacked six miles through unmarked woods. At last, I had broken through to the Appalachian Trail and was searching for the Spaulding Lean-To site where I would camp for the night. But, after hiking uphill in one direction for a long time on the AT, I was nearing the peak of Spaulding Mountain. We should have hit the lean-to by now. Where was it? … More Backpacking the Sugarloaf Range … PART TWO
Last weekend, I knocked six peaks off my Maine 4,000 footer list in a two-day backpacking trip. It was quite an unconventional loop in the Sugarloaf range, tackling (in order) South Crocker, North Crocker, Reddington, Abraham, Spaulding, and Sugarloaf with a major bushwhack in the middle. Though you may consider this loop, I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for the faint of heart. … More Backpacking the Sugarloaf Range … New Bushwhack and “Jail Trees” PART ONE
The White Mountains have officially opened up and I thought I’d get my hike on (practicing good social distancing and hiking conservatively, of course). Last weekend I hiked Mt. Waumbek on Saturday and Wildcat D on Sunday. These were both peaks I had hiked years ago and were my 2nd and 3rd repeats since completing the 4,000 footers. As I was hiking, I imagined young Katie on the trail ahead of me. … More Weekend in the Whites
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to hike for so long because I’ve been struggling with stress reactions in my shins from last ski season. Injuries are so frustrating when all you want to do is be on top of a mountain. Ugh! In the meantime, I’ve decided to recall a hike from last summer when I was forced to turn around and play it smart. … More Turning around on Jefferson
I don’t remember the first step I took onto my first 4,000 footer. I know I was eleven and that it was Mount Waumbek, but that’s only from pictures. I don’t remember what I was thinking, or if I even knew what a 4,000 footer was. I definitely didn’t know I would be finishing all 48 of them five years later. To be honest, I probably was just following the family, not knowing what I was hiking or where I was going. But, that first step began my journey of a thousand miles. That first step led to a major passion in my life. That first step was so very important. … More Looking back on my 4k footer journey… Where do I go from here?
You know how they say time flies? Well, it sure doesn’t fly during the course of a difficult hike. But, looking back on my five years of climbing New Hampshire’s 48, I have to say I can’t believe I finished. I’m still in disbelief about finally achieving the goal I have worked at since age 11. Finishing on the majestic Bonds was a fitting end to my epic journey. … More I made it! – Finishing my 48 on the Bonds
It may be May, but the White Mountains have a mind of themselves when it comes to seasons. From the time that I saw snow in the summer to my experiences navigating the independently functioning weather system of Franconia Notch, these mountains never seem to abide by the seasons. So, I was not surprised at all to find over three feet of snow layering the Tripyramids on this spring day in mid-May. … More it’s still winter in the mountains!
Perched on a wooden shelf in my house, the maps of the White Mountains lay wrinkled, their edges beginning to wear from years of reference. Lined up against each other, each map displays in detail different sections of the mountains. Before each hike, we always press the map we need out against the kitchen table, drawing our finger up and down the contour lines. We zip it into pack pockets, pull it out in front of the steering wheel, and occasionally at trail intersections. You see, the main goal of the maps is to orient yourself against established hiking trails. While the red lines are any map’s focal point and have even sparked the creation of “red liners,” hikers who strive to lay their bootprints across every trail, it’s often the terrain off the trail that seems to be the most compelling.
As I was planning out my path up to the peak of Owl’s Head, the red lines were little help. They led my finger in loops around the route that I wanted to take, and up an incredibly dangerous ice slide in the winter. The real and only way to ascend Owl’s Head in the winter is through a course of two bushwacks.
Although this hike was done in the beautiful, crisp, fall month of October, the foliage and gentle breeze on the summits were not as picturesque as one might’ve hoped. However, after having seen snowpacks, freezing temperatures, and beating sun in seasons they don’t belong in, I know that the White Mountains (especially Franconia Notch!) operates on its own weather system. My foggy peak views on top of both Mt. Liberty and Mt. Flume were perfect examples of a slim payoff for working extremely hard to haul myself up the sides of mountains. However, the unexpected adventure I experienced hiking these peaks was worth it! … More slipping down flume
The trees, spindly and thinned, were growing shorter and stubbier; and the amount of sun filtering onto the trail was increasing as the leaves divided. Any minute now we would be passing above into the alpine zone. I could feel the free, unregulated expanse of air nearing as we trekked towards it; as we climbed over mossy logs and rocks encased by tree-roots. At any time, it felt like, the shrubs and pines would part, and give way to the unpredictable yet incredible panoramic experience of swirling air, breathtaking views, and freedom; the experience of being above the treeline. … More Breaking 40 on Mount Eisenhower!