Most people hang up their hiking boots at first snowfall, but the truth is, hiking is a four-season sport. In fact, many hikers favor hiking in winter because of the way the snow covers all the crevasses and bumps in the rocks. Personally, I prefer winter hiking if the path is packed down and I can use my microspikes, but I am not a fan of breaking trail in snowshoes. My current hiking goal is to complete all 48 4,000 footers, but some hikers attempt to complete the peaks in each of the four seasons, or even go as far as to complete the “grid,” hiking each peak in every month of the year! Whether you’re working to complete these multi-season goals, love the winter weather, or just trying something different from what you’re used to, there are many new safety components to consider when hiking in the winter … More winter hiking; should you try it?
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!
Mt. Cabot is not a popular mountain. It’s so far north in New Hampshire that the drive is an extra hour or two and the trailhead is hard to get to. From my experience on the trail, I could tell it was the road less traveled. But, as I’ve learned, that can make all the difference. … More A Hike in the Northern Woods
Eight miles sounds like a short hike for a 4,000-footer. It sounds like a fast-paced bound up and around the ridge. A peak grab. An in-and-out.
What it does not sound like is heaving yourself over boulders, scrambling through ice caves, running out of breath. Eight miles does not sound like New Hampshire’s second highest peak. Yet it is. … More An Unexpected Slowpoke
They don’t call it Mt. Isolation because it’s easy to get to. By the time you’re at the peak, you’re at least six miles from civilization in all directions, surrounded by the towering Presidential Mountain Range, and well, covered in dirt. At only 4,004 feet, it’s the second shortest 4,000 footer, but by taking the Glen Boulder Trail, I had to hike up over a 5,000+ foot ridge that leads to Mt. Washington and other Presidential mountains, then descend to the peak. I have to admit; it feels a little weird to work so hard to get over 5,000 feet, only to drop 1,000 feet to actually summit. There are two ways up Mt. Isolation; a longer but steadier direct route, or a steeper, wilder, rocky route chock full of peaks and valleys. My dad and I went with the latter. … More Venturing Above Treeline
Mt. Zealand. 4,260 feet. 11 miles. My 35th 4,000-footer. Wait- did I say 11 miles? I meant to say 16.5, which is a pretty big difference considering a hiking mile is often rocky, steep, technical, and fairly difficult as you are lugging pounds of your food and water. So I was pretty shocked too when my 11-mile hike spiked to a 16.5-mile trek. … More Zealand on Zealand
Hiking has always inspired me on many levels. I think just being outside with the fresh smell of Earth frees my imagination. Or maybe it’s just all that time I get to spend in my own mind on a hike. This piece I wrote about hiking with my dad received a national gold medal from https://www.artandwriting.org. … More In His Eyes; My Dad and Hiking
For my first blog post, I’ve thought and thought about why I like to hike. Why I lug myself up and over mountains, even when my body feels like it’s swimming with a weight vest. Why do I keep coming back for more, excited and ready to summit again?
It’s illogical. Why would I walk when I can drive? Why would I camp when I can sleep in a bed? Why would I push my limits to gain altitude? … … More 48 Summits and Me