Weekend in the Whites

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

Beginning the Maine 4,000 Footers With Old Speck – including my GoPro Edit!

New Hampshire 4,000 footers? Check. Maine 4,000 footers? Officially in progress.

I just hiked my very first Maine 4,000 footer, Old Speck, and felt elated to be on top of a new peak again. I had a beautiful bluebird sunny day for the Saturday hike and the temperature was in the 50s. But, don’t be fooled by the nice weather. There’s still a 4 foot snow pack in the high elevations! And, thank god for microspikes!
*Read to the end to see my GoPro edit of this hike!* … More Beginning the Maine 4,000 Footers With Old Speck – including my GoPro Edit!

Sharing my Passion

Since large destination hikes are discouraged during this quarantine period, I’ve spent some time reflecting while I’m at home doing my part to flatten the curve. What keeps coming up in my mind is a really fulfilling hiking-related experience I had in the fall. I had wanted to write about it in the fall, but I was very busy with schoolwork and then ski season started up. But now that I’ve had time to think and write, I’d like to share it here! … More Sharing my Passion

Looking back on my 4k footer journey… Where do I go from here?

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?

I made it! – Finishing my 48 on the Bonds

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’s still winter in the mountains!

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!

appreciating watermelon and the woods

My cousin just signed up for a week of hiking and rock climbing in Utah and listening to his enthusiasm brought me back to my adventure memories from last summer with Outward Bound. From sleeping under a floor-less tarp, to powdering our trench feet, to catching eddies on the white water, my nine days in the wilderness were, well… it’s hard to even come up with a word to capture it all! This January, I received in the mail the letter I had written to myself during my solo (when I opened it, clumps of dirt and a folded leaf the length or my forearm fell out all over my bed), and it really made me think and look back upon my experiences. I wrote this piece about Outward Bound and I wanted to share it, so, here goes! … More appreciating watermelon and the woods

winter hiking; should you try it?

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?

off trail on owl’s head

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.

More off trail on owl’s head