Oct
27
2016
0

A Look Back at Our NH48 Journey

We did it! We completed all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000-footers. With this goal done, I thought I’d give a review of our journey from start to end.

5 years, 1 month, 25 days
That’s the amount of time it took for us to complete the NH48. The first was Mount Washington on July 23, 2011 and the last one was Wildcat Mountain, A Peak on September 17, 2016.

016

Mount Washington

img_1175

Wildcat, A Peak

A breakdown of how many mountains we hiked each year:

  • 2011 = 1
  • 2012 = 1
  • 2013 = 11
  • 2014 = 5
  • 2015 = 23
  • 2016 = 7

We didn’t initially set out to complete the NH48.

Our first goal (and one that has yet to be completed) was to hike all the highest natural points in the United States. We began highpointing in college and continued sporadically post-graduation. Mount Washington was our first 4,000-footer but it was hiked with the intention of checking it off the highpoint list. We slowed down as the combination of mountains being located further away and full-time jobs took our attention. We decided that we should focus closer to home and came up with our second goal of completing the NH48.

We failed to hike/summit four times.

I’m going to officially say it was four as we did set foot on the trails leading up to the mountains but there were a few times in the beginning of our journey where we drove, encountered torrential downpours, and didn’t want to hike in such weather, or simply wanted to sleep in.

The hikes we failed to complete the first time around but eventually got to were:

  • Mount Passaconaway
  • Wildcat Mountain, D Peak
  • Mount Cabot (failed twice)
009

A photo from our failed Passaconaway hike.

We’ve had one family member, eight friends, and three dogs join us on our hikes.

The one family member, Chris’ father, is no stranger to the White Mountains and has hiked many of the 4,000 footers himself. One friend completed the Appalachian Trail a few years back. However, many of our friends have never hiked the White Mountains before so what better way to hang out with them and pop their White Mountain’s cherry than to invite them on a hike? Plus, we told them that was the only way they could hang out with us during the summers.

Abby joined us on a few NH48 hikes.

IMG_1115

Father and son hanging out near the Carters.

003

Kim and I on Mount Hale.

IMG_0991

Molly with us on Mount Garfield.

IMG_1012

The UMass gang on Mount Moriah.

IMG_1157

The boys on Mount Monroe.

Milo hasn’t completed the NH48.

Though Milo has been on a majority of the NH48 hikes with us, he is still eight shy. Why? He didn’t come into our lives until 2012 and we waited until he fully developed before we brought him in tow. Add to that times where he had hot spots or wounded pads where we didn’t want them to get worse or infected. And, a hike or two where we thought it would be teeming with dogs – we like to sometimes say that Milo has a Napoleon complex.

IMG_1001

One of the many naps Milo took on our hikes.

We’ve camped 9 times.

We only camped when it made sense for mileage and peak bagging. Other than that, it was the good old routine of waking up at the crack of dawn, driving the 2 – 3 hours to the Whites, hiking for the day, and driving the 2 – 3 hours home.

2015-07-25 20.16.25

Camping it out on our Garfield/Galehead hike.

There were two night hikes.

There were two times where we didn’t complete the hikes in the expected time. The first, Mount Jefferson and Mount Adams, had tough terrain. The second, Owl’s Head, well…enough said on that one.

IMG_1096

A photo from our Jefferson-Adams day turned night hike.

Our favorite hike is…

My favorite hike is Mount Moosilauke. It was a difficult hike as the Beaver Brook Trail is steep but it was great hiking next to the Beaver Brooke Cascades.

001

Trying not to get blown away on Moosilauke.

Chris’ favorite hike is Mount Lafayette and Mount Lincoln as it includes the Franconia Ridge Trail (also part of the Appalachian Trail) which has great 360-degree views of the surrounding White Mountains.

img_1065

Look at that Franconia Ridge Trail.

Our least favorite hike is…

Owl’s Head. Honestly, I think it’s about 99% of everyone’s least favorite hike for those who are accomplishing the NH48. It’s just a long hike for a view-less summit. Many times it’s not included in the Flags over the 48 on 9/11. Chris jokes that it should be called Flags over the 47 because of that.

img_1161

Don’t let this smile fool you. Behind it lies disappointment in a lack of summit view.

What’s next?

There are a lot goals on our ever growing list. There’s still our first, the 50 U.S. highpoints, which I foresee will take us years to finish. Ideally, our next goals would be to round out the NH48 by completing the New England 4,000-footers, or attempting the Adirondack 46ers, or Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway. Who knows where the adventure will take us next but I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

signature_sm

Written by ettran in: NH48,White Mountains | Tags: , ,
Jul
22
2016
0

The Last Presidential: Mount Monroe

When you think of hiking the last presidential in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, you might think Mount Washington. It is the tallest and most well-known of the bunch. However, for this post and hike, the last presidential for this lady means Mount Monroe.

Mount Monroe, at an elevation of 5,384 feet, is the fourth highest mountain of the 4,000-footers of New Hampshire. It is in the Presidential Range, located just ¼ mile down the road from the Mount Washington Cog Railway. It is probably one of the few hikes where you hike parallel to water almost the entire way.

This hike would be with the usual suspects plus a friend, PJ. The day started off early with a 3-hour drive from Boston to the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail parking area located off of Base Station Road in Bretton Woods, NH. It rained most of the drive but cleared up once we hit the parking lot. The cloud cover remained which meant the heat we were expecting had yet to arrive. There was a National Forest Service pop-up tent with a ranger letting people know of what to expect on the day’s hike including the chance of thunderstorms. He even had a pop quiz! What do you do if one hits? Immediately return below the tree line, don’t lie down among the open rock above tree line, and stay flat on the soles of your feet.

With the appropriate gear packed and parking paid, we headed off on the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail. The first 1.5 miles is fairly flat but rocky and with the previous day’s rain, it was muddy and slippery. The flat hike wouldn’t last long. Soon after, we hit very steep, rocky terrain. This would last for another 1.6 miles. Much of it laden with rock steps but a good portion, as you near the summit, just sheer rock which requires some skill, balance, and the occasional scramble. We weren’t the only ones feeling the steepness of the trail. There were a good amount of people on the trail, in both directions many returning home from a stop off at the Lakes of the Clouds Hut the previous night, who were taking breaks every so often. At this point, Chris, PJ, and Milo were a good 10-15 minutes ahead of me. [If you’ve read my previous posts, I like to take it nice and steady.] Once I hit the Forest Protection Area sign, it seemed like a long ¼ mile to the Lakes of the Clouds Hut. I was relieved once I saw the hut and went around to meet the boys sitting on the bench. We sat there, catching our breath and took in the gorgeous day. Some of the hikers we passed eventually made it up, with many continuing on to Mount Washington (only 1.8 miles from the Hut). We even encountered an Appalachian Trail hiker named Sir Eats-a-Lot who had been on the trail since March.

After our break, we followed the Crawford Path for 0.1 miles to the Mount Monroe Loop. From there, the summit is only 0.3 miles away. This part was the easy part as the trail was a gradual grade and fairly dry as it was an open summit. Once at the summit, we were only the second group to stick around. There were a pair of men who crept past me but continued on to Mount Eisenhower. The other man on the summit was an older gentleman who seemed to have been there awhile with lots of camera equipment taking in the views. We found a nook just below the summit and made ourselves at home, eating lunch and enjoying the view towards Mt Washington. It definitely was a hot day now as the cloud cover had burnt off at this point and the sun beat down on us.

IMG_1156

Family photo on Mount Monroe.

We decided to head down after 30 minutes or so. Good thing too as it started sprinkling and eventually down pouring as we descended Monroe. It was a treacherous descent with so many now soaked rock slabs to maneuver. I did a fair amount of butt sliding and we all took it slow. I was surprised at how many people were still making the trek up! We told them all to be careful as the rain seemed like it wouldn’t let up. I had Milo with me and it definitely didn’t help me as he did not like Chris and PJ leaving him behind with my slow self. The rain eventually let up and the rest of the hike was a bit better with more mud to contend with.

IMG_1157

The boys.

From start to end, hiking Mount Monroe is 7-miles roundtrip. It took us about 6.5 hours and could’ve been shorter had it not been for the rain and slippery rocks. It’s certainly a good day hike and could be made longer to include Mount Washington or Mount Eisenhower as many others were doing it. 44 down, 4 to go!

32px-Black_Paw.svgA Dog’s Walk:
Mount Monroe is a moderate to difficult hike. The first 1.5 miles on Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail is fairly easy, flat and rocky while the rest of the hike (1.6 miles) is a bit more difficult with plenty of rock stair climbing and scrambling to contend with. The last 0.3 miles to Mount Monroe’s summit is an easy ascent. Overall, just your typical New England trail conditions. It is a short strenuous hike for humans and dogs alike, maybe slightly easier for your four-legged friend as they have the advantage of four legs. Milo had no trouble with the trail and didn’t look like he was tired after a full day’s hike. Remember to check your dog’s paws and keep them hydrated (water runs along the majority of the trail) on these hot summer hikes!

signature_sm

 

© Elizabeth Tran 2011-2017