On December 28th 2015, I hit the road with plans to hike Mt. Moriah for #47 in my quest to hike all of New Hampshire’s 48 peaks over 4000 feet. Gung-ho and amped up I got my pack and clothing ready the night before. The forecast was finally getting wintery and looked to be around 10F degrees all day long with a chance of snow! As with most of my hiking endeavors I’d be making this trip alone.
This trip was supposed to make for a relatively easy day for me… I had no idea what I was in for.
As a last minute decision on Saturday November 14th I decided to go for Cannon Mountain. This would make #46 in my quest to complete all 48 4000+ footers in New Hampshire. After doing a little research it appeared this would be a relatively short trip. So I decided to spice it up a bit and add some mileage since my car ride is 4 hours round trip… I hate to drive more than I’m hiking!I had been talking with a new friend, Nate who decided he’d like to join in. Our plan was to head up Cannon first, then over the Cannon Balls to North and South Kinsman. Then descend back down past Lonesome Lake creating a large 13+ mile loop with a little under 5000 feet in elevation gain. We’d summit three “official” 4000+ footers and North East Cannon Ball which is part of New England’s 100 Highest list! These notoriously rugged trails would surely provide a burly long day hike!
Owls Head, located in the heart of the Pemigewasset Wilderness is a remote peak standing 4,025′ in elevation. Due to Owl’s Head 4,000+ stature it makes the cut and joins the “New Hampshire 4000 footer” list. This mountain has a bad reputation due to it’s extremely long approach, higher than average mileage, steep rock slide climb, and difficult (at the wrong time) water crossings. Owl’s Head (right) viewed from Mt. GarfieldI set out with my buddy Conan (he’s a dog)… with slight hesitation. Conan is spooked by some larger water crossings and I had no idea how steep the “slide” portion of the trail would actually be. He’s a tough dog and has completed some very difficult hikes with me, so I figured we’d go for it.
On Sunday October, 18th I had plans to hike the Wildcats with a couple of friends. However, timing was bad for them and they couldn’t make it. The forecast looked “winter like” and exciting so I decided to keep the plan and head out solo.The Wildcats are a cluster of mountains tied into the Carter-Moriah range of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. There are 5 Wildcat peaks with the super unoriginal names of A,B,C,D, and E. Only two of these peaks, A and D count as “4000 Footers” due to the low prominence differences between the others. Wildcat A stands 4,422 feet tall, and D just below that at 4,070 feet.
With cooler days in New England becoming more common. The sun going down earlier and earlier with each passing day. I decided I needed to squeeze in another long trail run / hike in the whites before the seasons change. Having just completed a Presidential Traverse in July… I wanted to push myself harder than before. This brought me to the Pemigewasset Loop AKA the Pemi Loop!
Lucky me, I got July 3rd, 2015 off of work as my “observed holiday”. What better way to spend a free day off than in the Presidential Range of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. I didn’t decide on this until 48 hours before my intended start time. Initially worried that the “July 4th crowds” would ruin the experience… I decided to just go for it. The plan? a single day solo Presidential Traverse!
March 15th, 2015 – Today I hiked North and South Hancock. These two peaks make #24 and #25 on my New Hampshire 48 4000 footers list! Finally past the half way point. Having once turned around and bailed out on this exact same trip before… I was eager to scratch these two off my list at last.I woke up at 4AM to get a head start on the day. Packed my gear, food, water and hit the road. It was raining and about 37 degrees in Massachusetts not a great indication of what weather would look like up north. As I got closer to the Kancamagus Highway exit on 93 North the temperatures plummeted into the high 20’s and ice had formed on most roads. I arrived at the “Hairpin Turn” outlook parking area at around 7:15 AM. I took a stroll over some of the nearby packed snow in bare boots to get a feel for what the trail would be like. It had been packed down by hikers but had about 2″ of fresh powder on top of it.
August 2011 – With great success comes great failure. I figured a post like this might help some of the newcomers to the hobby or give the experienced folks a good laugh.This is a story about my friends Jon, Dan and myself back in 2011. This was a time when I had no idea what hiking or backpacking really involved. We all decided we wanted to take on a new challenge and hike a 4000 footer in New Hampshire. It was August and the weather looked good. We googled a bit and tried to find the most “remote” peak to do an overnight backpacking trip. We all went on Amazon and visited REI stores several times to build our arsenal of packs and gear. On August 27th, 2011 we embarked on our maiden voyage.
Feb 7,2015 – Today we headed up Mt. Garfield. Located in the southern range of the Pemigewasset Wilderness adjacent to Franconia Ridge. I had the company of a friend that I made during an AMC Winter Hiking Course that I attended in the fall. More on that in another post.The night before it had snowed heavily in the whites, there was A LOT of fresh snow so snowshoes were a mandatory item. The original plan was to do a big loop and tie in Mt. Galehead as well. This would lead to a 16 mile traverse of both mountains and returning via a cumbersome road walk. However our plans would soon change.
March 1st, 2015 – The weather was cooperating so I took the opportunity to go for it…. Mount Washington. Standing at 6,289 feet it is the highest point in the north east. 24th most prominent summit in the lower 48. It’s the home of the “worlds worst weather” and highest ever recorded wind speed of 231 MPH. Some scary stats despite its relatively short stature. Many hikers have lost their lives on this mountain and its neighbors the Presidentials including Kate Matrosova just 2 weeks ago.I wanted to hike this mountain from the Lions Head / Eastern side as I’ve heard it gives you a truer “mountaineering experience” and it did not disappoint!