As the local kids return to school, as the parents celebrate and the businesses on Main Street prepare for the last hoo-rah of the summer, the mountains remain the same. Lincoln, NH sits at about 811 feet with surrounding peaks getting up into 5000ft. Mount Washington is the highest peak in New Hampshire sitting at 6288 feet, a number I’ve memorized since I was a little girl. I had the pleasure of hiking Mount Lafayette last week and there is absolutely nothing in this world like the Franconia Ridge.
Traversing the Franconia Ridge in Summer 2008
Having spent the past three years in North Tahoe hiking, climbing, and skiing the Sierras, a lot was learned living at 6200 ft but after three years in the alpine desert I was called back home by family and no income or sales tax. Can’t beat it. The White Mountains are also unbeatable. As I stopped in our local grocery store known as the "Price Hacker" by locals, I overheard two scraggly looking men discuss their thru-hike. “New Hampshire for the win, for sure” gloated one bearded young man to the next. If you don’t know what a thru hiker is, come hang out in town from May-September and see (and smell) the dozens of hikers who have made it this far walking from Georgia to Maine.
New Hampshire is no joke- unlike the Sierras or Rockies we have plenty of oxygen and flora/fauna at the bast of our mountains. Living at seas level rocks. Literally. Our Granite is some of the best Quartz and Feldspar concoctions I have ever seen. Thru hikers are notorious for quitting here once their knees hit the hard granite, reducing their average of 16 mile days to under 10. It’s intense. Not onlt is the granite extremely hard underfoot but some of the world’s worst weather in recorded in the here hills- Mount Washington has hit 231mph! Intense!! I was being blown around at 5269 ft last week and it couldn’t have been more than 70mph. That in addition to the low visibilty had us turning around after we summited rather than complete the 14 mile loop back to the car.
Hiking in our Alpine Zone is also no joke. You better be wearing a hearty pair of boots and have an alpine shell with you if you plan on traversing. The best part about being over 5000 ft on the ridge is the AMC huts- the Appalachian Mountain Club is an organization my family has supported since I came out of the womb hiking. The huts are super fun and strategically placed to help hikers in inclement weather and offer bunk beds, mountain dining and educational skits for they’re paying guests. It’s worth it! Many hut stays need to be booked 6-12 months in advance because there are a limited number of beds. Go check it out for yourself and book a reservation here to learn about these wind, solar, and water powered structures above treeline!
As we move in to Autumn, don’t forget hearty layers. And as Jack Johnson says, “it’s always better when we’re together” bring your friends and family up to North Country for a mountain adventure and create everlasting memories in the White Mountains of NH.
Hiker Log from Greenleaf Hut on 8/28/16 "There and Back Again"