Things have truly been hectic at church. However, I am enjoying looking back at old hikes as I plan new ones for the future. Truthfully, the way things are going it may be a while before I head up north again. Of course, the mountains will be there...and I will bring snowshoes!
As with the previous hikes, some of these hikes have longer posts, which I have linked in the descriptions...
Mount Cabot #26
We combined this hike with a trip along the ridge to The Bulge and The Horn. The Horn resides on the 52 With-A-View (52WAV) list, but there was no view to be had. By that time the clouds had rolled in and the rest of the hike veered between misty and rainy. We did have this one good view heading up. The longer post tells the tale.
Monroe and Washington #27 & #28
This trip combined one of my favorite mountains--Monroe--with one of my least favorite...Washington. This has nothing to do with the relative ease of the climb. Honestly, while Washington is indeed the tallest. It isn't much taller than its neighbors. All the Presidents are big piles of slag. The longer post tells a bit about why I would climb Monroe again...and just look at Washington from there. This trip helped me refine what I like and don't like about hiking.
Carter Dome #29
This hike was tough! There isn't much more to say that isn't in the longer post. That said, I would do it again. I might decide to climb up the Rainbow Trail, however as it became one of my favorites. The longer post has the details.
Middle Carter and South Carter #30 & #31
We climbed this one on a day where it was fall at the bottom and winter at the top! What a great trip. If you are planning a hike on a three day weekend in the fall in NH, this may be the right one for you. All the tourists are heading to the Presidential and Franconia ranges. Do both yourself and the folks at Search and Rescue a favor and climb the Carters. They are plenty.
Madison and Adams #32 & #33
This was the hardest hike we did in the Whites. I have tried to write about it before but just haven't been able to grasp its weight. Adams is the second tallest mountain on the 48 list and Madison is the fifth tallest. For comparison, Washington is first, Jefferson is third, and Monroe is fourth. All of these are pretty much the same height if you are climbing them. They all hurt, too.
What I do remember is a massive amount of exertion. I had been climbing every day that week--mostly 52WAV mountains--so I was in good shape, but also a bit tired. That said it was beautiful and I enjoyed the time spent in nature with my brother Dan and my wife Allison. I would do this again, but only climb one peak per trip.
A few things happened on this hike that are worth mentioning. First, we were given stern warning at the base of the trail. This is an unreasonably difficult hike for its level of popularity. The rangers know this and want to make sure that the people going up know what they are doing. After that we encountered an entire dog-and-pony show of an influencer, her friends, and some poor guy who actually had to take the pictures. I think they thought we should know who they were...but we were too old. They were a bit much, so we got ahead of them as quickly as possible at one of their many stops.
Finally, on the way down the mountain we passed a number of people who should have listened more closely to the rangers. They were struggling mightily. It was a good reminder that sometimes we think more highly of our abilities than we should. Humility is a must in the White Mountains.
Lincoln and Lafayette #34 & #35
Mount Monadnock--on the 52 WAV list--may be the second most climbed mountain in the world (after Mt. Fuji) but I have to say that these two peaks have to be up there as well. They bookend a fabulous section of Franconia Ridge that features breathtaking views all around. As with Mount Washington, though, I found it too crowded for my taste. This may be why I did not write a longer post for this hike. I am glad I did it. However, there are mountains I would rather climb.
The climb up Lincoln was typical New England. There we very few switchbacks, just a steep incline that got steeper with time. The hike goes over Little Haystack--"little" is a misnomer--then up to Lincoln. The views were indeed spectacular and there were certainly plenty of folks to share them with. Then came the walk across the ridge to Lafayette, hitting a couple smaller peaks on the way. The way down was less direct than the way up, presenting a number of different views forward and back before finally dipping into the trees. I think if I could have found a day just as pleasant with fewer people I would have been more into it. However, I don't think such a day exists.
So right after putting down what is many people's favorite hike, I want to share my favorite with you. At least this was my favorite hike on the NH 48 list! I did run into some horrific weather and almost slid right off the peak. I would do it again, though. After Jackson I went over to Mount Webster (another 52WAV). I would love to replicate this whole day sometime. The longer post here covers it, I think.
HIKED ON 6/19/23 and 6/20/23
Really, in a perfect world this would be our final hike of the NH 48 4,000 Footer list. That isn't how it worked out. However, it was beautiful. It was also the last of my hiking videos before life got in the way. That and recording got in the way of hiking (sigh). So, I am mostly just embedding that video here. It should be noted that we crossed of Mount Zealand for the second time and experienced the revelation of beautiful Mount Guyot, which isn't on anybody's list. It may be my favorite mountain. It took quite a bit of effort to get there but the reward was great.
So here is the second group of hikes for my New Hampshire 48 4,000 footers. As I mentioned in the first installment, I started the project before I should have. These hikes, however, mark the transition from rehab to hobby. I was getting stronger. I also was climbing many other mountains when I could. I took every opportunity I could get to head out on the trail in Massachusetts. Also, I would run up to New Hampshire or Maine to climb smaller things when time would allow. Many of those hikes are documented here in Sabbath Walks. Perhaps this information will help explain the growing gaps between 48ers.
It also indicates something of my hiking style. Most of my other hikes were solo endeavors. On the 48 list, however, I usually had at least one companion. The mix worked out well, I think.
As with last time I have linked to longer posts on specific hikes when possible and wrote a bit longer where I don't have any other supporting material. I couldn't always find the time to write, after all. Life has a way of being lived...
Osceola and East Osceola #11 & #12
(October 4, 2021)
I really loved this hike. My brother Dan joined me, which gave the whole thing the feel of a family reunion in the wake of Covid. I also wiped out and broke a pole by landing on it. The long post has the deets.
Zealand #13 (October 7, 2021)
Video (ZBonds Traverse)
This has to be among my favorite hikes. I have hiked it once since--the video link tells the story--but I can see myself heading up to the cliffs in the future just to take in the view. It was one of the first climbs I enjoyed for itself. The process of rehab was far enough along to drift into the background a bit.
Flume #14 (November 11, 2021)
I have no real documentary evidence of this hike up Osseo trail. This is strange as I really loved it. The climb was relatively gentle. Allison and I spent time at the top eating snacks and watching the world go by. On the way down we encountered the honor guard with an enormous American flag. Flags on the 48 usually has events on September 11. That year someone was doing something on November 11, too. They looked tired but determined to get to the top in time!
Osseo Trail is the "easy" way up. There is also a slide. The thing about slides is that you get a fabulous and continuous view while raising the difficulty level a few notches. I was in no shape for Flume Slide and the hike was so pretty I would probably do it the same way again.
North Kinsman #15 (December 4, 2021)
The long post here actually records our second summit, which included South Kinsman. We failed to get to that mountain the first time. We started later than Al and I usually do and there wasn't really the time to make it out and back before dark. After hitting the peak of North, we decided to turn around. Hikers often remind ourselves that getting to the top is optional and getting back to the car is mandatory. Still...it was frustrating. The good news, though, is that the mountains don't go anywhere.
Liberty #16 (January 16, 2022)
It was dangerously cold that day. We got up early and I had trouble moderating my heat. That said, the hike was beautiful. There were some folks using the mountain as a massive sled run--buttsliding--which is controversial. However, after everything ices over it may be the only way down. This was my favorite hike of the winter. The long post explains it pretty well.
North and South Hancock #17 & #18
(February 11, 2022)
Here is another hike without any documentation. In this case I know why. I was so depressed about the steep climb and the deep snow. A quick butt-slide off South Hancock cheered me up but...still...
Also, we did this one morning during our annual church ski retreat. We probably weren't as well-rested as we could have been.
Now I enjoy winter hiking and did quite a bit of it this past winter (2023). However, I like to keep my hikes a bit more manageable so I can enjoy the views and the weather while also getting home and warm. Those hikes can be found in other sections--and in the Tecumseh video--as the shorter, more local hikes in the snow fit the bill for me. Allison reminds me that the Hancocks are supposed to be easier in winter because the trail conditions aren't so great the rest of the year. Whatever...
South Kinsman #19 (May 7, 2022)
This is the same long post as North Kinsman. I loved this second hike with South being one of my favorites. There was no sadness or defeat this time. We took the same route over North and then on from where we turned around before.
Moriah #20 (May 14, 2022)
Man were we tired during this hike. Also, there was snow in places and the tiny peak was packed! I still remember it very fondly even though we had forgotten our "means to treat" and ran out of water before reaching the car. We will never do that again. The long post only reflects some of the desperation.
Passaconaway #21 (June 18, 2022)
This hike was made during one of those strange mountain storms that exist above 3,000 feet. We had actually decided on Passaconaway as a back-up hike instead of something taller. I am glad we did. There was a fatality not far from us that day. The lesson--much as with our first attempt up South Kinsman--is to respect the mountain.
Whiteface #22 (July 10, 2022)
In some ways the Passaconaway hike was like the Kinsmans. At one point we had thought of doing both during the storm and even strolled out a short way toward Whiteface in the storm. Instead, we turned around and took it the next week, walking back to just below the peak of Passaconaway. It wasn't as depressing, however, because we were learning to be in touch with ourselves and with what was going on around us. Our reward was a fabulous day described in the long post.
North and South Twin #23 & #24 (July 16, 2022)
I loved this hike. It made up for the strain of some of the earlier ones and reminded me to take time looking at the nature around the trail instead of just the views. that said, there were plenty of views from both peaks with South Twin performing brilliantly. I would climb South again by a different route instead of an out-and-back over North. North Twin was fine, but not as brilliant. Also, the weird small rocks on the trail made footing a bit painful at the end of the day.
Jefferson #25 (July 23, 2022)
This was a big deal of a hike for us. It was the first we did in the Presidentials! It is still my favorite mountain on that ridge. The long post covers it well. This was our final hike before taking time to hike the Great Glen Way in Scotland. The Highlands had something to live up to...
I have been out and about lately, as some of you know. Church is hopping. There have been crises large and small to deal with. Life just gets ahead of me sometimes, as it does for everyone. That said, I have also been hiking! This week, in fact, I made my way up Pamola Peak, down the Chimney, over South Peak along the Knife Edge, and on to Baxter Peak all on Mount Katahdin. I hope to post about that at some point. Many things went wrong but...the Knife Edge was a bucket list item for me.
In my few spare moments, though, I have been filling out my application for the NH48 4,000 Footers Club. Yes, there is an application process to join. Obviously one can hike all the mountains, become a "48er" and never make it "official". That said, I think it would be fun. There is a dinner at some point...and a patch. Also, it is an accomplishment with a set beginning and a set ending. In a life and job where one thing just flows into another as Sundays and seasons roll right along, there is comfort that in this, at least, there is a piece of paper in a file somewhere that said I did a thing.
The application includes lists of names and dates. It also includes a narrative. It seems like low-hanging fruit to post the narrative here...with slight enhancements since the actual report is rather dry.
Narrative: Mount Carrigain
Hiked on 8/27/23 #48/48
I found this final mountain to be fairly straightforward when compared to the ones I had climbed most recently. Mount Isolation had been my 47th, for example and that turned into a bit of an adventure. That was fine, though, I was finally–after waiting about a month–able to find a reasonable day for an ascent. My companion on this hike was my wife, Allison Nelson-Eliot, who finished her 48 on that aforementioned Isolation hike. That was hard to schedule, too. The rain has been an epic reminder of the strain we have placed on this "dying" Earth.
It is probably worth noting that I hiked most of my mountains with Allison but her application will contain some different dates from mine as she repeated some mountains with me after she did them the first time. As we waited for at least some of the water to run off Isolation she climbed with me. That meant second summit for her on Pierce, Eisenhower, Hale and others. I also introduced her to some of the "52 With a View" mountains that I love.
We did this hike as an out-and-back via the Signal Ridge Trail. It took us about 8 hours including rests and a celebratory stop at the fire tower/viewing deck on the summit. The hike itself was a bit of a slog. An early commitment to flatness disappears to be replaced by a steady–sometimes steep–incline strewn with those awkward granite boulders so common in northern New England. We cursed the hike many times until we reached the actual Signal Ridge. As I noted, it had been a month since any serious climbing had occurred. Then–even though cloud cover obscured the view at times–our mood improved. There is something about seeing the end-point for so long that really gets you going!
I am a people-person and–as with many hikes I have taken–I fell into conversation with a few of the folks around me. This trip we climbed with a couple of ADK 46’ers up for vacation and met a couple still in their single digits on the NH48. It was an amiable crowd to spend time with at the top. The view–as I mentioned–came and went, but we got some glimpses into Both the Pemi Wilderness and the White Mountain National Forest.
For me it really is about the people you meet along the way. I am a talker. Most people, I think, hike for the silence. However, in any group there is usually somebody more interested in the story than the view. We make eye contact. We venture some quick comments and observations. Eventually we recognize a fellow-traveler and stay connected for as long as we leapfrog each other up and down. This was a good mountain for small-talk and hiker-chats.
The way down was unremarkable except for how happy I was to have finished the list! This started as a way to spend time with my wife while rehabbing from a mid-Covid back injury that resulted in surgery. We hope to keep on climbing. Early in my rehab I got pretty far on the 52 WAV and we have begun picking away at the NE67. Who knows what we will get up to next?
I am a full-time pastor in a small, progressive church in Massachusetts. This blog is about the non-church things I do to find spiritual sustenance.