I am in the process of catching people up with some early hikes and other encounters with nature that I thought people might find interesting as part of a "How It Began" (HIB) series. Mostly this will describe specific hikes and perhaps some lessons learned along the way...if there are any. They are meant to be short and, perhaps helpful in some way to other hikers or fellow-travelers. I will post the dates of when I hiked a specific mountain since these are NOT posted at or near the date hiked.
September 10, 2021
Tecumseh is another one of those NH 4,000 footers people argue about. Some folks suggest it as a "first hike" in the 48 since it is relatively short. Tecumseh is a mere 4,003 feet tall but the elevation gain on the 5 mile long trail is 2,250 feet. Also, the views from the top are just OK. The other views come thanks to yet another set of ski trails and require a little extra (easy) hiking to reach. I hiked this on my own as Allison had done it earlier. For the record, she didn't like it much. I loved it and it ranks as one of my top 10 all around hikes...ever. However, I get what folks are saying when they complain. It really depends on whether you think you might enjoy miles of stairs. Yup...miles...
At first there are no stairs and the hike is fairly gradual, then there is a dip. Then a stunning view from a nearby ski trail off a side trail to your left. But the stairs begin shortly thereafter and go on and on. One of the books suggests--unironically--that you can distract yourself by thinking of how much work went into putting these steps in. Honestly that just made me even more tired. After the super-epic steps part, though, things smooth out a bit.
The bigger challenge for me came from being by myself. I tend not to bring headphones on a hike so I am alone with my thoughts, which can be fine. That said, I do like talking. I spent a lot of those stairs singing to myself, which would have been weird if there was anyone to hear. However, I had the mountain pretty much to myself on the way up, with the exception of a trail runner...and they don't talk.
One of the great things about a straight climb like this was that the whole thing didn't take very long! It would have been even shorter except there were tons of people coming up as I was going down and almost all of them stopped me to ask how much longer they had to go and if there was a view worth working for. This actually was a bit strange as Tecumseh has the reputation for being under-hiked. As a verbose person I had developed quite a little song-and-dance by the end. After all, it is a "love it or hate it" mountain. I may not have been super helpful...but I think I was entertaining.
This was another hike where the view was fine but the foliage was off the handle. Again, those stairs give you plenty of time to contemplate the trees, moss, and fungi that grow in abundance along the trail. On my way down I went out to see the side views, which were pretty nice, too. Then on down to the car.
In the end, you can make your own opinion about whether it was worth it. The last half mile or so was very "elfy." I thought it was pretty magical even without the unobstructed view one might hope for. If elfy floats your boat, you will be pleased. If you need that view and don't want to do the extra stuff...there are other hikes.
Update: I feel like when I wrote this post I didn't do the mountain justice. I was starting the weblog and managing my job, planning for sabbatical. I really loved it, though. So recently I went back with a friend for a winter climb and made a video of how things went...
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.