Cannon Mountain marks our first spring hike in the White Mountains, and I was pretty excited about it. The warmer weather, the sunny skies, the ditching of snow pants: I couldn’t wait to get out there. There had been some tales of somewhat difficult spring trail conditions tossed about, but how bad can a little melting snow be?
The Pemi Loop. In one day. Backpacker Magazine has named it the second hardest day hike in America, which, for most normal human beings, is down-right laughable. It is, after all, roughly the equivalent of doing three Tough Mudders. Conquering the 31.5-mile trek in a day with its eight mountains over 4,000 feet and 9,000 feet of cumulative elevation gain requires superior fitness…or a complete lack of common sense.
Hiking in northern New England is no simple walk in the park. Consider that we’re also home to some of the finest micro-breweries in the business, and one has to wonder: What’s the point of all those rugged, root-tangled miles if the calories burnt aren’t immediately replenished by a pint of ale and good old pub grub?
For many, the Presidential Range is the Appalachian Trail section most synonymous with New Hampshire, which makes the Franconia Ridge Trail hike from Mt. Liberty to Mt. Lafayette a second fiddle with a marvelous tune. With two mountains over 5,000 feet, the option to summit 4,459-foot Mt. Liberty, and 4,500-foot Mt. Garfield likely also on the docket, this stretch will have hikers crashing and burning by day’s end.
After shaking a case of trail trail déjà vu, it was back onto the New Hampshire Appalachian Trail for another wild adventure. Unfortunately the trek once again didn’t go as planned. Yet another lesson learned in the perils of section hiking an AT state in sections.