Over the past three years I’ve slowly stepped up my outdoor challenges. This upcoming route will be one the biggest undertakings to date. I’m heading out with a couple good hiking buddies to tackle the Presidential Traverse in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. The route starts with a steep climb of 3,500′ in less than four miles, from the Appalachia Trailhead in Gorham, NH to the first summit, Mt. Madison (5,366′). The traverse follows the ridgeline of ten 4,000’+ mountains: Mt. Madison, Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Clay, Mt. Washington, Mt. Monroe, Mt. Franklin, Mt. Eisenhower, Mt. Pierce, and Mt. Jackson. Almost of this route is above treeline, which in the White Mountains is an experience like no other. Two years ago, the three of us hiked Mt. Washington on a beautiful July day. At the summit, this ridgeline was calling my name, begging me to wander northward over the Clay, Jefferson, and Adams peaks. Now we have two days of perfect looking weather lined up for us to make the trip.
Many people do the Presidential Traverse in one long day of hiking 20+ miles. We’ll be splitting the hike into two days, with an overnight at the Lakes of the Clouds Hut, below the summit of Mt. Washington. This will allow us to take our time and enjoy the hike without rushing to hit every summit. I don’t see much point being up there if not to slow down and take it in. It’ll also be my first time staying in one of the AMC (Appalacian Mountain Club) huts. I look forward to a hot dinner and a bunk at the end of the day, and breakfast in the morning. We’re hiking Sunday/Monday, so hopefully we’ll miss some of the weekend crowds and find solitude on the trails.
Presidential Traverse route (.pdf)