By Michael Lanza
We were less than three hours into a multi-generation, grueling, 20-mile, one-day hike over Wildcat Mountain and the length of Carter-Moriah Trail in New Hampshire’s White Mountains when I shot this slow-exposure photo of my 16-year-old nephew, Marco Garofalo, on the Wildcat Ridge Trail. Marco, his 18-year-old sister, Anna, my friend and frequent ultra-hiking companion Mark Fenton, and Mark’s 16-year-old daughter, Skye, set out early that morning to traverse in a day what’s normally a two- or three-day backpacking trip. Besides being a big distance, especially for the notoriously rugged Whites, this traverse involves some 7,200 feet of vertical gain, and stretches that are just insanely rocky and steep.
Mark and I have done some big days together, including hiking across the Grand Canyon and back in a day: 44 miles and over 11,000 feet of vertical. (See my story “A Grand Ambition, Or April Fools? Dayhiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim.”) But he and I—and the teenagers, all three of them very fit and experienced hikers—all discovered this hike was significantly harder than we anticipated.
I’ll write about that adventure and share more photos from it later this year at The Big Outside. Meanwhile, check out my “10 Favorite Photos From 2014 Adventures,” which includes another image from that big day in the Carter Range (a view from high above Carter Notch that shows just how far we were hiking), and all of my stories about hiking and ultra-hiking at this blog.