By Michael Lanza

As soft evening light filtered through thin, high clouds, we hiked toward the 6,288-foot summit of Mount Washington, highest in the Northeast. It was the final uphill hump of a 17-mile dayhike over the four peaks of New Hampshire’s Northern Presidential Range, an outing that would ultimately stretch over more than 15 hours and end well after dark—the longest, hardest, and possibly the proudest adventure ever for the three teenage boys in our group. I captured this image of my 14-year-old son, Nate, hiking up Washington, with the peaks we had already climbed arrayed in the background.

Nate, my 17-year-old nephew Marco Garofalo, his 16-year-old buddy Liam Lynch-Galvin, and my good friend and ultra-hiking partner Mark Fenton, had set out from the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch nearly 12 hours before this photo was taken, with the lofty ambition of completing this very long and rugged dayhike before dark. We hit our goal of finishing, if not within our time forecast. But the boys must have been good-luck charms: We enjoyed weather just about as perfect as it gets in New England’s mountains on this June day, with temperatures in the 50s and 60s, no oppressive humidity, sunshine diffused by a few high clouds, and just enough of a breeze to cool us off while hiking a loop with some 6,800 feet of vertical gain and loss.

I’ll post a full story, with more images, later at The Big Outside. Meanwhile, read my story about a previous, 20-mile “Death March” the length of the Presidential Range; my story about dayhiking 20 miles through the Wildcat-Carter-Moriah Range in the White Mountains; and my story “Still Crazy After All These Years: Hiking in the White Mountains,” in which I reflect on my long, personal history in the Whites while on a two-day hike from Crawford Notch to Franconia Notch (spending a night in the AMC’s Galehead Hut). See also this Ask Me post where I describe all of my favorite hikes in New England.

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