Appalachian Trail

A hiker on Bondcliff in the White Mountains, N.H.

The Hardest Dayhike in the East: The 32-Mile Pemi Loop

By Michael Lanza

Our long day of hiking began at 6 a.m., shortly after first light, under a gray overcast that would rain intermittent light showers on us over the next several hours and, at times, envelop us in pea-soup fog. When our day ended 15 hours and 59 minutes later—we could officially call it “sub-16 hours”—two friends and I had proven to ourselves (and no one else would care) that, in our 50s, we could still tick off the 32-mile, 10,000-vertical-foot, nine-summit Pemi Loop in New Hampshire’s White Mountains in one long, grueling day.

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A view from the Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

In the Garden of Eden: Backpacking the Great Smoky Mountains

By Michael Lanza

Late-afternoon sunlight tilts golden beams through the low canopy of spruce and fir trees as I hike alone up the Welch Ridge Trail, deep in the backcountry of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I haven’t seen another person all day. Solitude in the mountains exerts many effects, small and large, on us, including that we instinctively listen more attentively. Our rational minds cannot erase from primal memory the instinctive knowledge that, in the primitive brains of some woodland creatures, we represent a boatload of calories.

I stop abruptly and stand perfectly still—listening intently, waiting. And then I hear it.

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Still Crazy After All These Years: Hiking in the White Mountains

By Michael Lanza The sun beams down approvingly as Mark and I start hiking from Crawford Notch, the head-turning cleavage in the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. The temperature sits in a perfect zone somewhere between warm and cool. Not a trace of humidity moistens the air, while an idyllic breeze stirs it enough to keep the ravenous mosquitoes …

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A hiker going through Mahoosuc Notch on the Appalachian Trail, Mahoosuc Range, Maine.

A Path Too Far: Hiking Maine’s Mahoosuc Range in a Day

David and I pause to catch our breath in quiet forest of wind-stunted conifers at the junction of the Old Speck Trail and Mahoosuc/Appalachian Trail, near the northern end of Maine’s Mahoosuc Range. Since we started hiking shortly after 6 a.m. from the Old Speck Trailhead on ME 26 in Grafton Notch, we’ve climbed 3.5 miles and nearly 3,000 vertical feet up this relentlessly steep trail in under two hours. Given our seemingly absurd objective today—to complete a 30-mile, north-south traverse of the notoriously rugged Mahoosucs before we sleep tonight—our strong pace on the day’s biggest uphill buoys our hopes.

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A hiker at Zeacliff, overlooking the Pemigewasset Wilderness, White Mountains, N.H.

Ask Me: What Are Your Favorite New England Hikes?

Hello Michael,

I am a college student at Franklin Pierce University, and I have a couple questions I’d like to ask you. I have been enjoying your articles and website and your book, Before They’re Gone, and really appreciate the work and writing that you create! I am also an enthusiastic adventurer and love doing much smaller excursions, but I am looking to tackle longer, more rigorous hikes. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for backpacking trips and dayhikes in New England.

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