Franconia Ridge

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

Being Stupid With Friends: A 32-Mile Dayhike in the White Mountains

By Michael Lanza

As we near the top of Mount Flume in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, the first of nine summits we hope to reach today, a light shower begins falling. It seems a less-than-ideal portent near the front end of one of the longest and hardest days of hiking any of us has ever undertaken—especially for three people somewhere between two and three decades past their hiking prime. But this only strikes us as one more in a long list of reasons to laugh at the absurdity of our self-imposed mission: to see whether we still have the stuff to knock off a dayhike that few mountain walkers would even contemplate. In that context, the arrival of the rain we knew was forecasted comes all in a day’s foolishness.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once opined, “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”

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Mark Fenton on the Osgood Ridge Trail, Presidential Range, N.H.

The Best Kind of Insanity: Long Dayhikes in the White Mountains

By Michael Lanza

We started up the Daniel Webster Trail by the light of headlamps at a time of day that guaranteed we’d have the mountain to ourselves for hours: 3:30 a.m. My head had that squeezed, hungover feeling from not enough sleep; the four hours we grabbed on the floor of my friend Mark’s van the night before fell at least three hours short of rejuvenating. But we didn’t have the luxury of sleeping in. We were embarking on a one-day, 20-mile “Death March” across New Hampshire’s Presidential Range. And making our objective all the more lunatic, we had a bus to catch that afternoon—with nine summits between us and that bus stop.

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