Presidential Range

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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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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Star Lake and Mount Madison, Presidential Range, N.H.

Two Letters, Three Fathers, and a Reminder of What’s Really Important

By Michael Lanza

About 20 years ago, when I was living in rural New Hampshire and syndicating a weekly outdoor column in newspapers across New England, I received a letter—yes, a letter, delivered by the U.S. Postal Service—from a guy who lived near me, offering himself as a hiking partner. He was a few years older than my father. But there was something about his letter that prompted me to write back, and it sparked an unusual friendship centered almost entirely on our hikes together.

But one detail of Doug’s life story inspired me the most: He had retired from his corporate job early, in his mid-50s. In other words: He had decided to make enjoying life his top priority. I’ve had many reasons to think about that philosophy and about Doug recently, and to contemplate the things that are truly important to me—which, in our fast-paced, hyper-connected culture, can be all too easy to forget.

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Mount Washington, Presidential Range, N.H.

One Photo, One Story: A Huge Dayhike in the Presidential Range

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.

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