Presidential Range

Marco Garofalo high above Carter Notch in the White Mountains, N.H.

The Hardest 20 Miles: A Dayhike Across New Hampshire’s Rugged Wildcat-Carter-Moriah Range

By Michael Lanza

We’re moments from embarking on one of the hardest, long dayhikes in the White Mountains of New Hampshire when we come to a screeching stop before our first teenager moment. My 16-year-old nephew, Marco, discovers his hydration bladder mouthpiece is cracked and unusable. Then I notice he’s carrying a one-liter bladder from an old, little kid’s daypack he used years ago—hardly enough water capacity for a 20-mile day traversing eight summits. Fortunately, we’re starting today’s hike at the Appalachian Mountain Club visitor center in Pinkham Notch, so we buy him a three-liter bladder. Then I see that his daypack belt has no buckle; he insists it’s fine, but I persuade him that the dollar spent on a new buckle will feel like money well invested by around mile 10.

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Hikers on Dog Mountain, Columbia Gorge, Washington.

Photo Gallery: My Best Wildflower Pictures

By Michael Lanza

On a sunny, spring afternoon, we hiked through lush, quiet forest up the steep Dog Mountain Trail, on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. After climbing more than 2,000 vertical feet (the trail ascends a calf-pumping 2,800 feet in three miles to the summit), we broke out of the shade of trees onto slopes carpeted with one of the best wildflower displays you’ll see anywhere. Climbing higher still, we got sweeping views across the gorge to the snow and glaciers of Mount Hood. But the wildflowers stole the show.

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Hiking Mount Adams.

One Photo, One Story: Dayhiking the Presidential Range

By Michael Lanza

We scramble up the blocky talus of 5,799-foot Mt. Adams, reaching the second-highest point in New Hampshire’s White Mountains at 6:45 a.m. Pausing just long enough for a few quick photos, we drop a knee-crunching, ankle-wrenching 700 vertical feet in a mile to Edmands Col, then regain that elevation in a half-mile climb to the top of Jefferson, at 5,716 feet.

My friend Mark Fenton and I are attempting what is arguably the archetypal huge dayhike, the “Death March” of New Hampshire’s Presidential Range. Walking north to south, we’ll cover 20 miles and about 8,500 feet of uphill, tagging all nine summits along the way, from Mt. Madison to Mt. Pierce, including the Northeast’s highest, 6,288-foot Mt. Washington.

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Ask Me: Can You Recommend a Good Winter Pack?

Hi Mike,

I have been hiking in the Presidential Range, N.H., for approximate 15 years and have used your New England Hiking guidebook as my bible. I have always snowshoed, but recently started going above tree line in winter and plan on doing much more.

I am looking for a great winter pack, 50 to 60 liters, and read your review of the Sierra Designs Ymir, although it is more for snowboarding and skiing. I was hoping you could give me your choices (I would really like straps for snowshoes). Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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