There is a Reason They Call It “The Granite State”

by Bill Lavoie, Group Vice Chair, Membership and Outreach

If you like boulders on your hiking trail, you just might love New Hampshire. I discovered this last July when I joined a weeklong backpack trip featured in our Sierra Club national magazine.

I flew into Boston Mass., with my backpack loaded and a small non-hiking style carry-on for later. I had arranged by email to meet three other participants in Boston the next day, and once our vehicle was rented we were off on a 5-hour trek to New Hampshire where we met our leader, Jane Jontz, and the rest of our 10-member group.

Our first night was at The Highland Center, where we had dinner, and spent the night. After that we hiked 4.7 to 10 miles per day over rough trails in the Presidential Range along the Appalachian Trail.

There are no switchbacks on this trail, so it was “Up you go!” Including water, I was carrying a 30-lb pack. Some days a light rain made the going slippery–and did I mention those boulders?

Accommodations were in the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) huts, where occasionally you meet “through-hikers,” i.e., those doing large portions of or the entire Appalachian Trail. We slept in bunks–sometimes four high–and the food was good and plentiful.

One of the week’s highlights was summiting Mt. Washington (6250 ft.) known as the “windiest point in the U.S.” In 1934 the Mount Washington Observatory staff recorded the fastest wind gust ever recorded on the surface of the Earth: 231 miles per hour, a record that held until 1996 during a typhoon on Barrow Island, Australia.

This is a trip for a well-conditioned and hardy hiker, who can negotiate a rough trail or is accustomed to “rock hopping.” Because. . . .oh, those boulders!




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