March 5, 2012
I have extensive hiking experience in a variety of locales, including the American southwest and northwest, Newfoundland, and Scotland, but the northeast, particularly New Hampshire and the White Mountains, are my physical and spiritual home, and where I choose to spend the majority of my hiking time. At this point, I qualify as an experienced hiker.......I should have learned something over the past three decades on the trail! My two hardest hikes had several commonalities: hot temperatures, poor nutrition, and inadequate hydration. One hike took place on NH's Kinsman Ridge, whereas the other was in Olympic National Park in Washington. I was younger and much more foolish, and did not understand as I do now that skimping on certain essentials, particularly in hot weather and on 20+ mile hikes, is a very bad idea. I have organized and led many unofficial hikes, typically for friends or family, and have led trail work hikes from time to time as well.
One of the most sublime trail adventures is attaining a special vista, overlook, or really interesting spot after a lot of effort, and stopping to enjoy that feature with like-minded souls who can appreciate the moment. There is a special kind of solidarity between folks who have the mountains in their hearts....... The greatest challenge is usually to properly prepare for, and adapt to when necessary, inclement conditions that arrive unexpectedly or suddenly. I've seen people unravel on the trail when bad conditions hit, and it is not a pretty sight, nor an easy task to ward off their anxiety and keep them in a positive frame of mind.
I am out in all seasons, sometimes leaving the trails to recover for a bit if mud season so dictates. Although not a gear geek or obsessive (gear is just a means to an end) I have a fairly decent arsenal of equipment, including multiple packs, sleeping bags, etc., and a good range of winter gear, including snowshoes, crampons, microspikes, and backcountry skis.
As with gear, there are types out there who are obsessives about lists (the latest rage is the "grid"). While I have a certain ambivalence about the proliferation of lists, I am keeping the classic 4000 footer list (with two to go) and have started doing a winter list of the 4000's as well. The other two lists that pique my interest are the NE 100 highest and NH 100 highest, primarily because they include less-traveled peaks and places that are well worth the effort it takes to explore them. I may never finish either of the two latter lists, but as long as I am enjoying the journey, then I am OK with potentially not finishing them.
As with most of my fellow working stiffs, I am usually limited to hiking on weekends, though I can take the occasional day off from time to time. I also use vacations where possible to pursue hikes that would otherwise be difficult to schedule.
Hi folks........just getting acquainted with the meet-up world, having been on my inaugural meet-up hike yesterday. Looking forward to many more adventures!
A good venue to experience a wide range of hikes with like-minded people.