Two weeks ago, I asked my body to do the what is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Four friends and I decided to hike a Presidential Range traverse, which means that we hiked up and over all the mountains in the Presidential Range in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. In just under 12 hours of hiking, we climbed 9 peaks over 20 miles with about 8500 ft elevation gain.
We drove up to New Hampshire Thursday night, and started the morning at 3:15 am. After dropping a car off at the south end of the trail, we started hiking around 5:15. Just over two hours later we arrived at the Mt. Madison hut (where we surprised a large group of hikers who had spent the night at the hut, and couldn’t imagine why we were arriving at 7:30am). We quickly summited Mt. Madison before heading off to Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Clay before climbing Mt. Washington (the highest mountain east of the Mississippi). The afternoon consisted of Mt. Monroe, Mt. Franklin, Mt. Eisenhower, and Mt. Pierce, and an excruciatingly long, three-mile, down hill trek back to the car.
Overall, it was an incredibly difficult hike, and by the time we returned home it felt a bit like I’d been hit by a car. But throughout the day, we persevered through the wind-burn, blisters, and sweat, because we were all going to get there together, or not at all; and the key to climbing any mountain is just to put one foot in front of the other.