Thursday, March 29, 2007

New England Rocks

Big rocks! Mountains! And I've returned.

To my surprise and delight, New Hampshire’s White Mountains are the equal of some of my favorite ranges in Montana. They are not as high in altitude, but they stand 3,000 to 5,000 feet above the low spots, and they gain this height quickly. They’re rugged and gorgeous and dangerous if not respected – all things I love.

I had a great time training with Mats, did lots of miles, lots of vertical feet, earned some rather dramatic blisters, and generally enjoyed it all. Also met a number of tough New England "hikers" with whom we hiked. (Why the quotation marks? "Hiking" to these people seems to require crampons and an ice ax at minimum – this isn’t casual strolling in the glade!) These included Tim Seavers (current record holder for speed ascents of the 48 peaks above 4000 feet), Frodo (past record holder), Drewski (one of a handful of people to have summited all 48 in one winter) and Albee (another likely record setter). (These are their nommes de net from the Views From the Top site.)

While it might sound like a lot of focus on records, it isn’t – like all ultra experiences, it’s about friends, mutual support, and awe inspiring esthetic experiences. I felt very privileged to share trails with these people. It was a great experience.

For your viewing pleasure, the photo is of me and my red gloves, ascending Mount Lafayette, on the Franconia Ridge.

Photo by Tim Seavers. He’s a professional, as these show. His site is worth checking out.
And now, back to work!

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