Hiking in the White Mountains

By Steve Jermanok

Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, is fresh off the trails and blogging about his AMC Huts 125th anniversary commemorative hike.


There’s a reason they call New Hampshire the Granite State. But surprisingly most of the rock you find on the trails is quartz, gneiss, and schist, not granite. Nevertheless, if you’re hiking at the higher elevations of the Whites, you’re going to encounter rocks in every shape and size and every form of obstacle. Trails like the Crawford Path, the oldest hiking trail in use in the country, circa 1819, start off as dirt, but quickly change to rock. Once you rise above treeline after summiting Mount Pierce on the famous ridge walk, you’re entering an alpine wilderness of wildflowers, gnarly krumholz, and a mind-boggling panorama of mountains and ridges in every direction. Everywhere you look is a carpet of green, rising and falling along the slopes.


Water was our friend on the first three days of hiking, from the Gale River Trail all the way up to Mizpah Springs Hut. At first, the rushing stream was just a delight to look at while walking along water’s edge or crossing over rivers on countless rock bridges. By Day Two, you want to soak your feet in the water of Zealand Falls after a long hike, dip your bandana into the cool waters every chance you get on a hot humid climb up to Mizpah. Thankfully, there were numerous opportunities to cool down and relax.
 
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