New Hampshire on the Appalachian Trail

2 min read

Looking out at a sea of undulating mountain  curves, I am struck with a feeling of blissful calm. 

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A moment later I’m nearly knocked off my ass by a massive gust of wind. This contrast will come to define hiking in New Hampshire. 

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We lucked out with decent weather through the Carter and Wildcat mountains, but reality kicked in once we hit the White Mountains.

View of the White Mountains from the Carter Range


View of the White Mountains from the Carter Range



Lenticular cloud or flying saucer? Beautiful evening hiking between Wildcats and Carter


Lenticular cloud or flying saucer? Beautiful evening hiking between Wildcats and Carter



From this point onward, I was nearly knocked over by the wind on many occasions.

View heading from Mt Washington towards Mount Eisenhower


View heading from Mt Washington towards Mount Eisenhower



Mt Washington, the highest point in New Hampshire (elevation 6288) has recorded some of the strongest winds on the planet, with a world record of 231 mph up until 1996.


This glimpse of our hike into a windy cloud at the top of Mt Moosilauke is a great example of the power of weather. I could barely hold the phone!

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I was a bit freaked out by the strong winds at first. I was holding on to every rock for dear life. I nearly cried on open ridges, trying to hold myself upright walking over tedious rocks. And I almost skipped going all the way to the top of Garfield Mountain because I thought I’d fall over.

But at some point on the way up Lafayette Mountain to the Franconia Ridge, I changed my thinking.

I suddenly decided to equate being pushed around by the crazy wind with riding a fun roller coaster.

This changed everything!

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I’m not usually a fan of roller coasters. But thinking of the weather as a carnival ride instead of a death trap turned hiking into exciting entertainment.

With this new attitude, I could go back to looking around with a sense of awe, noticing all the beautiful strangeness and inspiring nature along the way.

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We weren’t always clinging to the edge of a cyclone. There were moments of stillness providing peace and tranquillity.

Lakes of the Clouds, between Mt Washington and Mt Monroe


Lakes of the Clouds, between Mt Washington and Mt Monroe



Sunset view from Carter Mountains


Sunset view from Carter Mountains



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While the many ridge hikes were my favorite, what goes up must come down. The trail also covered many beautiful notches (valleys) between the peaks and routes below tree line.

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As mentioned in this post, New Hampshire is no stranger to rocky terrain. But fortunately not as slippery as Maine.

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All in all, New Hampshire was extremely challenging with high reward. It certainly didn’t skimp in its payment with epic mountain views or jaw dropping beauty.

I’m sure memories of hiking in this state will provide inspiration fir years to come.

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