“You love The Whites? I’m going to die up here! I’m going to die up here and it’s all your fault.” That’s my teammate Alex’s take on The White Mountains, thus far. I really can’t blame her after the hike we had yesterday.
I should start by saying that, I, Aaron Hurtubise, love New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Our trip through The Whites started yesterday, in Glencliff, at the base of Mount Moosilauke. The objective was fairly easy, by long distance hiking standards: hike seven miles over one mountain with a vertical gain of 3700 feet.
Three hours in we were soaked to the bone and being pelted by 50 mph winds that make 47 degrees feel like it’s 12. In conditions like that, the top of Mt. Moosilauke is as inhospitable as crab fishing in the Bearing Sea. It is immediately apparent that you can only spend time at this summit if you don’t value your life. After all, it’s hard to call in search and rescue when you can’t feel your face.
The next two hours were consumed by a somewhat frantic and slippery climb down the backside of the mountain. When we reached the shelter our next problem was getting dry and warm. A fly on the wall might have compared what happened next to a costume change backstage, between acts at a Broadway show.
It was a blur of soaking wet clothing and calls for privacy because, “It’s naked time!” After a cup of hot chocolate, a relative level of calm was restored. Between constantly insisting ‘I’ll never be warm again,’ Alex couldn’t help but ask, “Aren’t you proud of me? I didn’t even cry!” She was also a trooper the next day when we hiked down the mountain, a trail that consisted completely of steep-slippery-rocks that absolutely terrify her. It took us two hours to go 1.5 miles…which is actually the average speed for these parts! Well, White Mountains, I love you…I’m just not sure I’m in love with you. Maybe we should just be friends. I’ll give you a week to work on this relationship.