My name is Matt and I've been hiking off-and-on since I was 13. Back when I turned 13, my dad decided to take me hiking for the first time and see how I liked it. He had hiked a fair bit in New Hampshire when he was in scouts and in college, and knew the major areas in the White Mountains fairly well as a result (though his info was rather outdated!). Our first trip was a hut-to-hut trip covering 4 days, where we went to Zealand Hut, then Galehead Hut, and finally Greenleaf Hut before returning to the road.
Despite poor weather on 2 of those days we both enjoyed it greatly and at the end of the trip decided we would go after the New Hampshire 4000-footer List together. Heck, we had already done 4 on this trip (Zealand, South Twin, Garfield, and Lafayette)! This was something my father had started on back in college, but had only gotten about halfway into. Over the span of the next 7 years, we would take a week each summer to come out to the White Mountains (we lived 8-9 hours away in Rochester, NY) and peak-bag. There were a couple summers where we could not make it out, but on a beautiful early fall day on September 30, 2007, we stood atop Mount Carrigain, our final peak on the list.
We also managed during one of those years to take a week and visit the Grand Canyon, where we spent 5 total days backpacking below the South Rim, including one night camping at Phantom Ranch. This was a wonderful week, and one never to be forgotten. Some day we want to go back and camp at Clear Creek in the Grand Canyon.
Unfortunately, after our 48 finish on Mount Carrigain, not a whole lot of hiking happened for several years. We talked about doing some of the New England 4000-footers in Vermont and/or Maine, but we could never make it happen.
In 2010, I moved to Massachusetts for a job. In the fall of 2011 I took a trip up to New Hampshire to hike on what happened to be the weekend of 9-11's 10th anniversary. A friend and I hiked Mount Moosilaukee on the 10th and then did the Falling Waters - Old Bridle Path Loop over Little Haystack, Mount Lincoln, and Mount Lafayette the next day. That day was the day of Flags on the 48, an annual event where teams fly a flag on the summit of every one of the 48 4000-footers in New Hampshire (and a lot of other peaks too now, both in New Hampshire and other states). The bug bit me for a second time, HARD.
With the trip to the White Mountains now only 2.5-3 hours for the most part, going up for weekend trips was easy, though winter was fast approaching. Due to a busy fall I was unable to hike again before winter set in. I was a passionate anti-winter person who couldn't understand why people would hike in the snow. I always swore I would never hike in winter.
Around the middle of January 2012 I decided I had had enough of not doing anything, plus all the trip reports with beautiful pictures combined to result in a decision to hike in winter. I asked questions of experienced winter hikers, bought the gear I didn't have that I would need (snowshoes, microspikes, warmer clothing, etc), and began to plan a first hike. I quickly decided I would do a 4000-footer right off the bat, whether this was a good idea or not! On January 21, 2012, I did my first ever winter hike, a trek to the summit of 4054-foot Mount Hale on a cold, lightly snowing day. Despite the weather and lack of views, I absolutely loved the hike, and coupled with a bluebird day the next day where I did Mounts Webster and Jackson, I knew I would be doing more winter hiking, and hiking year-round now. In fact, before the end of calendar winter 2011/2012, I had summited 27 of the 48 4000-footers in New Hampshire, and most of them solo!
I have since finished the New England 4000-footer list (67 total summits), and I am nearing completion of the The New England 100 Highest list (the 67 4000-footers and then the next 33 highest peaks), which includes about a dozen trail-less peaks. I've begun work on the 52-With-a-View list, though I am in no hurry to finish that. In 2013 I summitted Mount Whitney with my father (something on his bucket list he wanted to do before he "got too old" as he put it), the culmination of a great week spent out in California. There are also a few other plans on the horizon, and for the last couple of years I've found myself doing a full round of the NH48 in the calendar year which has been a lot of fun actually. But really, I just try to get out and hike whenever I can, usually in New Hampshire. This blog will track my trip reports, trails conditions I encounter on those hikes, musings on future hikes, some gear reviews, and more.