Good news, kids. We’ve locked down the dates and made the reservations at all the appropriate huts for the Presidential Traverse this July. The traverse is a handful of peaks that form a big horseshoe in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Here’s a view from the south that just shows the northern half of the hike, starting from Washington and going up the granite spines to the north. (That’s the toll road you see coming in from the east.)
The google borg can’t be all evil if it allows for playing around like a bird over these satellite images.
Let’s dive in. This view is what inspires me to figure out whether to go for a run, to the gym, or for a hike in the woods these days:
This is what I see in my mind’s eye: The peak in the back left is Washington. In the lower left is Lake of the Clouds hut, where we’ll be staying the second night. More on that in a sec.
In 1999, I did the whole traverse in a day. Well…a little over a day. We were going the north-to-south route, so on the first night, we just went up a little ways up the north side of Mt Madison. In the picture above, you can’t even see Madison – it’s behind Washington. The next day, up, up, up, over the top bright and early. Hit Madison, Adams, Clay, Washington in grazing afternoon light (whew, photo op – see here and here), then trot trot pant down to Monroe, across a couple of other guys, across Eisenhower, down down ugh, and then, in the twilight, we set up our tents on the platforms at Mizpah Hut. THAT was a long day.
The line in orange is more-or-less how I remember the trail. Strangely, Washington isn’t labeled – it’s between Clay and Monroe, in that bend. This time around, we’re starting on the south end – at the bottom of the picture above, and we’re staying at Lake of the Clouds Hut the night before summiting Washington. Yeah, that’s right: no tent, no cook stove, peel me a grape. I’m not proud. I want to get above tree line.