New Hampshire

26 September 2015

“Live free or die!” shouts each license plate we pass. It was our first time in New Hampshire and our introduction to the state’s extreme passion for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Radical and intense, New Hampshire hosts a stunning landscape of mountains, rivers, and forests. Mount Washington, the state’s highpoint, embodies the radical mantra to the fullest. While you can feel truly free ascending the craggy peak, a fatigued misstep could leave you dead.

 

It was Memorial Day Weekend. and my friend Amanda and I left the office for a weekend in the mountains. The weather was gorgeous, with cloudless skies and comfortable temperatures. We pitched a tent in a family-owned campground in the White Mountain National Forest and headed to Mount Washington the next morning. Parking along the road beside Pinkham Notch, the overcrowded trailhead, we began our ascent. The trail was much rockier, steeper, and longer than I had anticipated. For a first time climber, Amanda hadn’t expected a hike of this calibre. After a few hours, we reached the summit. It was early evening, so the sun was beginning to set. The slanted rays provided the perfect light for surveying the valley. We snapped pictures and enjoyed the setting sun. But we hadn’t anticipated the 7-mile walk down the mountain in the dark. Thankfully, the summit gift shop sold headlamps.

 

The Boy Scouts have a motto: “Always be prepared.” I try to embody this in my life, exercising caution and careful planning in most activities. But as Amanda and I climbed Mount Washington, I learned a truer meaning of that slogan. Preparation applies not only to yourself, but those affiliated with you.

 

Mount Washington. 6288 ft / 1917 m. 5 September 2015.

 

New Hampshire