I wrote last week about my plans to hike through and around New Hampshire’s Pemigewasset Wilderness. In the full knowledge that hikes never run precisely to plan, I have nonetheless sketched out a 40-mile anticlockwise circuit from Franconia Notch. Its lowest elevation (near my first night’s camp) is 1,300 feet, and the highest (on the last day) 5,260 feet — Mt Lafayette. I have reserved a bunk in Zealand Falls Hut for my second night out (see falls last autumn to right).
I firmly believe that the greatest risk I face will be on the 290-mile drive to the trailhead. Nevertheless, I am geared up for rain, cold or sun; to navigate (map & compass, no GPS); to filter water from streams; and to keep my food from bears. A careful reading of the White Mountain Guide reminded me that I may face bridgeless brook crossings, and that I should take extra care on wet ledges. It reminded me also that, in the officially-designated wilderness (in contrast, for example, with the AT sections), trail marking may be less reliable. I still think I-90 is the riskiest bit. For the record, my wife says she worries less about this sort of adventure than when I ride my bike around town. I took the picture below on the edge of the official wilderness, also last fall.
So, I am now equipped with new boots – Salomons – that are working out fine on local test walks. And, for what it is worth at this range, the weather forecast is not bad, at least for the valley-floor town nearby. Next up: a food plan.