The Games Hikers Play

Charlie on the summit of Mount Abraham in Maine last weekend. Mount Abraham is ranked #10 of the 14 peaks in Maine that are over 4,000 feet. Vermont has 5 peaks and New Hampshire 48 and together they add up to 67 Mountains that are on the AMC New England 4,000 Footer list.

by Amy Patenaude
Outdoor/Ski Writer

I know you don’t want to admit it but the days are getting shorter, the end is in sight and winter is fast approaching. Before it gets too cold and snowy hikers are out there trying to finish up their lists. Finishing all kinds of lists are the games hikers play.
We are all still excited that the Golfing Gals finished the AMC’s 4,000 Footers Club list— summiting and returning from all New Hampshire’s 48 peaks with elevations greater than 4,000 feet. Sarah and Sharon already sent in their application for membership. They really do study every application. They received a question back from the reviewer asking exactly which Kinsman Peak did they finish on the list. Along with the inquiry was the comment that finishing on the North Kinsman was unusual.
North Kinsman. Well, I confess I rarely led them up the easiest way but instead I attempted to choose the most wonderful and perhaps it may have been an unusual route.

Big FINISH on West Plymouth Mountain! On October 1st Nancy and Charlie Foote of Glencliff finished the New Hampshire Highest 500 list. As part of the celebration all the finishers of the list present posed together for a photo–Yours Truly, Nancy & Charlie Foote, Bryan Cuddihee and Zachary Porter. Visit on-line at 48×12.com to learn about this list and more games hikers play.

The following week I was present for another big finish of a less known peak bagging list. Nancy and Charlie Foote of Glencliff completed the New Hampshire Highest 500 list on West Plymouth Mountain. This is a trail-less tree covered bump just over 2,000 feet in elevation. To complete this list one must travel to peaks located in southern NH and peaks reaching all the way to the Canadian border and most don’t have trails. There is plenty of map and compass work to do and just figuring out where the peak is hiding is part of the challenge.

Charlie Gunn, Henniker and Fran Leyman, Mt Desert, Maine near the summit of Gorham Mountain overlooking the Beehive. A couple years ago Fran made her own hiking game. Fran redlined, hiked every trail, in Acadia National Park. It might take Charlie and Yours Truly another twenty years to redline Acadia’s trails but with Fran’s help we just might do it.

Nancy and Charlie invited friends to join them for the bushwhack to their finish peak. Friends included others that have completed the NHH500–Bryan Cuddihee, Zachary Porter and yours truly. We enjoyed the not so long walk in the woods together. Afterwards we celebrated and enjoyed a hotdog barbeque while we shared stories of our adventures.
Oh there are many games hikers play. Some are well known and I know hikers that make up their own games.
Around here the most popular is the AMC’s 4,000 Footer list. The reward is a simple embroidered path. Other 4k AMC patches can be earned for completing this feat in calendar winter. There is also a new patch for completing the list in each of the four seasons along with a requirement of doing trail maintenance.

My first guide, the 1976, 21st edition and the brand new 30th edition AMC White Mountain Guide! For 110 years the Appalachian Mountain Club has been publishing the White Mountain Guide. The 30th edition is a boxed set with six pull-out topographic maps. This is a must-have guide! Compiled and edited by Steven D. Smith of Lincoln, NH, the guide and maps are thoroughly updated and revised. Red-liners will find trail descriptions for over 1,450 miles of trails and paths!

The AMC also recognizes and awards a patch for the New England 4,000 Footer List—67 mountains in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine and another patch for the New England Hundred Highest.
For more information visit on-line at amc4000footer.org or better yet get your hands on the new 30th edition of the AMC White Mountain Guide and all your questions will be answered in Appendix B.
More games that New Hampshire hikers play are explained and a list of finishers for each challenge can be found at the website 48×12.com. The website is supported by Ed Hawkins and friends. Finishers of the lists found here may apply for recognition and received a special award patch.
The website started by Gridders—people that have hiked every 4,000 footer in each and every month of the year—48×12 equals 576 summits. There are a handful that have completed the Grid more than once. Ed Hawkins and Tim Muskat are multiple finishers and have completed this feat an amazing 6 times.
The 48×12.com website also provides information and tracks finishers for White Mountain Red-lining—hiking every trail and path in the White Mountain Guide, visiting proposed, past and present New Hampshire Fire Tower sites, hiking a 4k mountain on every calendar day, including leap day and more challenges.
Another website tracks finishers of the 4,000 Footer list in a single winter, 48in1winter.com. Over 100 people that have completed this feat.
I know two other hikers that share my passion of collecting town highpoints and sometimes town highpoints are found on the side of a hill on a town line and not on a summit. There are others out there collecting state highpoints. I have another friend that hikes to the highest summit of every country he visits and his most recent prize was collected in the Czech Republic.
One thing that is true hikers love to hike and the only thing that limits the games hikers play are our imaginations.
Congratulations to all those that finished their game this fall.
Have Fun.

 

Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: amy@weirs.com.


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