Mazel Tov, Laura!BlogHiking November 13, 2022
This week’s email is from LAC Adventure Expert Laura Shen. She recently completed the NH 48 4,000 footers and here she shares with us her thoughts on this huge undertaking. Big congrats, Laura
In order to apply and certify your completion of the NH White Mountain 48 4,000 Footers, you have to submit an essay about your last peak and the journey to that point. Here’s an excerpt of mine…
Last Peak: October 31, 2022 – Middle Tripyramid
This Halloween, I found myself atop Middle Tripyramid – completing my NH48 journey. This journey did not have a clear beginning. I just found myself hiking with friends during business school. Preorientation at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth included a hike up Moosilauke. One down. A few months later, a bunch of new friends went back and hiked it again. At the beginning of second year, a friend wanted to hike Mt. Washington. Two down.
Hiking started to become my thing. One isn’t necessarily “good” at hiking. But for me – someone who runs around from activity to activity and project to project – be it at work or at home – hiking became the thing I did for myself. I did a Presidential Traverse on a whim with friends after graduation and loved the endurance – and views. That was 2017.
Fast forward to the pandemic, I double downed on the outdoors. In the Fall of 2020, my husband and I did Franconia Ridge. A cold but beautiful hike. Two more peaks bagged. I stumbled upon the Ladies Adventure Club of Maine that fall. The women welcomed me in – inspired adventure ideas and creative ways to recreate. I became certified as a Wilderness First Responder and learned about the NH48. That became my goal for 2021.
2021 had other plans. I plotted my calendar of drives from Portland, ME to the Whites, and started training so that I’d be ready once winter faded (I wasn’t briefed on the joys of winter hiking at that point). Life threw in complications. I put pressure on myself to stay on track. June, July and August saw an uptick in peak bagging. I was on the Osceolas in August during a heat wave. I had sweated through all my clothes. My shirt had chafed my arms. I had planned to spend a few more days of vacation peak bagging but I threw in the towel. It wasn’t fun anymore. I wasn’t doing it for me. I had gotten competitive. I returned in the fall and started doing a few one-offs, but I gave up on the one-year goal.
In 2022, the mountains were calling again. I ventured out for a winter hike up the Hancocks. Beautiful. Life got busy. September and October rolled around and my schedule of friends’ weddings and other commitments began to thin. I looked at my list and what was remaining. Attractive weather forecasts, leaf peeping season, and intentionally light Friday meeting schedules provided the inspiration I needed. Whiteface and Passaconaway – check. Carrigain – check. Flume and Liberty – check. Owls Head – check. I was on a roll. The season was gorgeous. Beautiful weather. I threw on some work-related audiobooks and considered these hikes part of my “professional development plan”. Undisturbed time to think.
My hike order has been opportunistic. What’s the closest mountain to X? Can I take a work call nearby? Maybe I can detour and hit that one on the way to a bachelorette in VT or on the way back from that wedding in NH. And thus, the Tripyramids for my final peaks. It was merely a process of elimination.
For now, I’ll hang up my boots for the season. It’s been a wonderful journey.
I wrote this social media post to tie a bow on the experience. “48/48 complete. As a recovering girl scout, I’ll still do anything for a patch – including hiking NH’s 48 4,000 footers. I went into 2021 with the goal to complete all of them – it took slightly longer. A few lessons learned: Pace yourself. Find balance – know when to push but also when to back out. Mother Nature is humbling. Microspikes are your friend. Beef jerky and kale chips are the ultimate summit snack. AMC High Mountain Huts are magical. The mountains remind you just how capable you really are. Thanks to my hiking buddies – mainly my partner, Will, who I dragged countless miles for some epic views – and the inspiration from the wonderful @ladiesadventureclubmaine”
For anyone out there on the fence, it was all worth it. Hope this serves as inspiration for someone out there looking for a challenge. Happy to chat.
Thanks for sharing with us, Laura. You inspire me.
The LAC is hosting a full-moon walk on Wednesday, December 7th at 4:00 p.m. We’ll meet at Mackworth Island in Falmouth and walk under the light of the full moon (but do bring your headlamp). After the walk, we’ll head over to Après for some social time together. Feel free to join us for just the walk, just the time at Après or all of it. No need to RSVP.
LAC Community Events (these are LAC only adventures and anyone reading this email is welcome to join)
🌕 Full (Cold) Moon Walk on Wednesday, December 7th at 4:00 p.m. Drinks after at Aprés
🎦 A fun Zoom panel on Thursday, January 12th at 7 p.m.
❄️ Oxbow (in Oxford) Cross Country Ski Adventure and Pizza & Beer! on Sunday, January 29th in the afternoon. (May be preceded by a skinning adventure at Mount Abrams. Woot woot! 🎿)
Are you on our private LAC Facebook page? This is the perfect spot to connect with other adventurers, plan hikes (and other adventures), ask for advice on gear, etc… if you’re not a member, you can find the page right here.
Upcoming Community (not all LAC) Adventures — To ease confusion, these are not LAC adventures (except for the ones that say, “LAC”). These are adventures we’re sharing that are put-on by other orgs. And if you have ideas for the calendar, please send me a note.
❄️ November 17: Pineland Farms Nature Forest Therapy
❄️ November 19-December 31: Coastal Maine Botanical Garden: Gardens Aglow (we’ve gone to this as a group from the LAC and had such a great time)
❄️ November 30: Nexus Women’s Ski Film Night at Après (a few of us are going; join in!)
❄️ December 7: LAC Full Moon Walk
❄️ December 18: Portland Backcountry Night with Emgee Events
❄️ December 29: Sugarloaf Climb for a Cure
❄️ January 12: LAC Zoom (details coming soon)
❄️ January 29: LAC Oxbow Cross Country Ski Adventure
❄️ February 10-13: Last Skier Standing at Black Mountain of Maine