Today I embarked from the Loj with three of my close friends to go summit my 48th 4,000 footer. It was kind of a surreal experience in that it felt almost no different than any of the other peaks I’ve summited except that when I think back on it, I’ve done 47 other ones over the past 4 years. Each peak was a different adventure with different stories and friends to accompany me. There was the time Rob did the Presidential Ridge Relay Race in a yellow speedo while Austin chased him in a banana suit. There was the time Katie almost broke both her legs by sliding down a wet rock slab and narrowly catching herself by the only piece of shrubbery sticking out of the rock. The time we did the Presidential Range in one day facing sustained 40mph winds at 100% humidity. The time I met Sarah on her first (my third) Peak Weekend at the Loj. The time Sarah fell in the stream. The time August fell in the stream (in the winter). The night we spent out in the winter that was the coldest night NH had seen in 5 years. There are countless other stories of success, failure, nachos, and shenanigans with my friends. I can’t wait to continue to explore the outdoors with them. Here are the photos of my last 4,000 footer and the ensuing celebration at the Loj.
8:00 - Customary pre-hike photo; myself, Sarah, Dan, and Scuba. Heading up to do Carrigain as my 48th 4,000 footer in NH, full of stoke at this point.
9:00 - Walking up the access road to the trail head. Now we can se why the road was closed, there was pretty heavy damage from Hurricane Irene earlier this season. Even if you had an ATV I doubt you could get through here. Made for an extra 4 miles to our trip, so 14 total instead of 10.
10:00 - On the Signal Ridge Trail.
11:00 - Views to the east, some of the last views we got all day before the clouds came in and started to snow on us.
12:00 - Summit photo of me and Sarah enjoying a burrito and some Red Rack ale from the Woodstock Inn respectively. I'm not sure anything tastes better than chilled draft beer on top of a mountain. Don't worry, I didn't drink the whole thing on the summit. Also, my friends iced me while I was up there, thanks guys I really appreciate the love. It was snowing/raining so we didn't spend much time up there. met another guy in his 40's who had also finished his 48th on Carrigain today, super cool!
1:00 - On the trail back down, Dan posing, me putting my finger in the way of the lens, amatuer hour.
2:00 - Posing at the trail head, officially closing out my 48th 4,000 footer in NH. not sure what my next major goal will be but it feels great to have accomplished this one. I'm excited to see what's next.
3:00 - Shot of the dudes walking down Sawyer River Road.
4:00 - Safe and sound back at the Loj watching some Loj TV (the stain glass window has a dozen or more animals embedded in it, you have to squint to see most of them). Now we're waiting for our comrades to get back from the Presidential and Franconia Ranges to celebrate all of us finishing our last peak.
5:00 - My roommate Paul brought us a cake to commemorate the occasion. Congrats to Jed and Katie for crushing NH over the years (1 year for Katie).
6:00 - Growler #2, also a Red Rack Ale, favorite beer of all time? Probably.
7:00 - Chris showed up in solidarity despite his mutilated ankle (7 torn ligaments from a kickball game). I'm glad he made the celebration and brought out the monkey suit.
8:00 - Chris being fed a beer while doing pullups in the doorway, not an uncommon sight at the Tufts Loj; beer and feats of strength go hand in hand, "Hold my beer I'm gonna try something".
9:00 - I love this sign. Thank you Jodie Neally for stealing $300,000 from the student activities fund at Tufts so that when you were caught, the Trips Cabin at the Loj could be built. It's a separate structure for TMC-ers who need to wake up before dawn to go on a trip the next day. Quiet hours are enforced and respected which is nice.
10:00 - Meanwhile in the main Loj building there is piano, guitar, and singing all over the place.
11:00 - Hanging out by the fire telling stories of the old days.
I didn’t make it much past 11:00pm as many of us were exhausted from our respective hikes and sleepy from the gratuitous amounts of cake, nachos, and microbrewed beers. It was a night like many others I’ve had in NH although this one takes on a special meaning having so many friends to celebrate with. I’m excited what my next big adventure is going to be. I have plans to do another winter trip to Katahdin this year as well as various other winter activities in the whites; snowshoeing, x-c skiing, winter camping, ice climbing, and summiting a few peaks here and there. I love hiking and being out in the wilderness but I’m excited to spend the next few weekends in Boston where I’m warm, dry, and well rested. Although, where’s the adventure in that?
Thanks to all my friends who have carted my car-less arse around New England over the past four years and 48 mountains. I couldn’t have done it without all of you and it wouldn’t have meant anything had I done them alone. Thanks again guys, you’re the best, and as Jeff would say “You’re all CHAMPIONS! Anything is possible!”