Why Do We Hike?

Hiking is great exercise, we all know that.  Studies have proven nature is good for you and I can personally attest to that.  But why do we really hike?  Is it because we know these things or is there more to it than that?

Any hiker will tell you this is not exactly an easy activity.  If it was easy everyone would do it!  There are flat nature trails that are not difficult, but even those require a certain amount of exertion and motivation.  And one typically does not start out hiking 4,000 footers or traversing multiple peaks without building up to it!

There have been plenty of times when I’ve been out in the middle of the woods – hot, dirty, sore, and covered in bug bites.  Usually at this point I’m craving a burger and ready for the couch.  This can be outright miserable…why do I do this to myself?!?!

The answers are simple.  I do it for the inner peace for one.  There is a perspective that a mountain view can provide like no other.  You want your problems to seem small?  Climb to the top of a mountain and look out.  You and your issues are tiny in this huge world and that view will prove it.

I’ve also hiked during tough times and it’s helped me through.  Last year was incredibly tough for my family.  I lost my great aunt, a sister-in-law, and my uncle all to cancer, and a cousin to Huntington’s disease.  When I hike, I hold them in my heart and when I’m at the summit I feel as though the ones we lost are near.

This year I’ve also seen two of my close friends lose a parent.  When you go through this amount of loss in a year’s time it really makes you take a step back to look at life.

Hiking season for the majority of us is FINALLY here (some bad asses hike year round, but I simply don’t have the equipment).  When I hike, I will do it for the ones who can’t.  Not just for those who have passed, but for the people who fight for our country and lose limbs, for those battling disease, and those who can hardly afford to eat and buy clothes.  And yes, for the view.  Always for the view.

In loving memory of Liz, Cadi, Joel, Kim, Bob and Janet.  God bless.

10321181_10152107245837113_679151462479396025_o

 

Posted in Single Peak | 4 Comments

A Legendary Hike

The legend of Chocorua Mountain dates back to early New Hampshire history.  A Native American chief named Chocorua inhabited the White Mountains, and refused to move tochocorua2 Canada as other tribes did when white settlers arrived.  He befriended the Campbell family – settlers he entrusted to care for his son, Tuamba.  While in their care Tuamba mysteriously died.

When Chocorua returned for his son, Mr. Cornelius Campbell was gone.  The grief stricken Chocorua killed Mrs. Campbell and their son, then fled to the highest nearby peak.  Chocorua knew Cornelius would come for him.  He stood atop the high jagged summit, curse the land and the white men who were taking it over.  Chocorua called on the Great Spirit and jumped to his death off what is now the aptly named Chocorua Mountain.  Cornelius Campell’s remains were found two years later on this mountain.

At the end of July, I hiked to this popular and legendary summit.  The views are outstanding – many other hikers have said it is the best views in the state and I agree.  The top of the mountain is steep and bare, and can be tricky in parts.  I do not recommend this hike if it has recently rained as it could be quite slippery.

I used Champney Falls Trail off the Kancamagus Highway.  There is a short side trail which goes out to beautiful Champney Falls.  It adds only slight distance to your hike and is well worth it.  The climb is steady from here.

As the summit gets nearer, the trail climbs steeper  – using switchbacks in some spots.  The view eventually opens up and there is a final push to the steep top.  I was very lucky that blueberries were growing all over the place.  This was definitely a nice treat during short breaks.

There was an eeriness to approaching the summit where this legendary tale took place.  The summit itself is quite intimidating due to its dominating appearance.

The legend of Chocorua has been passed through generations of White Mountain locals.   He fought for land he believed was meant for all creatures and his life ended after a tragic series of events.

Whether or not you believe in legends, this is a story about a time in which white settlers and Native Americans were already struggling to coexist.  This Thanksgiving season please remember to be thankful for what you have.  Taking a hike is a good way to get outside with family!

chocorua3

Can you name the 4000 footers in this photo?

Looking southwest toward Pemigewasset Wilderness

Looking southwest toward Pemigewasset Wilderness

chocorua1

Looking west toward Kancamagus Highway

Posted in Moderate, Single Peak | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments