She’ll Either Kiss You On The Lips, Or Kick You When You’re Down

Mother nature…. the trail…. you never know what she is going to do. She’ll either give you terrain that is soft enough for bare feet or she will give you slippery and jagged rocks. She will either give you perfect 70 degree weather or a blanket of fog that gives you chills.


New Hampshire…. well…. let’s just say she  is definitely bipolar. She beat my legs to a pulp with her lack of switchbacks. She blinded me with fog. She froze my snotty nose with her wind and caused me to pee on my own leg.  She made every fiber in my body tense up to the point of stiffness due to trying not to fall on her slick and steep body.


She pelted me with her sleet like someone trying to stone me in a town center. Seeing trekking pole marks reminded me of the claw marks of someone’s fingernails being ripped away in a horror flick.


She had no mercy and caused a hunger I had never felt before. She had me turned around and shaken up. She had me confessing my sins. She is like that smoking hot chick you take home from the bar at last call… only to wake up the next morning and wonder what the hell you were thinking. She is the father who threatens all of your boyfriends with a shotgun. She is a beast I had never met before and had me second guessing my hiking abilities that I considered to be pretty experienced. She literally picked me up with her wind and had me hanging on for dear life.


She got me so turned around that I almost gave up and didn’t even get to climb Kinsman. She made me shed my first trail related tears. She kicked me when I was down. When I thought I couldn’t get any lower, she would kick me even harder. She made me curl up in the fetal position and beg for mercy. She had no mercy. Knowing that she has taken the lives of many hikers made me fear my own life every day. She intimidated me with her threats. I couldn’t make one wrong move or she would be out to get me.  New Hampshire was, in a word, a bitch!

Would I do it all over again? Absolutely!


Yes, she hurt me both physically and mentally,  but she always seemed to be able to kiss me gently on the cheek or lips just when I needed it most.


She made me stronger.  She gave me even more courage than I already had. She let me see what a whole mile looked like from above.


She kept me on my toes. She let me know that I am capable of far more than I ever thought I could be. She let me know that I could climb some of the world’s toughest mountains, despite the weather.


She gave me a gift that the first 12 states never had to give me, and that gift is confidence. I never needed it before New Hampshire. She gave me an attitude adjustment. She gave me heaven and hell on earth every day. She let me know the good and bad that every day holds. She gave me character.


I have to give props to southbounders who make in through the first 400 miles. You guys are beasts! I can honestly say that had I started southbound, I probably would not finish the trail. It hurts me to say that, but I figured it out pretty quickly in the Whites.

New Hampshire makes you respect her. She doesn’t take any attitude and will smack the crap out of you if you try….

I survived New Hampshire! Onward, to Katahdin!




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Comments 1

  • TBird73 : Sep 1st

    I have been going to the Whites solo hiking since I was 16. I’ve had all the same thoughts many times. NH and the Whites can be spectacular but hard lessons. I always said its just as likely to give you a hug as it is to shove you off a cliff. Literally. I’ll be going up there this weekend for my first Whites traverse in nearly a decade. I guess I’ll see what mood she’s in this year!


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