The North East Ultra 8
The North East Ultra 8 is said to be the toughest Ultra hiking challenge on earth. As far as my experiences go, it was and will be for a very long time. Each one of the Ultras had its own crux and self-beauty that was incomparable to any of the others. It was astounding that each hike could either be in the center of a Mountain region or around a massive natural body of water.
After finishing each Ultra, what I remember most is the rush of thoughts that came in all at once. The one thought in particular was the overwhelming grounding I felt with each accomplishment. To me, that’s the best feeling in the world. On the drive home is usually when I get to reflect on each hike, and it was once I finished all 8 I was able to come to a realization that every individual hike has its own unique way of being beautifully crafted into this handmade natural masterpiece.
Every one of these individual hikes had a total representation of its surroundings. To start comparing one to the other, would be inevitably impossible, because it’s like comparing apples to oranges. The wide range of complexity and individuality of each hike is endless. For example, one of them is about 24 miles on some absolutely rugged terrain and which leads me to believe the GRT has to be the 3rd or 4th toughest day hike in the US. Some of the others were more of a mental game, like not knowing that the “Cran 50” is 52 miles of walking around in and out/on “America’s biggest beaver lake”. It’s not the most exciting trail but it definitely has its way of bringing out something inside of your soul that you didn’t know you had. Whether the hike was riding along a Mountain range, or a bunch of water features didn’t matter, that’s what made these individual hikes a feat all on their own.
To complete just one of these 8 Ultras would be considered a high accomplishment in any hiker’s eyes. Completing all 8 for anyone will take a lot of effort in so many more ways than one. For instance, each one is going to cost a higher-than-average amount of money “given the gas prices” just to drive to. One of the fun but challenging parts will be dialing in your food supplies for the day. This is all depending on your dietary restrictions and knowledge about what you like to eat on a multi-day hike. Questions like “what does your body need to perform”, is now being done in under 24 hours aka single day hike. The idea of an all-day super calorie intake hike is tough enough to manage let alone sustain the food “fuel” needed to perform at such a high level of pace and mental strength in order to complete each one in under 24 hours.
My base or start point for all these hikes was out of NH, so that means that 5 out of 8 were out of state. The remainder of the Ultra hikes I had to drive over to NY state to access Cranberry Lake 50, Great Range Traverse, Saranac 6, The Devil’s Path and even The Taconic Crest Trail. All were about 4-5 hours of driving, so those 5 alone were about 40 hours round trip of driving. The remaining 3 are the Pemi loop, Presidential trav and Mahoosuc all of them start in NH, but the Mahoosuc ends in Maine. I had the opportunity to hike the Pemigewasset Loop three times and the Presidential Traverse twice prior to me finding out about the NEU8 list on June 16th of 2023.
So the Mahoosuc traverse was only about a two-hour drive to the trailhead and at the other end was a friend with a car on the other side waiting for me @foghatchasesdream
The Quest-Journey-Trek-Adventure to my @northeast_ultra8 all started back in 2015 when @hangluz88 @_ragecage_ and I did a Presidential Trav. A Couple years after completing my four thousand footer list @amc4000 it was Drew aka @andrewfromlinkin who ran counterclockwise, the opposite from me. This was the result since he slept through his alarm. He was supposed to join me but when I showed up at his house to pick him up; I got no answer, so I started alone. Drew would run in a counterclockwise direction so he could at-least see me for a 5 minute chat on the Pemi loop in 2017. This was one week after coming home from a 108 day Canada to Mexico @continentaldivide.trail #thruhike.
It was June 15 of this year 2023 my friend Danny aka @hangluz88 sent me a dm of the @northeast_ultra8 and his words went something like this “Something you’d do.”
It was then the 🔥was lit
In the month of July I started out in the @catskillmountainclub on the trail they call The Devils Path #thedevilspath In August I did the @greatrangetraverse and #taconiccresttrail
The #mahoosuctraverseultra in October I got to do the @saranaclakeadk 6 #saranaclake6er and finish on the delightful @cranberrylake 50 #cranberrylake50
My opinion of toughest to easiest. Also keep in mind that “None of these are Easy”
Cranberry Lake 50
Great Range Traverse
Taconic Crest Trail
The Devils Path
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.