Smarts Mountain marks what felt like the first big climb into New Hampshire’s mountains. It was a real eye opener for what’s going to be ahead on a larger scale in The Whites. These are all traditionally routed trails, meaning straight up baby! The days of switch backs are gone, from here on.
The photo above is the halfway point of the climb. The fire tower is just left of center peak. I know I know, you can’t see it. That’s the point. It’s impossible to translate the full perspectives into pictures. You’ll never see anything on a screen that really captures the full essence of the landscapes out here. And I’m going to make it to that hardly viewable fire tower in just a few hours of ripping it through the climb.
Above is the view from the fire tower in the direction I came from. It’s incredibly gratifying to be able to view the most distant horizon line you can see, knowing that you came from there. Then turn 180 degrees to the next tallest and most distant horizon line (consulting multiple maps) and gaze upon where you are going.
From horizon line to horizon line, with every viewing one after the next, you can’t help to feel stronger and more confident.
The mountain on the furthest distant horizon is Mt. Moosilauke, the first 4K climb and the beginning of The White Mountains. It’ll take a few hard days to reach it, through what a local I met called the “Green Tunnel”. There are plenty of climbs that are not 4K summits in between the larger goals. And while some of them may be small, they can be fucking mean little sections!
At the same time I’m feeling pride, I’m also feeling a bit of trepidation looking at that distant mountain and knowing it’s only the first of 23 big summits before I’m through the Whites and close to the border of Maine. The majority of them 4K-6K mountains, and I can only see the first one. Did you hear me? There’s 23 of these giant bastards out there in this section, and I can’t even see the Presidential Range yet. It’s still to far. Standing up in the fire tower, I have a real hard moment of, “I can’t believe I’m about to do this shit next.”
There is a cabin up here, that’s a special stay. There were half a dozen of us in the cabin that night and one chick that was doing the “fire tower challenge” and staying the night up in it. The tower was enclosed and well grounded.
We kept crashing her pad and taking pictures as the evening progressed.
Another shot looking north east to the beginning of The Whites as storms pop up. They’re looking more foreboding.