The Pemi Loop. The name alone brings a wistful smile to many a New England hiker’s face. Eight wide-open summits on the New Hampshire 48 list of 4,000+ footers—each offering spectacular views of the Pemigewasset Wilderness—plus four other “optional” 4,000+ peaks bagged via short side trails, help make The Loop an annual addiction for many.
The Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, accessing the summits of Mt. Monroe and Mt. Washington, is equal parts majestic beauty and watch-your-step treacherous, sheltered tranquility and boot-to-boot hiker highway, destination hike and the fastest route between Point A (ground floor) and Point B (the AMC’s Lakes of the Clouds Hut).
Let’s face it, hiking in northern New England is no simple walk in the park. Consider that we’re also home to some of the finest micro-breweries in the business, and one has to wonder: What’s the point of all those rugged, root-tangled miles, shin-slicing rock scrambles, and seemingly endless false summits, if the calories burnt aren’t immediately replenished by a pint of ale and some good old pub grub?
At 281.4 miles, Maine accounts for only 13 percent of the entire 2,178.3-mile Appalachian Trail, a far cry from being the longest of the 14 trail states. Statistics, however, are for maps. Ask anyone who has completed the entire trail and they’ll likely tell you Maine is the toughest state.
I’ve never considered myself afraid of heights. Cautiously reserved, perhaps. One could even say I have a strong sense of self-preservation. But downright chicken—who, me? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Katahdin, the crown jewel of Maine’s Baxter State Park, has a not-so funny way of testing this resolve.
Northeast Hikes is on the hunt for the best New England hiking in Maine and New Hampshire, from Katahdin to Mt. Washington and everything in between. Appalachian Trail hikers past, present and future are invited to follow along with the Maine and New Hampshire section hiking blogs.
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