One Year Anniversary of White Mountains Tracing Goal
One year ago I started this project. I set out to hike all of the trails in the White Mountain Guidebook and the 100 Highest Peaks in New England in 15 months. I never imagined I would make it past day 34. Finishing has felt like a dream that I would never attain. I’ve allowed this silly goal to rule my time, attention, and energy since October 2019 when, at only 25% traced, I discovered that only one person had ever “FKTed” what was formerly known as Red Lining. It was in a really tough time of my life that I leaned into and devoted all of my free time and attention to creating over 180 routes out of the 1,400+ miles of trails in the White Mountains. Those routes have changed many times since their first iteration but what hasn’t changed is my desire to finish this goal. Every time it was taken from me I just wanted it that much more. Between COVID and Cancer, I can say that this hasn’t felt attainable. Making it one year is something that I am still trying to wrap my head around.
But today, I can say that the end is finally in sight. With less than 55 hikes left, I can see the finish line. I have hiked in rain, snow, broken out many miles of trail in winter solo, and I think it’s safe to say my knees will never be the same again. But I’m doing it. Every day is one day closer to the end. Bookmarking the hardest 19 months of my life with hiking.
Back in the fall I started working on the next part of my journey - what I will be doing after I finish tracing The Whites. It’s going to be really hard to go from spending three to five days a week outside in the woods, but I am more than ready to step into the next chapter. In fact, that’s what drives me now. That I need to finish this so that I can begin the next stage of my life. I remember seeing thru-hikers who were doing year long hiking projects reach the last few months of their journeys and they were worn, weary, and ready to finish. I’ve read comments on Facebook from people wishing they could hike every day and I used to be one of those people. I can assure you, it’s not easy. I can say that it is the hardest job I’ve had (because it very much is a job).
But it has transformed me and given me the opportunity to transition into a new version of myself. A version that doesn’t need to hike every day anymore. That doesn’t want to be just a hiker. I love the mountains, the trails, and even when it’s rainy and cloudy, I find beauty out there. But I am a multidimensional human being, who has other passions too. I never would’ve discovered this version of myself without the trails.
I have three more months and tens of thousands of feet of elevation gain left in this journey. But the end is in sight. Finally after almost 4 years, I can see the finish line.
One Year Stats (Including “14 Bonus Hikes”) -
Miles Hiked - 1,607.03
Elevation Gained - 451,963'
Miles Driven - 35,500
Days Hiking - 156
% Traced - 69.2%