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Deep within New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest, a rocky cascade of a spur path descends from the Bondcliff Trail to the Guyot Campsite. Hikers arrive here from all directions: Some trek along Garfield Ridge and the Twinway; others hike past iconic Zeacliff; still others climb up out of the Pemigewasset Wilderness and pass over…

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Winter camping has long enticed me into the frosty backcountry. The landscape is beautiful, a world at rest beneath a glittering blanket of snow. Plus, two major hassles of summer—crowds and blood-sucking insects—are nowhere to be found. But for me, the greatest reward of winter camping transcends these things. It’s the deep satisfaction of taking…

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A cockeyed old post holding a series of signs marks a junction 1.8 miles onto the Great Gulf Trail in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest. The top sign, a slab of bare wood, has text carved deep into its surface: “Entering Great Gulf Wilderness.” To the west lie 5,500 acres of federal Wilderness—the first…

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I took my daughter on her first hike before she was 6 weeks old. My husband, Jim, and I picked the shortest route to the summit of Mount Cardigan, the West Ridge Trail, which winds a mile and a half up through forest to sloping granite ledges and a view that sweeps across New Hampshire’s…

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Like many hikers, I spend a great deal of time staring at maps and dreaming of the possibilities of adventure and escape they evoke. For several years now, I have come back to maps of the Susquehannock Trail System (STS) in north-central Pennsylvania—and not just because I hiked the trail system for my new book,…

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Paul is in trouble. Midway into our ascent of the Valley Way Trail in New Hampshire’s Northern Presidential Range, his pace slows considerably. His face, sweat-soaked and somber, maps the struggle within. He’s an experienced hiker, but the burdens of a 40-pound backpack and weary, 66-year-old thighs are conspiring against him. Nonetheless determined, he leans…

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