FSAR team-member Brittany is working on an ambitious hiking goal. I recently interviewed her about her project.
What is your goal?
My end goal is to complete the NH48 with my companion Bow to then start working towards an even bigger goal of completing the NE68, NE115, & the Highest 100th hiking list. I also intend to complete each 48, 4,000-footer in each season. I want to experience all of the trails that our eastern mountains have to offer.
I hiked my first NH48 mountain in November of 2016 on Mount Pierce.
How many peaks have you completed?
So far I have completed 25/48 of the peaks. I have re-hiked some of the same peaks several different times for various reasons.
Coming from a SAR perspective I would recommend having a moderate physical capability at the very least, basic skills such as gps/map navigation, & proper gear to fit the mountain ecosystem to someone who is considering similar ambitious goals. Also, finding a hiking partner and knowing what their physical ability is as well as any medical information would be highly recommended as it is much safer to have someone out in the mountains with you.
What are your favorite pieces of gear you always take with you on these trips?
My ultimate favorite piece of gear is my 3 liter camelbak water bladder as it is so convenient to not have to stop, unzip your pack and dig out a water bottle while hiking. Microspikes would be a top gear item to have as you need them through early fall - late spring here in New England.
Lastly, I wouldn’t want to go hiking if I didn’t have my leatherman that acts as a multi-tool. Winter conditions on the other hand require double the amount of gear needed.
Have you ever got caught on the trail in bad weather or had an backcountry injury that you had to use your SAR skills on?
Absolutely. I’ve got caught on the trail several different times in bad weather. Some peaks are more common to have fierce wind gusts, multiple river crossings & socked in summit peaks that are hard to navigate with low visibility. One spring hike that included several water crossings I had gone through three different pairs of stockings and experienced what felt like acute hypothermia as I felt my body slowly wanting to shut down. Also, two winters ago I had my first experience with a backcountry injury that occured from my dog while snowboarding parallel to the Tuckerman's ravine trail where I had to use some basic bandaging skills.
Make sure to communicate your hiking plans with someone prior to getting to the trail in case of emergencies. Tell someone which trail/route you intend to take and approximately the total outing time. Usually people go by the 1 hr per every 2 miles to get a rough estimate of total time and length of trip. Also, mountain weather is very temperamental and has its own weather patterns.. Make sure to check the mountain weather forecast up to the same day you intend on hiking as it can change dramatically overnight.