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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at MaineOutdoors@aol.com.

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Maineiac Outdoors with Carey Kish
Posted: June 16, 2014

Hiking the entire Presidential Range in a single day. Or not.

Making tracks for the Lakes of the Clouds Hut. Mt. Washington in the background. Photo © Carey Kish.

Making tracks for the Lakes of the Clouds Hut. Mt. Washington in the background. Photo © Carey Kish.

One of the most challenging day hikes in New England is the Presidential Traverse, a gargantuan ramble over all the major peaks of the Presidential Range in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Tackling the hike means anywhere from 12 to 20 hours on your feet for some 19 to 23 miles while you gain about 9,000 feet of elevation.

A proper traverse climbs all seven summits in the range that are named for U.S. presidents: Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Monroe, Washington, Eisenhower and Pierce. The first four reach heights exceeding 5,000 feet, while the latter two are over 4,000 feet. Mount Washington tops out at 6,288 feet, the highest mountain in the northeastern U.S.

Go crazy a little by adding a few miles and some more climbing over Mount Jackson and Mount Webster, following the AT right out to US 302.

No matter, it’s a monster day. Are you ready for the big hike?

Get the goods on this wild day hike across the rooftop of New England in my latest outdoors column in the Maine Sunday Telegram: “Presidential Traverse hike is thrilling, but be prepared.”

And as my friend and fellow hiking fanatic Philip Werner says: “There is no shame in not doing the traverse in one day. It also makes a fantastic backpacking trip.”

That said, if you choose the easy, and perhaps more sane, route, check with the AMC for high hut info and reservations. It’ll cost you a few bucks but it’s worthwhile and a great experience.

The first thing you'll see when you reach treeline is this famous sign. Photo © Carey Kish.

The first thing you’ll see when you reach treeline is this famous sign. Photo © Carey Kish.

 

A nice day on the Presidential Traverse, descending Mt. Jefferson and heading toward Mt. Washington. Photo © Philip Werner/SectionHiker.com.

A nice day on the Presidential Traverse, descending Mt. Jefferson and heading toward Mt. Washington. Photo © Philip Werner/SectionHiker.com.

Arriving at Madison Spring Hut in lovely weather. Photo © Carey Kish.

Arriving at Madison Spring Hut in lovely weather. Photo © Carey Kish.

The huts are a good place to duck into on the traverse. Photo © Carey Kish.

The huts are a good place to duck into on the traverse. Photo © Carey Kish.

Don;t count on good weather for the Presidential Traverse. Photo © Carey Kish.

Don’t count on good weather for the Presidential Traverse. Photo © Carey Kish.

Looking back to Mt. Adams in good weather. Photo © Philip Werner/SectionHiker.com.

Looking back to Mt. Adams in good weather. Photo © Philip Werner/SectionHiker.com.

More exceptionally good weather... Looking out over Lakes of the Clouds Hut to the summit cone of Mt. Washington. Photo © Philip Werner/SectionHiker.com.

More exceptionally good weather… Looking out over Lakes of the Clouds Hut to the summit cone of Mt. Washington. Photo © Philip Werner/SectionHiker.com.

Hikers on the Presidential Traverse resting up at Lakes of the Clouds Hut. Photo © Philip Werner/SectionHiker.com.

Hikers on the Presidential Traverse resting up at Lakes of the Clouds Hut. Photo © Philip Werner/SectionHiker.com.

It's all downhill from here... Looking south along the Southern Presidential Range. Photo © Philip Werner/SectionHiker.com.

It’s all downhill from here… Looking south along the Southern Presidential Range. Photo © Philip Werner/SectionHiker.com.

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