I will be the first to tell you my heart lives in the mountains. Rough and rugged places full of raw features have chipped my hardest edges and formed me into the person I am today. Which, by some accounts, is still pretty rough. Kidding aside, for as much as I find myself needing to spend time in the hills, there is one range of mountains that I simply do not like. Not one bit. The White Mountains of New Hampshire. They are a range of the Appalachians, but let me tell you, they are far different from every other range of that ancient formation. They are a guaranteed suffer-fest.
I never relish my time in the Whites. They do have a certain beauty, sure, and have lots of rawness to offer. But holy cow, for the many miles I have covered in them I think I can say they all sucked. You see, the countless trails that cross the peaks and valleys were carved out before modern standards of trail construction were ever considered. In every other part of the country, people were thoughtful enough to hikers and the environment that they implemented switchbacks to gradually climb mountains. In the Whites, however, you can fully expect to use trails that do not have a single turn in them as they scale thousands of feet up the side of any number of those forsaken hills.
And the weather, oh the copious miserable weather. The Whites are a buttress against thousands of miles of Midwest-fetch, creating some of the heaviest winds on earth. This also means they are home to lots and lots of clouds, which normally manifest as rain. I have never stepped foot in the Whites without precipitation being a factor. Hell, last year while some buds and I walked Franconia ridge I kid you not, the rain rose from the ground and 80mph winds blasted us along. I have taken showers where I have come out drier than that hike left me.
Pardon my diatribe against these mountains but they are a collection of the grumpiest hills around. For as much as I abhor them, I have a certain affinity for the fact that they are the only mountains I am never excited to adventure into. For all their bitterness, they do have certain redeeming qualities. The leaf peeping is second to none in the Whites, and they are the rawest place east of the Mississippi. Even as I pen this post, I am planning another foray through their outrageousness with a couple pals. So maybe they aren’t as bad as I like to think they are.