Something Wild: The Dangers of Hiking the Whites

I rolled into the parking lot of the Mountain Wanderer Book Store in Lincoln, New Hampshire. I was there to meet two White Mountain hiking experts. Authors Mike Dickerman of Bond Cliff Books and Steve Smith, editor of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s White Mountain Hiking Guide. Steve also owns the Mountain Wanderer. From the bookstore, we drove to a nearby trail head for the Pemigewasset Wilderness Area in Lincoln. The wooden bridge at the trail head is the gateway to 45,000 acres of protected land, in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest. As Smith points out, “Many a long journey has started here, and ended here.” We’re not far along our own journey when Smith and Dickerman begin swapping war stories from decades of walking these trails. Dickerman remembers breaking through the ice up to his waist; Smith remembers the difficulty of evacuating a member of one of his crew who had broken a leg on the trail. These sorts of stories are rites of passage for any serious hiker, and

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