Presidential Traverse

Yesterday I had the pleasure of running the Presidential Traverse, a famous ridge-line in the White Mountains here in New Hampshire. It has been on my adventure to-do list for a long time, and I was psyched to finally do it. I was joined for the trek by my teammate and good friend Kris Freeman, Kris’s brother (also an Olympian) Justin Freeman and backcountry skier/SkiMo racer/mountain runner/adventurer Andrew Drummond. Kris’s wife Amber Dodge Freeman, along with their Vizsla dog She-Ra, dropped us at the trailhead. We owe Amber big time because it was very nice not to have to do the car shuttle.

We began at the Randolph East Trailhead and ran Randolph Path/Howker Ridge Trail to the top of Mount Madison.

We were all psyched to be out.

We planned this adventure weeks ago and simply hoped for good weather, and did we ever get lucky. It was absolutely perfect running weather.

Apparently it was a good thing that we had a nice day.

The ascent to Madison took about an hour and forty five minutes.

There are trails going in every direction in the White Mountains, but the signage is really good.

One thing that is new to me is the fully furnished Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) hut system. In Colorado we have the 10th Mountain Division Hut System, which is amazing, but the AMC huts in the White Mountains are very different. To start with, they are much bigger, sleeping up to 96 people. Also, they are full service with permanent staffs throughout the summer. Even if you’re not staying overnight, they have hiking gear, food and beverages for sale. Our route yesterday took us past 2 of the 8 huts, as well as the full-service summit of Mount Washington, so I basically didn’t carry any calories with me. I simply carried a few bucks and got all the calories I needed.

Here’s a view from Mount Adams of Mount Jefferson (right) and Mount Washington.

Here are Andrew (left) and Justin:

Kris asked me to take this picture to highlight his continuous glucose monitor for his sponsor Dexcom.

The running was rugged. The route was only 19+ miles, but they were slow miles.

We crossed the cog railway tracks on the way to the summit of Mount Washington.

The summit was crowded with all types of tourists.

There was a line, which we decided to skip, to take a picture at the summit post.

We were still in good spirits as we continued onward.

Here is the pond outside the second AMC hut that we passed, the Lakes of the Clouds hut.

I would love to come stay in one of the huts at some point and relax in the alpine environment.

I was surprised to find that we did not dip back below tree line between each peak. We were up in the alpine zone consecutively for over 4 hours.

The views were continually incredible.

We could see where we were going for a long way.

I had not met Andrew Drummond before yesterday.

He is awesome, and I was psyched to get to know him. We were connected by a mutual friend, Eric Schenker from Craft Sportswear. Andrew and I definitely plan to do some more adventures together later this summer.

I would also love to get back onto the Presidential Ridge sometime soon.

It’s also been fun for me to get to know Justin better this summer. He lives in the Netherlands with his family. He and his wife are both teachers, and they are only back in New Hampshire during the summers.

Here are some of the maze of trails all over the Whites.

In total we did 7 peaks: Madison, Adams, Jefferson, Clay (doesn’t count because it’s not high enough above the ridge), Washington, Monroe, Eisenhower and Pierce.

Here’s the view from Pierce looking back at Eisenhower, Monroe and Washington.

We finished by running down Crawford Path to Crawford Depot, where we had left a car. In total we were out for six hours and fifteen minutes car to car. I can’t wait for another adventure soon!