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    Ryan Kipp saved Mason-Dixon Trail

    about 1 month ago

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Presidential Traverse Trail

    4 months ago

    I don't really even know where to start with this review - the Presidential Traverse is one of the most personally fulfilling, yet physically taxing, treks in New Hampshire, New England, and perhaps the country. Offering some of the most expansive views in the East, this trail saddles along some of the White Mountains' tallest peaks and consistently stays above tree-line. If you're considering doing this, you're in for an adventure - but some things to be aware of (in addition to what Dane wrote below):

    1. Physical Demand. If you summit every mountain along the way, your trip will yield a total elevation gain of nearly 10,000 vertical feet. This is roughly 1/3 the height of Everest over the course of one-to-two days. Combined between these gains and the significant long-distance mileage, this traverse easily ranks as very strenuous and should not be attempted -- especially in one day -- unless you're in proper physical shape. It was a hell of a workout, but if I could do it again, I'd split it into two days. Bring tons of water, sport drinks, and high-calorie snacks and take frequent breaks.

    2. Equipment, Attire, and Weather. You'll be above treeline for the grand majority of this trip. While this offers the chance to take-in some incredible views, it also exposes you to the elements -- often with no easy cover. The weather in the Whites is very unpredictable, and it's important to be prepared for anything, even in the summer. Bring rain attire, thermal layers, gloves, and sunscreen. If weather looks like it's going to turn sour, get under treeline or to shelter. Hiking poles and solid footware are highly recommended, as this trail is very rocky and it's easy to trip/fall.

    3. Transportation. Read the review below. If you have multiple cars available, have one parked near AMC Highland Center @ Crawford Notch (end point -- Crawford Connector Trail has a parking lot and is a good option) and then have one bring you to Appalacia, where you can start (Valley Way Trail is my recommendation). If traveling solo, park at Crawford and have a service drive you to Appalacia so you end at your car. As Dane mentioned below, Bill is the man and couldn't have been more thankful for picking me up in the early hours of my day ($100+tip). I started at 2:15a and finished somewhere around 6p.

    The trail is very well-traveled and marked. Make sure you have a map before starting, and have evac routes planned in case you need them. Enjoy the ride -- the day I went ended up being clear and, for the first time ever in the Whites, without wind or precipitation (despite how it looked early on). Can't recommend this trail enough.

    Ryan Kipp completed Presidential Traverse Trail

    4 months ago

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Charleston Peak South Trail

    7 months ago

    Attempted this trail yesterday (04/25/18) with a goal of making it to Griffith Peak (total = 4.0mi one-way), and unfortunately only made it to 10,000' before I had to turn around (vertical 1000' / 0.7mi short of Griffith Peak). While the first ~3mi on the trail were mostly clear of snow (with some patches of 6-12"-deep snow on thinner parts of the trail over hills, which should be considered very carefully), the last mile of the trail's switchbacks are pretty heavily loaded in deep snow. At one point, the tracks I was following made by previous hikers became too unclear, and I decided to play it safe and turn around. It is worth noting that I passed a few other hikers coming down who had made it to Griffith, but each of them noted some trail-finding would be necessary as the upper portion of the trail was unclear to them, too.

    Aside from the snow, this trail was beautiful -- steep and challenging, especially when considering the altitude (you'll be going above 10,000' if you do the whole thing, and starting at 8000' in the parking area), but really wide-open scenery with tons of great views and lookouts that get better and better the further you ascend. Highly recommend. Bring poles and consider microspikes, if available for the snowy patches, and definitely take your time and be safe with the snow. As always, avoid altitude sickness by staying well hydrated (water with electrolytes!) and fed.

    Ryan Kipp completed Charleston Peak South Trail

    7 months ago

    Ryan Kipp reviewed South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch to Bright Angel Trail

    7 months ago

    Easily two of the most breathtaking trails I've ever had the chance to travel. A few things you should know before starting -- 1. You're in for a huge treat; 2. South Kaibab has very little shade; if you are starting anytime after 10am (unfortunately, I personally couldn't begin until noon and I highly recommend against doing the same), be prepared for a really hot hike, even in late April/early May. On the day I visited, it was an estimated 110F at Phantom Ranch (remember, it gets hotter as you go down), and it definitely felt that way during descent. 3. You need a ton of water AND electrolytes. Do not underestimate the importance of electrolytes; get some dissolvable tablets and put them in your hydropack/water bottles, or bring tons of sport drink. I learned this the hard way and, despite having enough water, definitely suffered from some dehydration complications, to which I was extremely fortunate to have some hikers at Phantom help me out with their tablets. 4. Bright Angel is longer, but has a lesser grade and offers more shade; I would highly suggest using this route for ascent (start early!); 5. I personally highly suggest hiking poles. They will save your knees during descend, and help you a ton during ascent.

    These two trails gave an incredible experience that you'll never forget. Less than 1% of the GC's visitors each year actually descend into the Canyon and the Colorado River, and although you'll have to earn every step, there's a whole different world down there waiting to be explored. Be prepared, hike smart, pace yourself, and listen to your body.

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail Loop

    11 months ago

    Made it back to the South Ridge early January for a sunrise visit to Cadillac -- easily continues to be one of the most beautiful, and one of my favorite, trails of all time. Based more-so on length than elevation gain (although there is still a fair amount!), I agree with the difficulty rating of hard. Do not attempt this trail in the winter unless you have proper winter and ice gear -- much of the the trail was completely coated over in ice and snow, and a lot of caution is necessary, particularly on the way down. It was also very cold and on the ridge, you are exposed to the elements. If you are prepared, though, then you're sure to have an incredible experience with some of Maine's finest scenery.

    If a sunrise hike is in your plans for any season, be sure to have a headlamp or good flashlight. There are cairns and blazes along the ridge, but depending on the conditions you're in, they may be tough to see (if clear though, then easy to follow for the most part). Take your time and don't go off trail.

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Jump Off Trail via Appalachain Trail

    12 months ago

    An absolutely beautiful trail with one of the best (and relatively lesser known) views in the park. The trail up was moderate, rocky, and icy. Once you get to the sign for the Jump Off, continue on the side trail until you reach a rock that gives an incredible view of the mountains (it’ll feel like you’re going on to another trail, but you’re not — just keep going until the trail ends at the Jump Off). Highly recommended.

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Rainbow Falls Trail

    12 months ago

    The Rainbow Falls Trail was a great way to kick off our trip in the Smokes -- if you're looking for a short half-day hike, you can go up to the falls (they're beautiful), relax for a bit, and come back. If you're looking to take up the whole day, you can keep going up to Mount LeConte and spend some time at the Lodge with views. This trail is definitely uphill, but if you take your time, I would say it's more on the moderate side than strenuous. Good boots and water definitely required -- you can refill at the Lodge if you choose to go all the way. Overall, had a fantastic time -- definitely recommended!

    Ryan Kipp completed Rainbow Falls Trail

    12 months ago

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Wolf Rock & Chimney Rock Trail

    about 1 year ago

    Short hike with some great views -- definitely recommend! Be careful near Chimney/Wolf Rocks, as there are a lot of crevasses. Easy to follow, trail is well-blazed (orange)

    Ryan Kipp completed Wolf Rock & Chimney Rock Trail

    about 1 year ago

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Victoria Trail

    about 1 year ago

    Just a reminder to hikers to where orange at this time of year, as the area is in State Game Lands territory!

    Ryan Kipp added Track - Sep 23 01:04 PM

    about 1 year ago

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge Trail Loop

    about 1 year ago

    Easily one of the most beautiful trails on which I have ever set foot. I had been hearing a lot about this trail, but didn't think it would live up to the hype -- it definitely did. Started my hike up the Falling Waters Trail at 5:30am and made it to the ridge after ~1.5-2.0 hours. It is rocky and pretty much all uphill, so be prepared with good boots and lots of water (I agree with the hard/strenuous rating for the Falling Waters Trail). Up on the ridge (which is above treeline), it was 31F with a windchill of 9F, average windspeed ~51mph, but clear skies -- which made it worth it. Take your time when you're up on the ridge -- it's not hard, but there's so much to see and take in, there's no reason to rush to the top of Lafeyette (great surrounding views of all the Whites and the Presedential Range). Descended via Old Bridle Path; the Hut was about half-way down and had warm coffee/tea if you bring cash. Can't recommend this trail enough -- if you're visiting the Whites, it's a must.

    Ryan Kipp saved Presidential Traverse Trail

    about 1 year ago

    Ryan Kipp saved Middle Sister Trail

    about 1 year ago

    Ryan Kipp reviewed Van Hoevenberg Trail

    about 1 year ago

    Ryan Kipp saved Mount Haystack Trail

    over 1 year ago