Wednesday, November 20, 2019

13 Before 13

13 Before 13

I created a hiking list called 13 Before 13.  This list is composed of 13 hikes in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and only children under 13 qualify to earn anything on completion of the list, hence the title.  The hikes are split into sections of four with Easy, Medium, Hard, and one last hike of Little Haystack.  Each of the first 3 sections contains a hike with views, a hike with scrambles, and a hike with waterfalls.  The last of the 4 hikes is one that the children choose themselves.  On completing each of the 3 sections before Little Haystack, the kid receives a sticker. 

On finishing the whole list, the child earns a patch.

The goal of 13 Before 13 is to give young people a project that is not too intimidating.  I want them to feel like this list was made for them...because it was!  Ideally, this list would introduce children to hiking and motivate them to move on to more difficult lists after they finish 13 Before 13.  The stickers, besides being motivational, are there for if a child doesn't finish the whole list but he/she completes one or more of the sections.

I am a Girl Scout, and one of the requirements for this project of mine is that I hike and interact with children.  Therefore, if you and your child are interested in pursuing 13 Before 13 and would be open to hiking one of the hikes with me, please send me an email at  It would be great to hike with a young person and hear how he or she feels about the hike and the list in general.  Thank you!

Note:  All trail descriptions, directions to trails, and information about surrounding areas can be found in Steve Smith's White Mountain Guide.  This guide has full descriptions of not only these trails, but of all the trails in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  It is very useful for planning a hiking trip; there are many helpful and accurate details.  This book is a necessity if you want to hike in the Whites!  I use it all the time.  If you get a chance, visit Steve's bookstore, The Mountain Wanderer, in Lincoln, NH.  

Views: Bald Mountain in Franconia Notch 0.8 miles round-trip
252 feet of elevation gain
Artists’ Bluff Loop Trail

Scrambles: Goodrich Rock Trail in Waterville Valley 3.9 miles round-trip
741 feet of elevation gain
Greeley Ponds Trail

Waterfalls: Ripley Falls in Hart’s Location 1.1 miles round-trip
308 feet of elevation gain
Ripley Falls Trail

Choose your own: any hike you feel is easy -- can be near your home or anywhere you like

Views: North and/or Middle Sugarloaf near Twin Mountain 2.6 miles round-trip
800 feet of elevation gain
Sugarloaf Trail

Scrambles: Morgan and Percival in Center Sandwich 5.4 miles loop hike
1600 feet of elevation gain
Mt. Morgan, Morse, Mt. Percival, Crawford-Ridgepole Trails

Waterfalls: Arethusa Falls in Crawford Notch 3.0 miles round-trip
900 feet of elevation gain
Arethusa Falls Trail

Choose your own: any hike you feel is "medium" -- can be near your home or anywhere you like

Views: Mt. Chocorua in Albany 8.5 miles
2982 feet of elevation gain
Mount Chocorua Loop Trail (the way up is hikers’ choice)

Scrambles: Caps Ridge Trail (to the Upper Cap) near Twin Mountain 3.8 miles round-trip
1800 feet of elevation gain

Waterfalls: Zealand Falls (by Zealand Falls Hut) in Bethlehem 5.4 miles round-trip
575 feet of elevation gain
Zealand Trail and the Twinway

Choose your own: any hike you feel is difficult -- can be near your home or anywhere you like

The 13th hike -- ADVANCED -- Little Haystack in Grafton County 6.4 miles round-trip
3050 feet of elevation gain
Falling Waters Trail

Monday, November 11, 2019

North and/or Middle Sugarloaf near Twin Mountain - Medium Section "Views"

North and/or Middle Sugarloaf near Twin Mountain
Sugarloaf Trail
3.4 miles round-trip for both peaks
Around 1,100 feet of elevation gain

You will follow a snowmobile trail and a logging road until the hike steepens, going up gradually. You will pass some large boulders on your way. Later, the trail branches off to the left and right. If you go to the left, you will walk along the ridge and then go along a route to Middle Sugarloaf. In the last ledgy section of the hike up to Middle Sugarloaf, it is very steep and there is a ladder to climb. Going to the right, on the other hand, leads you to North Sugarloaf.

The following pictures were taken by Lyndsey Vaillancourt and they are a compilation of two different hikes she went on with her daughter, Aubrey.

Have fun!

Mt. Chocorua - Hard Section "Views"

Champney Falls Trail
7.6 miles round-trip
2,250 feet of elevation gain 

This is one way to reach the summit -- for the list, the hiker may choose whichever trail they like.

After leaving the parking area, turn right at a junction and follow an old logging road until you get to Champney Brook. Then, go right on Champney Falls Trail and keep following the path. After 1.4 miles, swing left on the Champney Falls loop path to see the base of Champney Falls and Pitcher Falls. Continue following the loop trail until it rejoins Champney Falls Trail. Continue hiking until you reach the intersection with Piper Trail, at which point you should follow Piper Trail for 0.6 miles to arrive at the summit of Chocorua.

I obtained the information I include above from the White Mountain Guide, written by Steven Smith. I recommend purchasing this book and using it to navigate on hikes.

Check out some pictures from Jillian Harris who hiked Chocorua with her daughters on July 6th, 2017.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Zealand Falls - Hard Section "Waterfalls"

Zealand Falls
5.4 miles round-trip
575 feet of elevation gain

This hike has a fairly easy grade; it is a mostly-flat hike to the falls. At 1.5 miles, you will cross Zealand River on a bridge. After a few water crossings, you will find yourself in an open area of beaver ponds that you will walk through on boardwalks. After a while, the trail is on the ground again. The whole trail is 2.5 miles. I would recommend going to Zealand Falls Hut (an extra couple tenths of a mile) to see the upper part of the falls as well as stop by the hut and say "hello." The waterfalls are beautiful and so is the trail leading up to them. Check out my personal pictures of this hike! You can also check out a great collection of pictures of Zealand Falls here:

The two pictures below were taken when there was snow on the ground.

Zealand Falls is a great hike for families and friends!

Arethusa Falls - Medium Section "Waterfalls"

Arethusa Falls
3.0 miles round-trip 
900 feet of elevation gain

This trail is rocky and filled with roots. You gain 900 feet of elevation gain in 1.5 miles. Remember to pack snacks, water, and extra clothes. Don't forget all your Ten Essentials. This is rated as a family hike, so you're definitely capable as long as you're prepared!

Bring your camera! The falls are gorgeous.

The following pictures are from Melissa Schuft who hiked Arethusa Falls with her two kids.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Little Haystack - Advanced

Little Haystack
6.4 miles round-trip
3050 feet of elevation gain

The pictures below are of Carter Kropp on his hike of Little Haystack.  

The first waterfall you will see on this trail is Stair Falls.  Then, you will soon come across Swiftwater Falls and then Cloudland Falls.  The terrain itself gets increasingly rocker and you can observe the gorgeous summit in the following pictures.

The waterfalls are beautiful; they are definitely worth the trip.  Carter by Stairs Falls: