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Bridle Loop Path, Mount Lafayette, New Hampshire (Photo by Josh Roberts)

Who: Josh Roberts

Where: Bridle Loop Path, Mount Lafayette, New Hampshire

When: May 2006

What: The nine-mile Bridle Path Loop in New Hampshire’s White Mountains takes in two of the state’s tallest peaks, Lafayette and Lincoln. I love this particular trail because it rewards you with all the best elements of hiking in the Northeast: an extended traverse along an exposed ridge, a series of roaring waterfalls, and breathtaking views of the Presidentials and Pemigewasset Wilderness all the way to Mount Washington.

That’s my wife in the foreground, toughing it out even though we probably hiked the trail a little too early in the season. There were still huge swaths of snow below the treeline, and up on the exposed ridge all of the rocks and alpine plants were coated with hoarfrost. But man was it fun!

Here’s how I described it in the September 2006 edition of my American Adventurer column: “The trail climbs, steeply and steadily, over exposed rocks and up through a forest of beech, birch, and maple to the knife’s edge of rocks and windswept ledges that is Franconia Ridge … There you stand, a mile high, with the world spread before you and nothing between you and the next peak but a narrow, undulating ridge. The next mile and a half is all ups and downs, all jagged rocks and tumbled boulders, with every step of the way punctuated by loose rubble, patches of dwarf pines, and vast stretches of hardy alpine scrub.”

If that doesn’t sound like fun, I don’t know what does.

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