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August 18th, 2008

a little late in the season

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2008/08/17/a_beautiful_place_to_die/

After all, school starts around here in a week. Flip side, the fall shoulder season is definitely the one in which people do Teh Stupid in the Whites.

Multi-page article, gets the basics right (_yes_ carry AMC's White Mountain Guide), has some entertaining stories. The usual, expected mockery of people wearing inappropriate (read: cotton) clothing and carrying inadequate and/or inappropriate supplies while overly relying on cell phones and/or GPS to save their tushies when the weather (expectably) turns ugly.

Yes, I, too, have hiked up into the Whites late in the fall. It's a nice time: cool weather, the trails aren't as crowded. I, too, have encountered sharp temperature and weather changes. Yeah, and I fucking turned around and went back to a reasonable campsite and figured that was good enough. The real problem out here -- barely touched upon in this article -- is the massive emphasis on summiting. And repeat summiting: "bagging" all the peaks over a certain height, for example, or hiking an entire range in a small number of days, or whatever.

I don't hike these days (ha! I barely go for a walk right now), and I don't miss it (the view out the windows is really quite incredible). There will come a day when I go back up into the mountains. I hope, when I do, I maintain my capacity to mock the competitiveness and goal-centric attitude of all too many people found on the trails of the Whites.