We were contacted by a young man from New York City who, along with three friends, wanted to try hiking. This was a last minute booking, they literally wanted to give it a go in two days, but they had no hiking clothing, no hiking gear (we solved that), and really zero experience. For these fellows, being new to hiking was a complete understatement. We will admit, we are ignorant about life in the city never having lived in one, having only visited a handful of them a handful of times, and we do admittedly rely heavily on what we see on television to fill in the blanks about city life. Ready for an episode of F·R·I·E·N·D·S, anyone?
Meanwhile, we’re always tramping about in the mountains, and we see people who are clearly out of their element all the time. Yet we assume the separation from not knowing to knowing is a small one, easily bridged with a handful of tips and tricks, maybe throwing in a couple hikes with a buddy who knows a thing or two. The starting point, however, as we learned, may not begin with an in-built knowledge of nature and the outdoors. A knowledge we take for granted. Our guests may have only seen trees in a park, a park they don’t go to. Or on a tree-lined street where they appear one-by-one in front of narrow homes bearing a brick facade. We know these places exist from T.V. and from photos.
So, when a person hiking a mountain, approaching by way of a northern mixed forest and soon approaching the boreal, krummholz, and alpine zones asks if they are in a forest, we suddenly realize how much we didn’t know. From that point very early on Redline Guide Mike Cherim tried extra hard to fill in the blanks, helping our guests stay safe and make the most of the experience. To ensure these young men from New York City, three still in their teens, had an awesome time that will reside in their memories for years. Students one and all, this would be their last hurrah, so to speak, before buckling down to work on their careers in sports (NBA), finance, business, and one still undecided.
We suggested a half day to start, to ease in, but these guys really wanted to make a full day of it. The term “go big or go home” came to mind, though they didn’t say that. But we wanted to make sure this hike wasn’t going to be too easy or too mundane. We wanted it to impress them, to wow them, and it did. The trail they were on, the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail, is gorgeous with a ton of character and variety. And the objective, the 5384′ Mt Monroe is one of the taller 4000-footers in NH (ranking #4/48). It’s a pretty mountain with a rugged approach. Not our toughest by any means, so with the right support, a good choice for these young men. (And a nice wedding spot, too.)
It was tough for them to hike this hike. They dug deep at times. They will no doubt have some sore muscles for a few days. Cramps kept one of them (thus, all of them) from reaching the top, but what they accomplished is nonetheless impressive. The mountain, as Mike taught them, will be there another day. Maybe someday they will come back. One was very stoked to learn more and spoke of hiking big mountains someday. He, like his guide, seemed to relish the experience. Mike tied to capture it all and took a lot of video, with which it we made the this mini-movie. Enjpy!