So you want to attempt a one-day Presidential Traverse? Here are some tips and guidelines:

• To do a complete Traverse, start with Mt. Madison and then progress to Adams, Jefferson, Clay, Washington, Monroe, Franklin, Eisenhower and Pierce. From there you can decide to go out the Crawford Path to Crawford Notch, or continue over to Jackson and/or Webster.

Due to the network of trails, it is possible to cross the ridge without bagging a single peak. However, most peak-baggers looking to join the 4,000-footers club may want to capture the eight peaks available.

While both Clay and Franklin are above 4,000 feet, they are technically not considered part of the 4,000 footers because they do not rise more than 200 feet above the lowest point on the range where they connect to other summits.

• Most attempts take place around the longest day of the year: the summer solstice in June. Otherwise, unless you’re a quick hiker, plan to spend some of the day hiking in the dark.

• Make sure you have a map and compass. The trail above tree line is only marked with rock pylons in most places, making it easy to get lost – especially in poor conditions. The Appalachian Mountain Club (http://www.outdoors.org) can provide more information.

• Plan carefully. Make sure you spot cars along the route so you have a place to bail out if the weather is bad. If you’re hiking in a large group, make sure that you have designated meeting spots (or message places along the way – the hut log books, for example). Different hiking speeds will likely string the group out along the ridge.

• Consider where you’re spending the night before and after; if it’s an inn, make sure that they’re willing to accommodate you, given the fact that you’ll be up by 2:30 a.m. and back likely around 9 p.m.

• Make sure you have the right equipment and weather gear (no jeans!). The weather can change on a dime, so packing rain gear and an extra top is definitely worth it.

• Don’t count on the auto road on Mount Washington being open. One member of our group managed to catch the last ride of the day down the road before it was shut for the afternoon due to weather conditions. The cog railway is another option.

• Don’t underestimate the difficulty that such a trip presents, even if you have experience doing technical hiking on much higher peaks. The White Mountains can be unforgiving.

• Above all, have fun. If you’ve got a nice day, enjoy some of the spectacular views. If the clouds have you socked in, there’s still plenty of rock formations, alpine gardens and even other hikers to occupy your time.


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