Nearly every Labor Day weekend, I try and get up to NH to hike in the White Mountains. For years I went up Mt. Washington, which I still enjoy, but I got sick of hiking to the top and needing to cross a parking lot before reaching the summit.

So last year, instead of just a day hike, I started backpacking different peaks in the area. A friend from high school showed us the ropes to backpacking and he had us hooked immediately. This year Matt and my sister Kate and I went north of Mt. Washington to hike Mt. Adams and Mt. Madison. Hurricane Earl gave us a wet night at the campground prior to hiking, but we were all good sports about it. Especially my sister whose tent was flooded by 1am forcing her to sleep in the car.

Though rain had been predicted for the whole weekend in New Hampshire, we lucked out. While at the top of Mt. Adams our first day it was cold and windy, there were still great views. And I love how on the top of a mountain you can see the shadows of the clouds on the world beneath. I also love that the weather can be so unexpected. You never know what you are going to get up there.

We camped just below the tree line at Crag Camp. This was high-class living compared to our previous night. There were four walls and bunks, but no electricity and the bathroom was still the great outdoors. But those four walls helped to keep us warm and were much more welcoming than the wet tents we’d already packed up.

On our second day we hiked to Mt. Madison. It was windy and 100-feet from the top, the wind was so strong, I opted not to summit (check in later this week for a more in-depth story about this).

This years’ hikes had some of the favorite trails I’ve seen in the White Mountains. The way up and down were lined with brooks and waterfalls. The air was clean and fresh and when I was done, I couldn’t wait to go again. Maybe next year, I’ll fit in a trip or two before Labor Day.