Presidential Traverse

Morning Light on Madison

Given the amount of pain that our bodies were in, none of us would fess up to whose idea it was to hike the entire Presidential Range in a day. Granted, the idea isn’t something far-fetched, however, none of us have done much hiking lately. A Presidential Traverse consists of a minimum of around 18 miles, 8000 feet of cumulative elevation gain, and reaching the summits of Monroe, Adams, Jefferson, Washington, Monroe, Eisenhower, and Pierce. Franklin and Clay are optional, with the additional option of continuing on to Webster. The average time for a traverse is somewhere around 14 hours, although the record is somewhere under 5 hours.

Starting the hike at 4:30 AM by headlamp is common. My camera was tucked away inside my pack for whenever I had enough light and energy to fish it out. Carrying 4 lbs of camera gear didn’t make the trip any easier and the only reassuring thought I had was that I didn’t bring the tripod. Off and on, I’d shoot something, then tuck it away. Other times, I felt too exhausted to take off my pack to grab the camera. The mile long trudge up Mt Washington was my low point, and I wanted photos of the Cog Railroad, but as it passed me by repeatedly, I hardly had the energy to pick up my feet. I suspect the three hours of sleep I got the night before had something to do with it.

People are on the mountains daily and photographing them just as often. In an attempt to get something different, I experimented with more handheld HDR and found once I had the photos on my computer that most of them worked better in black and white due to the composition and lack of much color to begin with. I didn’t bother with panoramics or any infrared, although I could spend days up there playing with either idea. This time around I think I was just lucky with the weather.

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