#1 Jackson

Pro tip number one: don’t forget your hiking boots.

The last mile of this icy hike would have been a hell of a lot easier had I been wearing anything but my worn out Nikes. In case you haven’t already figured it out, this is not going to be a professional hiking blog.

The ice only got worse from here.

I’m not an expert when it comes to the skills, the gear, or the trails themselves. If you’re looking for pro tips, this is not the place. This is about telling a story, which begins with this hike of Jackson mountain, and will end when I finish re-hiking the 48; the 48 mountains in New Hampshire that are 4000 feet or larger.

This won't be the first time I've hiked the 48.

I finished the 48 when I was 15 years old. Now I’m 30, and since finishing my 48, I’ve hardly hiked anything.

I have so many scattered memories of the 48 and the people I hiked them with -- my dad, my brother, and a few friends who rotated in and out over the years. Many of these memories have blurred together so that it’s hard to remember which peaks were which.

Halfway there and already the view is amazing.

The 48 changed my life

I can’t recall all of the specifics, but I can say that the 48 changed my life. Hiking mountains instills in you a certain type of mindset that few other experiences can recreate. Nature doesn’t care if you're tired, hungry, or frustrated. Whether it’s hot, cold, wet, or snowy, the only way off of a mountain is through it.

Hiking the 48 taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my life.

Just because something’s tough doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Comfort is a luxury that we should never sit in for too long. The lesson has stuck with me, but as I got into high school, it was overpowered by all of the other typical noise. Hiking with my dad and brother wasn't "cool" anymore.

As I grew older, I began once again to appreciate nature through sports like surfing and rock climbing, but it's taken me a long time to return to hiking. After a few years of wandering, I've moved back in New Hampshire. I have a full time job, and a part time job, while trying to establish myself as a photographer/videographer and blogger, and trying my best to be there for the people I love, to be a good partner and dog dad.

Rio enjoying the view from the top. She earned it.

Life can feel overwhelming at times.

It’s now more than ever that I need the mountains and all of the amazing things that they can teach and remind me of. That’s also why I’ve started this blog; I want to invite you all on this journey with me.

My hope is that we’ll have some laughs, learn some lessons, and give something back in the process. For every summit I complete, I plan to donate a small amount to the AMC. I'm going to start with $10 for every peak, but depending on how things go, I'm hoping I can do more than that. And maybe with this blog I'll be able to inspire others to support the AMC in their own ways as well.

If you're interested in supporting the AMC, click here to donate.

My mom making the final push up Jackson.

I love the outdoors

Especially the White Mountains of New Hampshire, which have given me so much. I know I’m not alone, and I look forward to connecting with everyone else who feels the same! Share in the comments below how the outdoors has changed your life! 

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on the next summit!

View of Washington from the Jackson summit

About the Author

Zach is a photographer and writer, but above all else, he is a lifelong learner who is always looking for new ways to challenge himself. Zach is also an avid hiker, writer, and athlete. He grew up hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and thoroughly believes that the mountains taught him all of his most valuable lessons. Zach believes in the power of nature and the power of stories, both of which he brings to his life coaching process. Throughout his life, he has always loved to share his passions and help other people find their own.