View Full Version : Presidential Traverse questions

06-09-2008, 01:00 PM
Hi there,

I am planning a 3 day Presidential Traverse in July. I will be hiking solo, north to south, and camping at backcountry sites or tent platforms. My main outdoor playground is California's Sierra Nevada range, and I have moderate experience hiking in other ranges around the world. However, I have no experience in the White Mountains aside from a couple of easier day hikes when I was growing up. I've done some online research on the Traverse (this site in particular has been very helpful!), but there are a few logistical puzzles I'm still trying to work out. Any insight would be great!

I plan to hike up Airline Trail, and if possible I'd like to avoid backtracking down Valley Way to the tent platforms for my first night. However, by the time I make it up to the Madison Hut, it may be that I've run out of time or energy (after flying in on the red-eye the same morning!) to make it to the Perch. I've read that there may be a suitable backcountry site below Edmonds Col near the three-way junction of Grey Knob Trail, Randolph Path and Perch Path. Can anyone think of any other backcountry sites or alternatives between Madison Hut and Edmonds Col?

I can't bring a fuel canister on the airplane, and since I'm somewhat tied to the AMC shuttle schedule, I won't have much time to look for an outfitter store to pick up some fuel. Unless...can anyone recommend a place along Rt.3 or Rt.302 (coming from I-93)?

Sticking to the one-pound-on-your-feet-equals-five-pounds-on-your-back school of thought, I am planning to wear my trail runners. They're sturdy, but offer little ankle support. With that in mind, I've bought trekking poles especially for this trip! I haven't seen much discussion on footwear, so I wanted to make sure that my plan isn't completely idiotic.

It seems that there are a few different options for how to end the trip on the south side. I'm hoping to leave my car at Highland Center (Can I park there for 3 days?), but I may come out at the Webster Cliff trailhead. So....are there any arguments for which peaks to visit and therefore which trailhead to finish at? If I do finish down the road from my car, is hitchhiking a common and safe practice for hikers in the area?

Thanks in advance for any wisdom you can impart, and happy hiking!


Bill O
06-09-2008, 01:09 PM
I can give more details later, but yes, trail runners will be fine. Especially if you are used to hiking in them.

I often wonder if people wear boots because they need ankle support or if they need ankle support because they wear boots.

KD Talbot
06-09-2008, 03:30 PM
The spot you refer to near Edmand's Col is used in winter on snowpack. I'm sure you're aware there is no camping above treeline except on 2' of snowpack. IMO if you could make it to Edamand's Col, you could just as easily make it to The Perch.

Coming up 93, if you stop on Rte. 112 in Lincoln there are several outfitters in Lincoln, though you can get fuel canisters just about anywhere you stop. Also, if you stop into the Mountain Wanderer Bookstore you will meet one of the most knowledgeable people about the White Mountains there is, Steve Smith. He can definitely help you plan your trip.

As Bill says, the trail runners are OK if that is what you are used to. I wear boots, but I tend to get wobbly and stub my toes, so I want the extra protection. Once you are above treeline on this hike you will be on rocks the entire traverse.

You can leave your car at the Highland Center, much safer than the Webster Cliff Trailhead. The difference is a couple of miles and many people hitchhike with good success in this area.

If the weather turns above treeline you can head down the Caps Ridge, Jewell Trail, Ammonoosuc Trail or Edmands Path and have a relatively easy road walk to The Highland Center along the Jefferson Notch/Clinton Road which changes names where it crosses Base Road. Crawford Path brings you right to the Highland Center, but you will be exposed to the elements for a much longer time. Webster Jackson will also bring you very near the HC.

Good luck and we want a trip report with pictures when you're done.


06-09-2008, 09:09 PM
One thing that you'll need to do is get a parking pass for the trailhead parking. They sell them at the visitors center in Lincoln (right where you get off 93) and at some of the stores (not sure which ones). You may be able to just pay with an envelope in the drop box at the parking lot but I'm not sure if every lot has this. We found out last summer that you can't park at Highland Center on days that you aren't staying there (but there is a trailhead parking lot right across the street at the Crawford Path trailhead).

06-11-2008, 01:52 PM
Thanks for the info and advice. I'll post a trip report when I get back!