Felipe Carcia climbs the White Mountain Guide in the summer season

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It was calm at the front of the road, and the parking spaces were mostly empty because the sun had set hours ago. The stars are out, the wind is stormy. Every now and then, a pair of headlights would sweep the way from a lonely car zigzagging on its way to the scenic Kancamagos Highway in New Hampshire. Temperatures would have dropped nearly to freezing later that night – summer was giving way to dips in the White Mountains.

Around 9:30 p.m., a pair of headlights broke out of the trees and onto the sidewalk. In jackets and shorts, Felipe Carcia and his hiking partner Will Peterson drove into a waiting SUV, where local hiker Joe Bisco delivered pizzas and Coca-Cola. Karcia had just completed 40 miles of the day, one of the final stages in his all-season attempt to hike every track documented at the Appalachian Mountain Club. white mountain guide in one summer.

“The one-season White Mountain Guide is something I define as the act of hiking all 650 base trails plus the White Mountains Guide in one summer,” Karcia said. And on September 19, two days after I met him in Canc, Karcia completed the project. It was his third attempt.

Over the course of approximately 90 days, Carcia traveled 1,958.3 miles for a total of 570,369 vertical feet, mostly singly, almost entirely in White Mountain National Forest. He averaged about 22 miles a day and ended with White Dirtissima Mountainsties all 48 feet of New Hampshire’s 4,000 feet together.

Carcia runs miles on a summer’s day. (Photo: Felipe Carcia)

The manual itself details 1,600 “clean miles,” but ends up raising them all to more: “Because of the road complexities in the network, you fall back a little bit,” Karcia said. The project requires as much logistical challenge as it does physical endurance. The included trails extend across the state and even into western Maine. Their total is a tangle of lines on the map that most hikers in their lifetime will never cover.

“If you go to North Presidential Square, and you look at the networks responsible for them, there are dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens of tracks on one side of the mountain,” Karcia said. “It looks like a plate of spaghetti was thrown at him.”

To make it happen, he spent summers mostly living out of his converted Toyota Yaris and spending hours driving between lanes, arranging buses, and wrangling at Biscoe-assisted logistics. Carcia only took two days off all summer – one planned and one forced due to a broken phone and car repairs. To his knowledge, Carcia is the only person to have conceived or attempted this feat, and now, after his third attempt (he narrowly missed the ratings by one season in 2020 and 2021), he is the only parker to have completed it. .

The project required more discipline than almost anything that Karcia, a former park by hiker had experienced. Devote the entire summer months to traveling the miles, ignoring the temptations to stop in town for ice cream on a hot day or meet friends for dinner, often opting for a little stroll instead.

Part of the project’s allure, Karcia said, is the blurring of the lines between ultra-light backpacking and mountain running, along with the tradition of peaking in bags that stretch deep into the northeast.

After three harsh summers, Karcia is relieved to do so.

“I remember I was sitting on the dirt road over there that leads to the head of the road [that marked the completion of the project]and just having a very quiet moment and feeling the weight of three years is just slowly starting to slip off my shoulder,” he said.

Carcia is taking a quiet moment at Moosilauke Ravine Lodge after completing the last leg of his hike. (Photo: Felipe Carcia)

Once he finished his hike, Karcia spent hours over three days checking the data to make sure he really did: digging through records and maps of 650 trails and interconnecting spurs and giving himself a few days before the equinox. Go back and pick up anything you missed.

“You become kind of closely aware and connected to the network and its complexities,” he said.

Karcia himself is no stranger to hunting down mysterious endurance projects in eggs. In 2019 complete a Record number “one-year network” From 48 feet in New Hampshire’s 4,000 feet, hikes take place every month of the year.

After all, there are few people who know the White Mountains as closely as Carcia.

“Going into this project, I already knew I was going to love and hate him all the time,” he said. “At this point, in a really nice way, there aren’t many surprises. The hike is really hard, and it’s a long way through the valley and through the peaks and back to where I started. But you know, I love it nonetheless.”

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