I am a peak bagger. For many years my goal has been to reach the summits of the 48 peaks over 4000 feet in New Hampshire.
My first peak was Mt. Washington in 1956 with a group of girls from the summer camp in Vermont that I was lucky to attend. Mt. Washington, the tallest at 5288 feet, is the first mountain for many people. It is very high and the hike is above tree line for a long way from any direction, so the views are stunning.
To further the popularity of that area, Washington sits midway along a treeless range, the Presidentials. The views are exquisitely beautiful. The range is very dangerous in a storm and deserves every bit of respect it gets. There are huts an easy day's hike from one another along the range during the summer, which make a long traverse possible. What a place!
I climbed many of the peaks in the 1970s and 1980s, some solo and some with friends, and some more than once, while I lived in Vermont. After maybe 15 peaks, the bug to start counting bit me.
I climbed Mt. Tecumseh in the Waterville Valley last Thursday, alone and in intermittent rain with a bit of white stuff higher up. That's my #35! I have 13 left, some of which are isolated and difficult. I think I will have to move to New Hampshire next summer for several weeks for a big push!
What keeps me going? The rare sense of complete joy upon reaching the ridge line, which is often near but not right at the summit cone. Reaching the summit gives me other feelings entirely having to do with lunch and the views.