Thru-Hiker's Guide to America

Cohos Trail Introduction
By E. Schlimmer
trail image
Looking south to Franconia Ridge and the twin mountains from the summit of Mount Martha. (Photo © E. Schlimmer)

Excerpted from Thru Hiker's Guide to America by E. Schlimmer

While throngs of people eat chili dogs and buy matching T-shirts atop Mount Washington, or Appalachian Trail thru-hikers sleep shoulder-to-shoulder in the dark, dank basement of an expensive Appalachian Mountain Club hut, the Cohos Trail (CT) hiker can quietly enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at a remote campsite in a New Hampshire region where few others venture. Starting south of the White Mountains Presidential Range near the town of Glen and meandering north to the Canadian border, this trail is more of a mountain trail than an easygoing lowland route, crossing several peaks that exceed 3,500 feet in elevation.

When the prime mover behind this trail, Kim Robert Nilsen, envisioned a wild trail in New Hampshire, he pictured it in a place called Coos (pronounced COE-aas) County, the largest and most northern county in New Hampshire. Now a reality, the Cohos Trail leads hikers to see the other side of the White Mountains. Instead of heading deep into the popular Presidential, Franconia, and Carter ranges, the CT climbs only one peak in the Presidential Range—Mount Eisenhower (4,780 feet)—satisfied, the trail then heads off to lesser-known points.

There are more than 140 trail miles already established for the hiker who wants to enjoy northern New Hampshire, and with a little luck, the rest of the CT’s projected route should be fully in place and off road by 2010. Trail relocations, particularly in the Presidential Range’s Dry River Wilderness Area, will follow. Recently, a new second-edition guidebook has been released, six information kiosks are being installed, and a CT data book is being worked on, too. In addition to these improvements, more campsites with moldering latrines will soon be in place in the far north.

The first person to thru-hike the Cohos Trail was Susan Kenn, of Lincoln, New Hampshire. Kenn spent the first three days of her 2000 thru-hike with some partners but then blazed the rest of her hike solo.

Article © McGraw-Hill. All rights reserved.


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