Our First New Hampshire 4,000-Footer!

We did it! We climbed our first New Hampshire 4,000-foot mountain!

Mt. Tecumseh in Waterville Valley is the smallest of the 48 4,000-footers in New Hampshire. It barely makes the list at 4,003 feet. As Daren Worcester wrote, “Mt. Tecumseh is one good lightning strike away from being knocked off” this list.

We had previously attempted climbing Mt. Tecumseh, but I got sick about half way up the trail. I hated showing that weakness and not being able to finish the hike. But sometimes, the body just isn’t able to perform.

Trail sign for Mt. Tecumseh, our first 4000-footer
Trail sign for Mt. Tecumseh, our first 4000-footer
Donna is ready to climb Mt. Tecumseh
Donna is ready to climb Mt. Tecumseh
We hiked the Mt. Tecumseh trail from Tripoli Road. As an FYI, it is not pronounced Trip-o-lee, as we thought. We learned it is pronounced with a long I (eye) at the end. This trail actually goes up and over the mountain to the Waterville Valley Ski Resort. We opted to go up and come back down the same way.

We started our hike a few minutes before 10 a.m. As I usually do, I asked Earl, “What time do you think we’ll reach the summit?”
“One o’clock,” was his guess.”Sticking to the old 1 mph pace, eh?” I asked. “I think we’ll be there for 12:30 p.m.” And with that, we started up the trail.

You should know that Earl has accused me of running up mountains. For the record, I do not run up mountains. I really don’t. But some days I am so energized by being outside and in the mountains that I might move a bit faster than Earl would like. On this hike, though, I’m going to say that my pack felt so light after what I carried thru the 100-mile wilderness that I couldn’t help but run up the trail. HA HA

It was also a beautiful day for hiking. The temps were mild, the humidity was tolerable. The trail was dry.

The Mt Tecumseh Trail, starting from Tripoli Road is a wonderful trail. It had its steep spots and it’s easier sections. The trail was always evident even though it had very few trail blazes (markers).

We made quick progress up the mountain. We surprised ourselves by reaching the summit a few minutes before 12 p.m.

“That was easier than I expected,” Earl said.

It seemed weird to hear that because we both knew it was also hard. More than once, Earl accused me of running. We took several short breaks to rest and enjoy hiker snacks. But there we were, at the summit, 3.1 miles up a trail that gained 2,200 feet in elevation, in just two hours!

The only bummer of the day was that the summit was crowded and noisy. The summit area was also fairly small. We did meet one hiker, Wendy, who was celebrating her completion of hiking the NH 4,000-footers. Pretty cool. We were just starting, and she was just finishing.

View from the summit of Mt. Tecumseh
View from the summit of Mt. Tecumseh
View of the Waterville Valley Ski Resort from near the summit
View of the Waterville Valley Ski Resort from near the summit

Our hike down was fairly uneventful. We did make note that no one had passed us on the way up the mountain or the way down it. That was also a change for us. It makes me wonder whether we can hold on to the titles of “snails.”

We reached the trail head at around 2 p.m. Our descent took around 1.5 hours. Another sign of improvement in our hiking pace.

With our first NH 4,000-footer completed, we celebrated in our typical fashion. Good food and then ice cream. We have completed 2 percent of our goal. There are only 47 more mountains to climb! Woot!

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