A Presidential Retrospective – featuring Sara McLachlan

Every time I hike one of the Presidential peaks, I struggle to find the words to describe the experience. I don’t know what it is, but the Presidentials are just something else – magnificent, raw, humbling, and rocky as hell.

Last week I hiked my last remaining Presidential, Mount Monroe, and once again I’m struggling to find the words – also, procrastination and general laziness.

As the words are escaping me at this moment, instead I turned to the soothing lyrics of Sara McLachlan to encapsulate this retrospective journey through all my hikes of the White Mountain’s Presidential peaks…

I will remember you, Mount Pierce, will you remember me? Don’t let your cairns pass you by… weep not for the memories.

But seriously, Mount Pierce, do you remember me? I hiked you once with my mom (the day after I dragged her up Moosilauke), she hated me that day and she kind of hated you too. But I thought you weren’t so bad, even if that trail down to Mizpah Hut was steep AF.

Remember the good times we had, Mount Eisenhower? I let them slip away from us when things got bad. You assaulted us with wind both up Crawford Path and down Edmands Path. I nearly lost my puffy jacket to your winds that day, you gusty fuck. But how clearly I first saw you smilin’ in the sun, and then you turned on me. I just want to feel your warmth upon me – no really, can you stop trying to blow me the fuck off this mountain!? I want to be the one. C’mon man, really!? I’m just trying to hike you, LET ME LIVE MY LIFE!

I will remember you, Eisenhower, will you remember me? Don’t let your cairns pass you by, just stop trying to steal everyone’s puffy jacket you windy fool.  I weep not for the memories. No really, it’s just the wind making my eyes watery. I’m not crying, you’re crying – SHUT UP, IKE!!

I’m so tired but I can’t sleep, Mount Adams and Madison. Because it’s 3:00am and my friend Dave is finishing his 48 and insists upon getting to the trailhead at the ass crack of dawn. You were my 14th and 15th peaks and little did I know at the time, I would be standin’ on the edge of something much too deep you rocky sonofabitch. How in the hell did I climb you this early on in my 4000 footer journey. I must be a psychopath or something, what in the world was I thinking!?

It’s funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word, Mount Jefferson. I’m afraid of heights, you see, and your Terrifying 25 Caps Ridge sure did terrify me. I bled, I wept, I tore my favorite Lululemon leggings on you (RIP). And as I mourn the loss of my favorite Lulu sausage leg-casings, still we are screaming inside, but we can’t be heard. (good thing Lululemon has a generous return policy.)

I will remember you, Mount Jefferson (you mean little turd with your sharp ass rocks), will you remember me? Don’t let your cairns pass you by (and don’t let the door hit you on the way out, bitch). I wept when I hike you, but when I think of you now, I smile, and weep not for the memories. 

Oh, Mount Washington, I was so afraid to love you but more afraid to lose. And by lose, I mean literally losing my two friends because your summit is busier than Times Square. But I wasn’t clinging to a past that doesn’t let me choose – and well, I really had no other choice but to wait an hour in line with other flipflop tourists from God knows where to get a photo in front of you. Who the hell wears flipflops on top of a mountain!? Seriously, WTF Washington!? Get your shit together, man!

Once there was a darkness, Mount Monroe, deep and endless night. It has been raining for weeks, with no end in sight. But finally, the skies cleared and you gave me everything you had, Mount Monroe, oh you gave me life – I wonder if you would like to be my dad? We hiked a trail less traveled to get to you – and oh, she was a beauty. But don’t worry Jimmy-james – your secret trail is safe with me.

I will remember you, Monroe, will you remember me? Don’t let your cairns pass you by, weep not for the memories.


Yes, I will remember you, White Mountain Prezis, will you remember me?

Hey, I’m sorry I went off on you back there, I’m really trying to work on my anger issues. I do really love you, it’s just complicated with me. My therapist thinks it has something to do with self-esteem issues, and not being breast fed as a child.

Anyway, don’t let your cairns pass you by… seriously though, people die on this shit you really need to check the MWOBS forecast if you are even thinking of doing this crap. Don’t be a dumb fuck. 

That’s a wrap on my first time around the White Mountain Presidentials: Pierce #11, Adams #14, Madison #15, Eisenhower #16, Jefferson #31, Washington #32, and finally – Monroe #36. I cannot wait to see all you again – hopefully less angry, and less Sara McLachlan.

Weep not but THANK YOU for the memories!


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