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By Burgeon Outdoor
Ask anyone that has visited or lived in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and they’ll bask in the memories of breathtaking waterfalls and 360-degree views. The White Mountains have a long history with roots in a community and culture focused on life outside. This rich environment draws people from all over, some relocating for life.
Philip Carcia and Taylor Tognacci are two of those people. Although they relocated to New Hampshire as adults, they have hiked every mile of trail and more within the White Mountains region. Both have completed well-known thru-hikes such as the Appalachian Trail.
Growing up in Whistler, Mass., Philip Carcia did not go on a “real” hike until he was 16. Carcia remembers making nearly every mistake a new hiker can make, but now with over 20 years of experience and 20,000 miles of trail and counting, his expertise continues to be reinvented as he faces new challenges on and off the trail.
In 2018, he completed a Single Year Grid which requires hiking all 48 4,000-foot peaks every month within a calendar year. This accomplishment caught national attention and inspired Carcia to continue to pioneer endurance feats in the White Mountains.
Around the time Carcia began to focus his time and energy on specific endurance feats in the White Mountains, Taylor Tognacci was just getting started.
It wasn’t until Taylor moved to New Hampshire in 2016 that she began to discover the wonders of the White Mountains and hiking in general. “I was up here, and I didn’t really know anyone. I thought hiking would be a fun thing I could do on my own in the Lakes Region where I live.” Less than five years later she completed the Appalachian Trail.
Both Carcia and Tognacci agree that hiking isn’t just a hobby. It is a way of life. While they may have hiked many of the same trails, the reasons they return, the goals they pursue, and their all-time favorites differ.
For Carcia, “The times I’ve felt the happiest, the most fulfilled, and the most worked to my bones was hiking the White Mountains Direttissima.” It is a highly unconventional route that can range anywhere from 220 to 240 miles, summiting all 48 4,000 footers with about 80,000 to 100,000 feet of elevation gain.
Tognacci has hiked all of the 4,000 footers in New Hampshire and currently has a goal to complete her Single Year Grid. Her all-time favorite hike in the White Mountains is a much different experience than that of Carcia, as it happens to be one of the most popular hikes in the region: the Franconia Ridge Loop.
“Sometimes I do it as a day hike but have done it overnight a couple of times,” says Tognacci. “I like it because you can camp out and add different side trails to keep things interesting. The views from that trail are amazing. You’re walking above the treeline for miles and miles.”
Other hikes that Carcia and Tognocci recommend:
For beginners, waterfall hikes are an excellent way to experience the White Mountains. If you are looking for drama and a place to get up close and personal with the water, Arethusa Falls in Crawford Notch is an iconic location. Ripley Falls in Crawford Notch and Glen Ellis Falls in Pinkham Notch are other suggestions.
For intermediate hikers, Mount Moosilauke is a must-hike 4,000-footer. Starting at the Ravine Lodge, it follows a very well-maintained trail and takes most hikers anywhere from ½ to ¾ of a day to complete. Check the weather forecast to ensure you have clear skies for the 360-degree views at the top.
Experienced hikers looking for an endurance hike should try any of the triple crowns in the White Mountains:
Presidential Traverse: an 20.5-mile traverse covering seven 4,000 footers.
Pemi Loop: a circumnavigation of the Pemigewasset wilderness, you summit eight 4,000 footers and is regarded as one of the hardest day hikes in the United States. Plus, it includes Tognacci’s favorite hike: Franconia Ridge.
Hut to Hut: a 50-mile day hike (midnight to midnight) connecting all of the operating huts maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club. Most people do it over several days enjoying the meals, lodging, and comfort of the huts.
Regardless of your level of experience, gear plays an important role. Burgeon Outdoor is a quality clothing brand with a mission of transparency and a warm community culture. All of their apparel and equipment is manufactured in New Hampshire enriching the local economy and providing job security to the people of the White mountains.
Available in multiple colors, this soft and cozy hoodie will keep you warm on the trails and look good in town as well. Made of a luxurious microfleece fabric, this hoodie will ensconce you in comfort and warmth. The material has a distinctive and stylish waffle pattern to give the product additional depth as well as color contrast. For fit, we recommend you go up one size if you like a looser fitting garment.
Shop the Highlander hoodie on Burgeonoutdoor.com.
Named the overall best hiking shirt by Field & Stream, the Flume is a blend of Tencel (made from trees!) and spandex. Tencel is naturally wicking, naturally odor resistant, thermo-regulating, and crazy comfortable. The ¼ zip adds a bit of style for your après hike or ski activities, ensuring comfort on the mountain and style wherever you go. Available in multiple colors for both women and men.
Shop the Flume Baselayer on Burgeonoutdoor.com.
Carcia and Tognocci share a love for a few articles of clothing that keep them dry, comfortable, and protected no matter the weather.
Two favorites for both hikers come from Burgeon Outdoor. Located in Lincoln, N.H., Burgeon is well known for manufacturing their clothing in-house and taking a holistic view of sustainably producing clothing. They are a pillar in the White Mountains hiking community and a part of many locals’ lives. Carcia and Tognacci swear by the Burgeon Outdoor Flume Baselayer and the Highlander Hoodie.
The Flume Baselayer is the perfect base layer for the White Mountains because it is lightweight and breathable, while still providing the necessary warmth to function in a layering system. Tognacci wore her Flume Baselayer daily on her 2021 Appalachian Trail thru hike — it is the most comfortable base layer she owns.
The Highlander Hoodie not only looks great, but it is a highly functional mid-layer. Tognacci has an in-depth review of the Highlander Hoodie on her YouTube channel. She remarks that it is comfortable, warm, lightweight, and better functionally designed than other similar products.
While the Flume Baselayer and the Highlander Hoodie are definite favorites, other picks for Carcia and Tognacci include the Powerwool Beanie, Franconia Midlayer, and the Sunseeker Hoodie.
Burgeon Outdoor is a unique brand that designs its clothing for the White Mountains. It is no wonder that expert hikers like Carcia and Tognacci, who spend their days hiking and running in the Whites, choose Burgeon as their go-to clothing brand.
“The clothing Burgeon makes is so versatile and breathable that it can be worn in a variety of different weather and environmental situations. It’s perfect for the White Mountains year-round,” says Carcia.
To shop the products mentioned in this article, please visit Burgeon Outdoor.
You can follow Philip Carcia on TikTok and Instagram. You can follow Taylor Tognacci on YouTube and Instagram.
Sponsored by Burgeon Outdoor
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