With some good planning, we had our goal in the bag within 16 hikes ranging from 20 km to about 48 km. However, most people complete the 46ers over the course of a few years. Some do it with their kids, some before specific milestones, and some enjoy a few peaks here and there solely for the beautiful views they can enjoy. I think the essential reason we could finish them all within one season is how dedicated we were to our Fridays: going on a weekly hike really improves your overall fitness and specific endurance for hiking, making the weekly outings significantly easier than it they were sporadically spread out over a few years.
Later in the season, humidity and high temperatures were another challenge. Bringing more than enough water is really key to an enjoyable hike in the middle of the summer. And of course, we had the occasional downpour. With the appropriate gear, those experiences do not slow you down much and they are part of the hiking experience. In fact, it feels great to know that whatever weather we encounter, we are still up for it and enjoying what the mountains can give us.
Not surprisingly, it's too hard to say! If I've learned one thing doing the 46ers, it is how people's opinions on each peak can vary significantly depending on their personal experience the day of. Weather, temperature, dehydration, and fitness are all aspects that can really alter one's feedback on a specific hike.The Dix Range was probably our favorite hike because we were lucky enough to do it on a weekend where so few people were out hiking that we really had the feeling of having the mountains to ourselves. On top of that, 4 of the 5 peaks in the range offer beautiful views, some even 360°! We also had a lot of fun hiking Allen, although everyone we had talked to said it was the most boring hike. The long approach is admittedly uneventful although still beautiful, but the ascent is very engaging, crossing multiple streams on steep rocks. Allen has a treed summit, but pushing a few meters further exposes a view of the Great Range, which is totally worth it!
Also in my top 3 hikes is Algonquin, Wright and Iroquois. It was our first of the season in early May, so most of our way down those peaks was done sliding down melting ice (most often not purposely, for me) while wearing shorts because the temperatures were changing and allowed for that funny contrast. But more importantly, the views were breathtaking and nothing compares to the feeling you get when scrambling over rocks as you follow the yellow painted lines all the way to the top once in the alpine zone.
If you own a dog (or a goat, yes, some people hike with goats), know that a few trails are dog/pet friendly. As long as you keep in mind the basic motto "Leave no trace behind", you can bring your furry friend along with you for some exciting adventures in the woods!
When it comes to clothing, most of it is up to personal preferences. However, try to avoid cotton and stick to merinos and synthetic fabrics which will wick away moisture to keep you comfortable for long days. I also like wearing a hat which not only helps to protect my eyes from the sun, but also helps with sweat and branches getting stuck in my hair. The last very important item you need is a pair of shoes you feel comfortable with. Zach and I both run a lot, so we chose to use trail running shoes for our hikes. They are lighter and models such as the Ultra MT or the Ultra Endurance offer great grip even on icy, snowy or wet rocks.
If you need more support, do not hesitate to look into hiking shoes like the Hedgehog Hike and the Ultra Fastpack, which will be stiffer. Higher hiking boots like the Hedgehog Hike Mid which will procure even more ankle support, are ideal when carrying a heavy backpack.
Now it's your turn! Take on the challenge, embark on this journey with friends or family, share your favorite peaks and tell us how it feels to be on top of your 46th peak!
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