Balance is a good thing. If one lives in a rural area, it’s a good plan to get into the city once in awhile and vice-versa if you live downtown. For me, the balance comes from winter hiking in the White Mountains.

There are many trails in the Whites and the Cascade Brook Trail is one of my favorites. It follows a beautiful brook and at the top of the trail is a big payoff in the form of a spectacular view of Mt. Lafayette and its neighbors.

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Sometimes I will stay overnight in one of the AMC huts up there, but weekends are crowded and sleep is unlikely. Usually, the day hike is best for me. If I leave Boston at eight I can be in Franconia Notch by 11. It’s pretty easy to get in a five-mile hike in four hours and be back at the base by three pm, before dark, although night hiking in the winter is cool if you have the right headlamp. After a quick stop at a gastro-pub in some small New Hampshire town, it’s back to Boston.

I don’t do summer hiking because I don’t like the heat, the bugs, the crowds, and the rocky trails. Winter hiking is safe as long as you don’t freeze to death or impale yourself on a sharp stump.

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At the beginning of each hike, I feel out of shape and I’m sucking wind, but after a couple of miles, if I stay hydrated, I feel great, healthy, and well, a bit free.

If you decide to try winter hiking, make sure to study up on best practices and best gear.

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Maybe I’ll see you on the trail.