View Full Version : Sue Johnston redlines the White Mtn Guide

B the Hiker
12-01-2014, 08:09 AM
From Hiker Ed

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Hi to All

On Saturday, November 29, 2014, Sue Johnston became the
"TWENTY FOURTH" ( #24 ) person to "RED-LINE" all the trails in the "AMC
White Mountain Guide" ( 29TH Edition ).

Sue has now walked every trail in the AMC White Mountain Guide.

Sue's finish was on the Southside Trail, on the summit cone of
Mt Washington. Out and back via Tuckerman Ravine and Lions Head

Sue was joined on this day by husband Chris, and a complement of
friends and well wishers.


I know you will all join me in congratulations to Sue on her completion
of this fun & rewarding goal & achievement.


And, Take Care


"GRID" website: www.48x12.com

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12-01-2014, 08:33 AM
I just learned what "redline" means!

12-01-2014, 12:44 PM
Congratulations, Stinkyfeet!


12-01-2014, 02:22 PM
Congratulations from the land of the GAC'rs:D

Best regards,

TJ aka Teej
12-01-2014, 06:09 PM
Amazing accomplishment!

Lefty E
12-01-2014, 06:43 PM
Congratulations, and really enjoyed all your trip reports, really brought a lot of info on all those "obscure" trails!! The Southside was a good pick, it has a great view!!

12-01-2014, 09:00 PM
Way to go! Congrats!

12-02-2014, 12:21 AM
Excellent stuff, congratulations Sue! :D

12-02-2014, 06:07 AM

12-02-2014, 07:49 AM

Grey J
12-02-2014, 08:30 AM
Sue Johnston is my hero. Mere mortals bow down in her presence. My meager accomplishments are like scraps beneath her table.

12-02-2014, 10:16 AM
Woo-hoo!!! Congratulations!!!!!!

12-02-2014, 10:17 AM
Congratulations. I've enjoyed your take on some of the obscure trails I've been hiking. A fresh perspective is welcome. Redlining is, above all, great fun, for some of us anyway.

12-02-2014, 11:34 AM
Congrats! I have enjoyed reading your off the beaten path reports.:)

12-03-2014, 12:06 PM
Awesome! I love this goal so much more than the grid. Much more variety!

12-03-2014, 02:30 PM
Thank you! It was A LOT of fun trying to complete this crazy list over the past 6 months. The joy is in the journey, of course, and I am kind of sad that it's over now. :(

As mentioned in my last post in Trip Reports, really I have been redlining on and off for the past 25 years, with many starts and stops, but always "keeping track." :rolleyes: In May I decided to finally tackle the last ~300 miles and ~200 trails never striving to finish by year's end until the last month or so when the miles just got too low not to.

Most of the trails were interesting and fun, and I really truly enjoyed every single one of them, even giggling at the absurdity of the hobblebush whack that was Three Ponds Trail and the "blazed bushwhack" that was Middle Mountain Trail in Shelburne. I enjoyed exploring the WMNF beyond the 4k's. The only thing I did not enjoy was all the driving which is why I tried to be as efficient as possible when tackling a particular area - for example, 25 miles on Chocorua in one day, 31 miles around Ferncroft on another, and a few overnights in the Evans-Speckled area.

Once deciding to pursue finishing the list, my first hikes were Peaked Hill Pond, Stinson Mountain, and Rattlesnake Mountain (Rumney) on May 13. Between then and November 29, I covered 309 redlining miles and 196 redlining trails. Total mileage required (between May 13 and Nov 29) for redlining purposes - not including other, nonredlining hikes- was 566 miles (and countless other trails). See? Totally do-able! :)

Some highlights of the last 196 trails:

Favorite hike: Bicknell Ridge-Emerald Pool-Baldface Knob-Chandler Gorge-Slippery Brook loop on Sept. 30. Spectacular display of foliage in Wild River Valley. One of my all-time favorite hikes anywhere!
Least favorite trail: Cold Brook Trail because it's mostly an unmarked road walk - boo.
Pleasant surprises: (Much more enjoyable than expected) southern Pemi Trail, Red Rock Trail, Mill Brook Trail, Black Cap, lower East Branch Trail.
Most hobblebush: Three Ponds "Trail" (bring navigational aids!)
Most miles hiked for least redline miles: Grafton Loop (west) Trail, 17-18 miles for 0.3 campsite spur redline miles. Also opted for a Mahoosuc Traverse in order to claim Trident Col Campsite Spur, 31 miles for 0.2 redline miles.
Amazing ledges: Iron Mountain and East Knob of Red Rock Mountain!!
Best via ferrata: The Eyebrow
Wildlife sightings: Large bear on Scudder Trail, June 11. Large snapping turtle, a first!, on Bickford Brook Trail, June 19. Very territorial, tail-slapping beaver at Fourth Connecticut Lake, June 29. Mama and baby moose at Mountain Pond, October 30. Many, many crazy grouse that seem to get their kicks by charging me.
Best blueberry pickin': Speckled Mountain on July 17 and Albany Mountain on July 22.
Trails I can't believe I'd never done: Champney Falls, Doublehead Mountain, Cathedral and Whitehorse Ledge trails.

I'd planned to finish on Diamond Peaks Trail in honor of Jadwiga Rosenthal, the first female redliner, since that was the trail she finished on, but due to weather and logistical factors it ended up being third from last. A very good friend of mine has a 35-year-old annual tradition of hiking Mt. Washington the Saturday after Thanksgiving. With imminent winter weather, we wanted to snag The Eyebrow during the last good window (talk about getting lucky last Wed pre-storm!). Since Diamond Peaks and Magalloway River Trails were sort of in the neighborhood, we combined them w/Eyebrow and opted to do Southside Trail with the annual Mt. Washington trip.

The Obs weather report for Saturday called for cold temps and some wind in the 20s but also for sunny, clear skies and that made all the difference! As our group of nine reached the Lion Head-Alpine Garden Junction, Chris and I headed for Tuckerman Junction while the others climbed to the summit. Coming off the Lion Head highway, footing on western Alpine Garden, upper Tuckerman and Southside was rather treacherous - an unpredictable combo of styrofoam, soft, and hardpacked snow, frequent postholing onto hidden rocks. Poles were a godsend but we could have also used snowshoes here! As we neared Tuckerman Junction, the wind picked up over the lip, and we headed straight into it, still traversing the ankle-twisting mine field of a trail such that it was. Finally I tagged the sign, laughingly raised my arms for a photo, turned around, and got the heck outa there!

Huge thanks to my husband Chris for indulging me in this endeavor, for selflessly acting as taxi driver so that my out-and-backs were few, and for being such a good sport and trail companion. :)

Onto the next thing...!!

12-03-2014, 03:49 PM
A big congratulations, Sue. Redlining is definitely lots of fun. Sometimes finding the trailheads for some of these trails can be an adventure in itself. I also had to redo some very long hikes to get a very short spur that I had skipped many years ago.

What a great sentiment to honor Jadwiga. I happened to see Jadwiga yesterday on the side of Monroe on an absolutely glorious day. She was hiking Monroe and Washington for her grid. She is getting very close to completion.


John & June

12-03-2014, 04:07 PM
I've had a lot of respect for you after reading your TR's for quite some time. Congratulations.

12-03-2014, 06:45 PM
A truly amazing "feet"! heartfelt congrats!

12-04-2014, 10:56 AM
Least favorite trail: Cold Brook Trail because it's mostly an unmarked road walk - boo.

I find separating out favorites is hard, and the weather plays a factor so there are a lot of 'it depends' when picking through the top trails; however, the least favorite trail is fairly easy. The Link: from Caps Ridge to Castle. Granted, I still have a long way to go, this trail is far and away my least favorite.

Tom Rankin
12-04-2014, 11:11 AM
Most miles hiked for least redline miles: Grafton Loop (west) Trail, 17-18 miles for 0.3 campsite spur redline miles. Also opted for a Mahoosuc Traverse in order to claim Trident Col Campsite Spur, 31 miles for 0.2 redline miles.
LOL, that's the kind of thing that would make me just not do it! :D

12-04-2014, 02:34 PM
Congratulations Sue. A really great accomplishment, especially the part that you continued to do it over multiple decades. Your hikes are inspirational, and you are living the words of Tom Petty: "you never slow down, you never grow old." Words to live by. Well done.

Becca M
12-05-2014, 01:39 PM
Well-played!!!! Welcome to the club :)

12-06-2014, 09:33 PM
Congratulations Sue Johnston ... very impressive finish. Enjoyed your list of highlights. So, what's next? For that matter, what's left?? :)

12-09-2014, 04:30 AM
So, what's next? For that matter, what's left?? :)

A lot!! Somehow the list of things to do is always growing longer, not shorter. Currently am in the midst of a month-long "yoga immersion" of sorts, trying to get 30 classes (90 min each) in in 30 days. This is Day 9 and I feel great! :)

Then there are all those other trails and mountains out there. Yep, there's a lot left!

Tom Rankin
12-10-2014, 06:01 AM
Now you people have done it! The disease is spreading!



12-11-2014, 08:32 AM
Now you people have done it! The disease is spreading!



I've only recently been introduced to the Daks (a Great Range traverse on a gorgeous day this past July), and one thing I noticed in looking for maps/guidebooks is that there's more reliance on 'informal' trails than in the Whites - and that different maps will include/omit varying sets of these trails. So in order to remove any ambiguity around the redlining feat, folks would need to embrace a single standard source. I suppose one could limit things to just the 'official' trails, but though it's a start, it misses so much. What do you Dak experts think - is there in fact an obvious solution?


Tom Rankin
12-11-2014, 04:24 PM
The thread I referenced talked about this, it is generally agreed that you should count the 'herd paths' to the 46. Many of these are adopted and maintained legally now, BTW.

How far out you go is another matter. The ADKs encompass a lot more than the High Peaks.