LITTLETON, N.H. (AP) — A Vermont woman is believed to be the first person to complete an ambitious hiking challenge in the White Mountains, hiking 48 mountains every month for a year.
Sue Johnston said she hiked every one of New Hampshire's 4,000-foot mountains each month of 2016, The Concord Monitor reported (http://bit.ly/2jqEmHB).
The challenge is known as the Grid, and it takes most hikers years to complete. Completing the Grid requires hiking each mountain in every month — for example, hiking Mount Eisenhower in January 1999, in February 2005, in March 2016, in April 2017, etc. There are 48 mountains that top 4,000 feet in the White Mountains, but hiking them all in one year or in order isn't required.
Johnston, who's 51 years old, said December was her most difficult month. She spent 21 days hiking last month. In July, she spent 119 hours hiking over a period of 10 days. She completed the Grid on Dec. 26, atop Mount Isolation in Pinkham Notch.
The state's hiking community, not the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation, tracks the challenge.
Johnston is from Danville, Vermont. But she and her husband, Chris Scott, temporarily moved to Littleton, New Hampshire, so she could complete the challenge.
Johnston has been hiking in the White Mountains for 30 years, giving her a familiarity with the mountains necessary for attempting such a feat.
She said she was inspired to give the challenge a try three years ago after some people on an online hiking forum said it was impossible.
"I said I think you could, if you didn't work, if you didn't have kids at home, and I started thinking, 'That's me. I have that lifestyle, and I love to hike,'" Johnston told the Monitor.
Taking on extreme outdoor challenges isn't new for Johnston. She hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1994, has run in 26 100-mile races and hiked to the highest point in almost all 50 states.
This story has been corrected to show Johnston is from Vermont, not New Hampshire.