“Many people watch the weather for perfect hiking weather. I personally love to hike on overcast days. While the view at the top is the typical incentive for hikers, a cloudy day allows me to take in what’s around me. I may not get the long view, but I still have views when I taken in the scenery around me - even if I have to hike in the rain. It allows me to appreciate every aspect of the trail.”
Mike loves to hike so much, that he built a life around doing it. He became a guide ten years ago, and opened the doors of Redline Guiding five years later. Migrating from the more populated area of Southern NH, he decided to stop making the regularly scheduled long weekend drive to Mt. Washington Valley, and move here permanently to have all it offers at his fingertips.
“My priority in life is my time. To me, I may own a business, but I’m already retired. Becoming a guide, making the move to Mt. Washington Valley, and owning my own guiding business allows me to have a lot of free time. I can fish, ski, bike at a moment’s notice, and to me, that is my proverbial pot of gold.”
Mike shares that wealth through a myriad of offerings at Redline Guiding. From a Wilderness Navigation Course course to Mountaineering and Winter Skills courses, Guided Presidential Traverses as well as hiking Mount Washington, climbing, and more - including mountain top wedding services where Mike can not only take you on a guided tour, but officiate your wedding as a JP!
If you’re looking for a guided outdoor adventure in Mt. Washington Valley, Redline Guiding offers something unique. While it offers a range of guided recreational courses and tours, its main focus is hiking. Which means Mike, and his crew know A LOT about their craft.
Mike first climbed Mount Washington as a four year old on a family vacation. Year after year, he and his family returned to take on the beloved mountain. Now Mike has climbed all over the country, and the world. In New Hampshire alone he has hiked all of the 48 4,000 footers - even in winter - as well as other New England lists. One of his crowning achievements is that he as redlined each trail described in the 600-plus paged AMC White Mountains guide book. (This means he has hiked every single trail described in this book, which equates to 1,440 miles of actual trail.)
Which is part of the inspiration behind the name, Redlining Guiding. (As well as the fact that trails appear on maps as red lines!) Mike, and his team regularly take the time to hike (one crew member is currently hiking the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin, and is working toward being the first woman in the world to complete all eleven National Scenic Trails in America - this includes the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail), so they can bring their experiences and insight back to Redline’s guests.
What are some of your signature services?
I think our Wilderness Navigation course is one of the best courses being offered. I’m really proud of the depth of information we cover, and the tactics used to encourage critical thinking when in an emergency situation on the trail. We offer varying lengths of courses depending on how deeply one wants to dive into this skill set. We cover compass use; using landforms, elevation, and more as a way to navigate.
We also offer a River Crossing Skills course that teaches you to read rivers, understand the dynamics at work, identify and avoid the hidden dangers, figure out where it’s safest to cross and why, understand rock hopping in a whole new light, and you will know how and when to employ group techniques versus fording solo. Rope work even comes into play. Redline Guiding is the only operation that offers a course of this kind, and finds it imperative for any hiker entering the forest, as waterway drownings are the leading cause of fatalities in national parks.
What is a top priority when it comes to safety tips you like to share with your guests?
The biggest thing I like to share with guests is Redline Guiding’s “Stay Safe” pamphlet. It covers the 13 Essentials and 5 Fundamentals of staying safe when out on the trail, and being a responsible hiker.
These pamphlets are distributed throughout the region, and are shared with every guest that enrolls in a course through Redline Guiding. It covers topics such as shelter, Leave No Trace principles, gear - including various forms of protection, which can be considered a “wild card” topic.
Protection can mean so many things; protection from sun, wind, bugs, water, weather, falling debris and more. Determining what you need protection from, and then ensuring you have the proper gear to protect you is key.
Of course this list is meaningless if you don’t know how to employ the skills and gear needed to keep you safe, which is why I will always default to my Wilderness Navigation course, as something anyone entering the forest should take.
What makes guiding in the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) so special?
The diversity of the forest. Did you know that the White Mountain National Forest has the largest swath of Alpine area - with twelve square miles east of the Mississippi. The bulk of which is found on the Presidential Range. You’ll find really rare flowers and terrain in this zone, and I’m so appreciative of the access I have to them.
One reason I also love to guide because I’m after that “A-HA” moment. Seeing my guests and students make a connection to a skill set or to a mountain is really gratifying. I enjoy witnessing that awakening. As do my guides. It's why we do what we do!
For complete trip planning resources and information, explore this site, visitmwv.com, or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk to a Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce rep. To learn more about New Hampshire vacations, go to www.VisitNH.gov.