It’s no secret that spending time in nature provides special kind of medicine. The cure is in the forest, and time spent in the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) is an especially potent antidote.
Surrounding the Mt. Washington Valley, in New Hampshire and Maine, the WMNF is made up of over 800,000 acres of federally protected land and water. You'll find over 2,000 miles of trails, 48, 4,000 foot peaks, a portion of the Appalachian Trail, and a section of the Saco River.
The Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce highly recommends the hiring of a guide for any outdoor adventure that leads you into the woods. Not only will you be supporting the valley's local economy, which is substantially made up of those dedicated to outdoor recreation, but you'll also be ensuring a successful trip through safety, and technical training. Click the link for a list of guiding outfitters.
When you explore the White Mountain National Forest, you’ll build resiliency, and become part of a community. These two aspects of outdoor adventure in the WMNF are an anchor to the experience that guide, and owner, Lisa Holcomb of Wander The Whites provides for all her clients. She takes extreme pride as a steward of the land and sharing that love with others so they can build out their own sense of independence and flexibility when taking on a new adventure in the White Mountain National Forest. Lisa has a Masters in Education, holds a certification as an advanced Reiki Master Teacher and Practitioner, and has spent time working for outdoor focused entities such as the Appalachian Mountain Club since the early 90’s.
As your guide she's warm, and welcoming, and she brings those qualities through her programing. Lisa's focus on building a sense of community through a shared love of the forest can be felt in every detail of her guiding. Each session starts with setting an intention as an individual and as a group, and ends with a delicious blend of spiced tea and homemade treat. Lisa takes immense pride in her role as a guide, and shares that passion with you from the moment you collaborate on a trek together.
Lisa creates custom half and whole day tours, for beginners to experienced hikers, and private and group rates are available. Excursions can include four-season hiking, snowshoeing, waterfall tours, and more. Lisa brings her experience as a guide to support any one's journey into the outdoors. She also enjoys collaborating with other guiding entities to provide the best and most safe excursion for visitors to the valley. One of Lisa's signature programming is "Wander the Whites and Write;" a program focused on spending time in nature and allowing it to fuel your creative outlet as a writer. Another key course developed by Lisa, includes her Wander the Whites and Reiki Certification, where you'll begin the process of earning your Reiki certification amidst the shores of Echo Lake and surrounded by the forest. You'll connect more deeply to the energetic force-fields of nature, and learn how to channel that energy into your work as a practitioner.
Lisa regularly works with individuals, groups of friends and families when designing Wander the Whites outings. It's her goal to instill a sense of knowledge and excitement and confidence to return to the mountains again, and again for everyone she guides in the White Mountain National Forest.
Why do you love guiding in the White Mountain National Forest?
Guiding as a local in the White Mountain National Forest allows me to be an educator and protective land steward. It provides me with the opportunity to share my passion for hiking river trails and mountain summits. One of my favorite aspects of guiding in the White Mountain National Forest is seeing my clients transform throughout our guiding session together. When our adventure ends my clients leave with a sense of connection to the White Mountains, and a desire to come back. It’s my hope that desire ultimately grows to help preserve the serenity of a National Forest like ours and cultivate a sense of respect and responsibility when they return and share it with their family and friends.
What is a top priority when it comes to safety tips you like to share with your adventurers?
I can't stress this enough: BE AWARE as a hiker or climber! It's a simple, but imperative reminder. Take time to listen to your body; take note of your agility, monitor your water intake, and whether your footwork is becoming clumsy; ask yourself if the weather has changed. Always checking in with yourself throughout your outdoor excursion is important, and can help you mitigate accidents.
Taking the time to enroll in a basic survival course is really beneficial, and can set you up for success and longevity when it comes to enjoying the outdoors for years to come. Survival skills such as map and compass reading, utilizing and wearing appropriate gear and layering tactics, among other skills are topics I touch on in all of my programming.
And remember: a mountain mile roughly equals one hour, so plan accordingly!
What are some signature pieces of gear you just love to carry with you in your pack?
I'm a regular at Ragged Mountain Equipment, in Intervale. Their flagship line of equipment is so functional. One piece I swear by is its Power Sports Bra! It's funny, because a sports bra seems like such a minuscule part of the gear puzzle, but as a base layer, it's actually one of the most important pieces of building your foundation when it comes to gear! Made from Polartec® Power Stretch® Pro™ its secret weapon is that its fabric is breathable and provides ultimate wicking action.
Of course, my bag is filled with other essentials that include a fully equipped first aid kit; battery backups for my phone which acts as a navigational tool; gaiters, spikes and trekking poles; as well as an array of tops that I can layer to protect me from moisture, wind, and cold.
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.