Taking in the White Mountains, every step of each trail

In 1907, the Appalachian Mountain Club published a little book called “Guide to the Paths and Camps in the White Mountains.” As its rather wordy title made clear, it was a collection of maps and descriptions of trails through the Presidential Range and beyond.

Through printing after printing, the book changed titles — the 30th edition of what is now known simply as the “White Mountain Guide” was just published — but its basic structure remained largely unchanged: It was an adventure book without a plot.

Then some hikers decided that it most certainly did have a plot, a very long and simple one: To finish the book, you must walk every trail in it, all 1,420 miles. Called “redlining” — the idea being that you draw a red line over every completed trail — it has become increasingly popular over the last decade.

“It used to be this obscure thing, but I have people coming into the shop all the time now asking about it,” said Steven Smith, the owner of the Mountain Wanderer Map and Book Store in Lincoln, N.H., and the editor of the latest edition of the guide. He’s also the seventh person to redline, a feat he finished in 2010, using the 28th edition of the guide.

Redlining is indeed a challenge, one that took Smith 30 years to accomplish. You’ll need to climb all 48 of the 4,000′ peaks, probably more than once because there may be several routes to the top and many side trails and spurs. Redliners say you’ll easily walk 3,000 to 4,000 miles trying to complete all the trails.

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