New Hampshire

Woman completes White Mountains hiking challenge in 1 year

A New Hampshire woman is believed to be the first person to complete an ambitious hiking challenge in the White Mountains in a single year.

Sue Johnston, 51, says she has hiked every one of New Hampshire's 4,000-foot mountains in every single month of the year in 2016, The Concord Monitor reported.

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, but doing it all in one year isn't required. There are 48 mountains that top 4,000 feet in the White Mountains.

Johnston said December was her most difficult month. She spent a total of 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 tracks the challenge, not the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation.

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Now a Littleton resident, Johnston previously lived in Danville, Vermont. She's been hiking in the White Mountains for 30 years, giving her a familiarity with the mountains necessary for attempting such a feat.

Johnston was inspired to give the challenge a try three years ago after some people on an online hiking forum said it wasn't possible.

"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.