These Are the Mountains that Martha Has Climbed (and You Can, Too)
As an avid hiker, our founder has scaled to the summit of countless peaks across the country and even around the world. Ahead, tour just a few of them and consider a trek, yourself.
Our founder's love of nature includes hiking and mountain climbing. Martha loves to wake up early and dress in her hiking gear, grab a bottle of water, and invite her houseguests to traverse the many trails nearby her Skylands home in Maine. The Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island offers many opportunities for hiking, with stunning views, as she described in her column for the August 2009 issue of Living. "Hiking these diverse trails has become a passion and a favorite pastime throughout the year," she said, "and I never tire of the views, the flora, and the amazing sights one finds in this gorgeous park."
Of course, by then, Martha had traversed mountains across the country and even around the world. "When I purchased my home in Maine more than a decade ago, I was already an avid hiker," she said. "I had trekked in northern India; I had climbed Kilimanjaro, in Africa; and I had hiked in Colorado, Northern California, Utah, Europe, and elsewhere." One of Martha's most memorable ascents was when she made the trip to Mount Kilimanjaro. In her Remembering column from the December 1993/January 1994 issue of Living, she recalls reaching the first summit of Gillman's Point, "We were exhausted but exhilarated, relieved, and totally incredulous that we had attempted such a feat." And, for her, "it was the hardest things I'd ever done."
Follow Martha's example and scale these summits from Maine to the British Virgin Islands and even Africa. Such experiences, as she once said, reinforce her belief in the mantra, "Don't limit yourself."
At 1,530 feet, Cadillac Mountain is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard and the first place to view sunrise in the country. Martha famously welcomed the new millennium (that is, January 1, 2000) by attempting a hike to its summit, as she recalls in her column for Living. "I invited friends to take part in a hike to view the sunrise," she described. "It was a glorious experiment, and, with a few minor changes, it is exactly how I planned to greet the New Year." Located in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, you can embark on a similar journey to its summit by road in summer or by hiking trails in winter.
As Martha recalled in her Remembering column from the February 2003 issue of Living, "Tortola is a small island (almost twenty-two square miles), lush, mountainous, and beautifully situated in the British Virgin Islands amid the sparkling waters of the Caribbean." On her trip, they sailed in the harbor, swam in the waters, indulged in the local food, and hiked mountains in the region; among them, "Mount Sage is fun to climb."
In western Maine, the Appalachian Trail traverses the seven peaks Bigelow Mountain. "Part of the Rangeley-Stratton range," said Martha in her August 2009 column of Living, "this tough 10-mile trek rewards you with views across Flagstaff Lake and into Canada." Plus, there are 115 campsites along the shores of scenic Flagstaff Lake.
Named after early European settlers John and Andrew Douglas, this mountain rises above the towns of Sebago and Baldwin, Maine. "The 1/2-mile hike is short enough for kids, but the 1,381-foot mountain offers big rewards for little effort (one can drive up and park at the trail head)," said Martha in her August 2009 column of Living. "From its summit, you can see the White Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean."
East Royce Mountain
The summit of East Royce is in Maine, and the summit of West Royce is in New Hampshire, so this is a unique chance to reach summits in two states on the same trip. As for East Royce, the "rugged 6-mile hike offers dramatic views of New Hampshire's Presidential Range," as Martha described in her August 2009 column of Living
Mount Blue is situated in a lush 7,000-acre park with 136 campsites near the lakeshore. It's also a great area for spotting wildlife including white-tailed deer, foxes, coyotes, black bears, and even bigger beasts. "Moose sightings are not uncommon on this moderate 8-mile hike," said Martha in her August 2009 column of Living, "with Webb Lake nearby."
Climb the highest peak in Maine at 5,269 feet—just be prepared for the strenuous journey and pack plenty of water, snacks, and a first-aid kit. "Although every route poses challenges," said Martha in her August 2009 column of Living, "the 2.2-mile Saddle Trail is one of the easier ascents."
The Penobscot Nation who lived in the area for thousands of years called it Megunticook, meaning "great swells of the sea," a reference to the silhouette of the Camden Hills in this Maine state park. Martha said in her August 2009 column of Living that this is "an easy 2-mile path goes up the highest of the Camden Hills, with lovely views of the Atlantic."
Old Speck Mountain
Just east of New Hampshire's border is the fourth-highest mountain in the state: Old Speck also known as Old Speckle Mountain. "When you reach the top of this challenging 8-mile trek," added Martha in her August 2009 column of Living, "climb the last few feet to the observation tower to see northern New England's peaks." And when you're done for the day, there's a beautiful, old-fashioned swimming hole located nearby in the heart of Grafton Notch State Park.
"I signed up for a trek up Africa's tallest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro," as Martha described it in her Remembering column of Living, "an imposing, freestanding peak jutting to a height of 19,340 feet." This emblematic peak is not for the faint of heart: You'll be walking uphill from the start of the climb, the first few days on the trail cover a variety of rocky, varied terrain and each day requires anywhere from three to eight hours of hiking, aside from the summit day, which will have you up and on your feet for more than 16 hours.