Perhaps I should have read and wrote this before I took on this hike myself, because it is BRUTAL.

The Appalachian Trail is 2,190+ miles, and travels through 14 states. The trail starts in Georgia and ends in Maine.

Of that enormous journey, the steepest one-mile stretch is in our state: New Hampshire.

Located along Wildcat Mountain, the ski resort in Gorham, New Hampshire, is an 8.4-mile trail known as the "Wildcat Ridge Trail."

This thing is a smoker, but the steepest mile takes place just after mile one (or so). After walking a relatively flat then gradual incline first mile, the trail goes straight up.

There are tons of rock scrambles, "staircases" out of rocks, man-made footholds with wood supports, and even this narrow wedge with a really scary drop-off to your left.

You climb 2000 feet in elevation in less than a mile and a half. Even wilder, 1000 of those feet are compacted into a half-mile stretch. That is serious elevation gain during a hike; nearly rock climbing.

Check out just how steep and legit this trail is:

I actually did this hike with my wife and two dogs last weekend, and it was exactly as it sounds – steep and hard. The views are incredibly rewarding; however, this is not a beginner hike.

My two dogs are both great hikers, one better than the other, and it was the first hike that had me nervous for them. At one point, the bigger dog fell backwards while scaling a steep rock slab. I was behind him and literally caught him like a baby.

The boys loved it though, and it ended up being a great time for them. That said, if your dogs are trail walkers and not the best rock climbers, maybe leave them at home for this one.

Here is my weekend during and after the hike (swipe for views).

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