NORTH CONWAY, N.H. (AP/FOX 5 NY) - A cat has made it to the summit of the 48 tallest mountains in New Hampshire, spending parts of the journey peering out from the comfort of her person's backpack.
Floki has grown from kitten to cat in the nine months since she and owner Mel Elam, of North Conway, started their journey to the top of the state's 4,000-footers. Their final challenge was Mount Washington — the highest summit in the Northeast at 6,288 feet, which they reached last Saturday.
"#48-Mount Washington! We did it!" Elam posted on social media. She chronicled their progress and achievements with photos and video on the Facebook page Adventures with Floki, which has more than 2,400 followers.
Elam adopted Floki from a shelter last year after losing another beloved hiking companion, her dog. A harness is attached to Floki when she's in the backpack, and she's on a leash when walks along a trail. In colder weather, she wore a vest.
"Less than a year ago I began a journey with the most unlikely hiking companion. A journey to heal, find peace and build emotional and physical strength to help me survive one of the darkest times of my life," Elam wrote on Facebook. "People often tell me what a wonderful thing it was for me to rescue Floki. It's quite the opposite, she rescued me and these mountains have helped her save me."
Mel Elam and Floki hiking New Hampshire's mountains. Left: heading to Middle Carter Mountain in Bean's Purchase, March 19, 2021; right: descending Mount Bond in Lincoln, Jan. 1, 2021. (Mel Elam via AP)
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Elam told WMUR-TV that their online followers are encouraging her and Floki to go on new journeys.
"'What are you going to do next? Pease keep posting. We love following your adventures,'" Elam said people are telling her. "And I'm like, 'Oh no, we're still going to be out there.'"
Elam said she and Floki are considering the "52 With a View," mountains in New Hampshire with elevations under 4,000 feet and great views.
"It has been quite an adventure, and I am still so grateful for all of the support and kindness that has been shown to us throughout," Elam wrote online. "It is truly unbelievable, how many Lives this little cat has touched. Keep your fingers crossed and wish us luck!"
Floki stands on a rock overlooking Israel Ridge, in Pinkham Notch, N.H., Saturday, June 26, 2021. (Mel Elam via AP)
Doing outdoor activities, such as hiking, with a domesticated cat requires patience and planning, according to several online resources by cat owners. A website called AdventureCats.org has detailed guides on safety gear and training. To start the process, you'll need a leash and a well-fitting harness before anything else.
Not all cats are well-suited to outdoor adventures, though. Experts say you shouldn't push your cat too hard if the animal clearly prefers not to go outside.
"Some felines may love accompanying humans on adventures, while others may be more comfortable close to home—in the sunniest spot in your apartment, if possible," a blog post about getting your cat ready for the trail says. "Pay attention to your pet and cease outdoor activities if you notice signs of stress."