Day 49 (Carlo Col to Speck Pond Shelter & Campsite)

Today’s hike can be summed up in one word, “Mahoosuc”. Today was the day I got to hike(?) through Mahoosuc Notch and up to Mahoosuc Arm. Mahoosuc Notch is described in the guide book like this:

Most difficult or fun mile of the AT. Make way through jumbled pit of boulders.

The hike up to Mahoosuc Arm is described like this:

One of the steepest climbs on the entire Appalachian Trail, with the trail dropping 1500 feet from Mahoosuc Arm to the edge of the notch in just one mile.

It took me 2 hours to hike the 1 mile Notch section.

I might could have done it faster but I was determined not to fall or get injured. I was successful and felt happy to complete it, but I found myself physically and mentally drained afterwards. I wanted to stop for a break and eat lunch but the black flies were really bad. I decided to set my tent up and crawl inside at 2:30 in the afternoon….haha.

I cooked lunch in the vestibule, ate, and took a 1 hour nap. I woke up feeling great. I climbed up to the Mahoosuc Arm with ease and hiked to the next shelter to set my tent up for a second time. It was hard for me to hit pause in the middle of the day but I am so glad I did. Only 9.5 miles today but I earned every one of them. 🙂

Day 48 (Gorham, NH to Carlo Col Shelter and Campsite)

So they said it would happen sooner or later… happens to everyone. I hiked out of the hostel after breakfast. The weather was beautiful. I was feeling fresh after my zero day. At about mile 8 I got to Page Pond and decided to take a snack break. The lily pads were in bloom so I took a few photos too. Then I proceeded to hike south for a full mile…..ugh!

Luckily, Mango and Sunshine left the hostel after me so I ran into them which let me know I was going the wrong direction. Two extra miles….ouch.

This made me late getting to the NH-Maine border and to camp. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one hiking late. I met Mammoth from Norway about 1.5 miles from the border and we hiked together into camp. He hiked the PCT last year and then started walking across the USA. He plans to hike 13,000 and go across every state (except HI). Maine is his 4th State. He is also trying to complete the AT in 100 days. This was his day 85.

We got to the shelter/tent site after dark. I set my tent up on one of the tent platforms. It has been 4 nights since I slept in my tent. It felt good to be back in my little home away from home again.

I’m starting to see a lot of SOBO thru hikers. I met Terrapin from Tifton, GA. He was looking really strong. I also met a father/son pair from Atlanta: Vanilla Tornado and A-Town, respectively. The son wore a Braves hat.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 47 (White Mountain Lodge and Hostel, Gorham NH)

No miles today.

The weather forecast was for rain and thunderstorms all day. This is my first “zero day” on the trail.

I stayed at the hostel most of the day catching up on Facebook posts, watching movies, and napping. The hostel shuttle driver took us in to town for lunch, dinner, and Walmart shopping.

I hope to hike into Maine tomorrow. Twisted is here but he is now 21 miles behind me on the trail so we will say goodbye tomorrow. It was fun having someone to hike with for a couple days but I’m looking forward to being solo once again on the trail.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 46 (Pinkham Notch to US 2 Gorham, NH)

After breakfast at the hostel, the hostel van driver took Storm, Apollo, and me back to Pinkham’s Notch to slack pack the 21 miles of trail back to the hostel. I wore my SMD Flight 30 but didn’t carry my tent, sleeping quilt, extra food, etc.

I climbed over the Wildcats first. The AT goes over four of the five Wildcats summits with the highest being 4420 ft. The weather was off and on rain up until early afternoon, then partly cloudy the rest of the day.

Next I descended down to the Carter Notch Hut. It is the last of the AMC huts for a north bound hiker. I have really enjoyed the other huts but this one appeared to have a croo with an attitude. I had to wait way too long to get a bowl of soup and they didn’t have any baked goods or bread like the other huts. Oh well, I lost almost an hour there.

Next, I hiked over Carter Dome (4832 ft), Mt. Hight (4652 ft) and the three Carter summits (4610 ft). Mt. Moriah was the last climb of the day. All of the climbs were steep and rocky but I had some very nice views in the afternoon.

The one negative with slack packing is you can’t stop and set up camp if you run out of sunlight. I ended up hiking the last 3 miles in the dark using my headlamp. The terrain was pretty easy for those miles but there were three streams to ford. Thank goodness I have experience from ultrarunning of being on the trail in the dark. I got to the hostel around 10:00.

14 hour day! Needless to say, I slept well. 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 45 (Madison Springs Hut to Pinkham’s Notch)

This is a video of my hike through the Presidential Range. Sometimes the wind messes with the sound. Also, the mountain I refer to as Mt. Madison is not Madison. I don’t know the name. I hiked Mt. Madison the next day…

We woke to rain and strong winds at the hut. After the guests ate breakfast, the croo and the wfs thru hikers ate. Then Twisted and I did our chores. I swept the bunk rooms and Twisted folded wool blankets for each bunk.

Apollo and Storm started hiking about an hour before us. We headed out at 9:00. We all had decided we would hike a short day and meet at the White Mountain Lodge and Hostel in Gorham. It was still windy and raining as we climbed over Mt. Madison.

The first 2 1/2 hours of the day were above treeline and over rough rocks. Honestly, it was a bit scary with 50 mph wind gusts and sleet (small hail?) hitting us. Once we were below treeline, the hiking became much easier. We stopped at the Pinkham Notch Visitors Center and waited on the hostel shuttle.

The warm shower felt awesome. First shower and bed since Hanover, 10 days ago. Not long after starting my hike, people started telling me that I needed to meet Buoy. He had always been a day or two ahead of me. Because the hostel is located at a place that is accessible from two places on the trail, I was able to meet Buoy even though he is 21 miles ahead of me. We were roommates at the hostel tonight. Really nice guy. I hope to hike with him some in the future. I didn’t take many pictures today because the weather was so bad.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 44 (Mt. Webster to Madison Springs Hut)

I slept great in my tent last night. This morning, I started hiking around 6:45. I finished climbing Mt. Webster first thing. Great views and the perfect weather meant there were a lot of weekend hikers on the trail.

I knew it was supposed to rain tomorrow so I planned to hike over Mt. Washington today. On the summit of Mt. Jackson, Twisted caught up with me and we decided to hike together. This is the first time I’ve hiked most of the day with someone since starting my trip. He wasn’t sure he had the energy to hike over Mt. Washington but I convinced him it was best. This range in the White Mountains is called the Presidential Range. A lot of the mountains are named after US Presidents.

We stopped by the Mizpah Spring Hut for a morning snack and coffee. We hiked near the summits of Mt. Eisenhower and Mt. Franklin before stopping at the Lake of the Clouds Hut for lunch. They gave us free leftovers from last night’s dinner. We also bought some soup and dessert.

Next we hiked over Mt. Washington. The views were incredible! So glad I had pretty weather for this section. We stopped by the snack bar for a snack….of course…..and then started our trek to the next hut. We were hoping to do wfs but knew we might be too late.

The hiking of the Presidential Range is very slow and tedious. We were hiking on large rocks with rough irregular surfaces. Often times I had to put my trekking poles aside to use my hands to pull me up to the next rock. Also, we were above treeline most of the day. We didn’t make it to the Madison Springs Hut until 8:00.

Storm and Apollo were already doing work for stay but the croo chief didn’t want to send us away because she knew the weather was about to get bad. She let us stay and do chores after breakfast. They had plenty of leftovers from dinner so we ate very well. Because it was the weekend and we were close to Mt. Washington, the hut was full of guests. They enjoyed asking us questions about our hikes. I’m so glad we were inside because the storms came in about 10:00 and stayed all night. Storms above treeline have incredible winds.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 43 (Galehead Hut to stealth site on Mt. Webster)

It was pouring rain when we woke up at Galehead Hut so Twisted and I decided to stay for breakfast in hopes the rain would stop. Normally, work-for-stay hikers have to wait until after the guests eat before they can eat. However, the crew at Galehead was great. They served us breakfast as if we were guests along with the two paying customers.

We started hiking around 8:15. We had originally talked about trying a 21 mile day but knew the late start would make that almost impossible.

I started the day with a rocky ascent and descent of South Twin Mountain. I was in the clouds so no views from the top. Mother Nature, Between, Twisted and I all had lunch at the Zealand Falls Hut. I’m really getting spoiled by the food at these huts.

Twisted wasn’t having a great day so he decided to use the AMC shuttle to go in to town. Mother Nature and Between decided to stop at a campsite a couple miles after lunch. I was feeling good so I kept hiking until Mt. Webster. Luckily, the weather has cleared up so I enjoyed some beautiful views. The weather is also supposed to be good for my climb up Mt. Washington tomorrow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.