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. 🙂

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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.

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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.

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