This is the journal I wrote for this year’s Appalachian Trial hike. Forrest went with me and we hiked 81 miles in 8 days. We took two days off for rest and it took us 4 days to drive to New Hampshire and back.
July 4, 2014
Forrest and I are sitting in the common area of the Hikers Welcome Hostel in Glencliff, NH. It is raining today so we are going to chill out here and do some sightseeing. We just finished a 2 day, 25 mile hike from Rt. 25A to Three Mile Road. It was a hard hike for both of us with the first day having to hike about a 4000 feet total ascent. The hike started off very hot and humid and then we got rained on for about 3 hours. There was lightning and thunder which we tried to ignore. We saw a few non-poisonous snakes on the trail and in one section lots of moose droppings. The last 6 miles on the second day we ended up slack packing, hiding our gear near Goose Pond Road. After we got to my truck at Three Mile Road we drove back to pick up our gear. After this we ate dinner in Lyme, NH at a restaurant called Stella’s. We both had spaghetti and meatballs. The restaurant was buzzing with lots of people and since there was a 15 minute wait we decided to eat at the bar. Forrest said he thought we were underdressed but there were others in t-shirts. They did have some pricy items on the menu but the food was good.
July 6, 2014
We just got off the AT. We hiked from Kinsman Notch to Franconia Notch, a 16 mile hike taking us two days to hike. Last night we stayed at the Eliza Brook Shelter. The shelter was a beautiful log structure built in 2010. The logs all fit together perfectly. It was right next to a large brook where we could get fresh clean water. Counting us, four hikers stayed at the shelter. One was a south bounder and one was a north bounder named David who we had met at the hostel a few days earlier. His trail name was Problem Bear and he started his hike on January 1 in Key West, Florida. He was from Sacramento, California, age 60, two years older than me. This section again proved a hard hike, especially today. We had to climb up 2000 feet through rocks to the top of South Kinsman Mt. at 4358 feet. Coming down was practically straight down through large rocks and rock slides. It was pretty crazy and a long day. It took me 2 hours longer today than yesterday hiking eight miles both days. People say most hikers only average about 1 mile an hour through the White Mountains, I believe it.
July 7, 2014
We took a day off today. Forrest’s knee was bothering him and he wanted to see what a day of rest would do. Last night we found a great campsite in the White Mountains National Forest. Someone at the shelter the night before had told us about it. It was a first come first serve and as we drove through all eleven sites were taken. Signs said, “no camping anywhere else.” At the end of the forest service road we turned around and stopped at a bridge to consult our maps for another possible place to camp. We hadn’t really come up with a place and as we were driving out one of the sites was empty. When we had driven past we thought the couple were setting up their tent but they must have been taking it down. Not 2 minutes after we pulled in another car drove by slowing down and asking us if we were camping there. We felt blessed to have a spot to set up our tent and we ended up staying there two nights. Tomorrow we are planning a 3 day 27 mile hike. We plan on getting a shuttle with AMC from Crawford Notch to Franconia Notch.
July 10, 2014
Forrest and I just got back from our 27 mile hike. We first climbed Mt. Liberty, a 2700 foot ascent, then on to Little Haystack Mountain, another 700 foot climb. Then we got above tree line to reach the summit of Mt. Lincoln, height of 5089 feet. We followed the Franconia Ridge trail to reach the summit of Mt. Lafayette at 5249 feet. This was a wonderful hike above tree line for over 3 miles. We then descended Mt. Lafayette and set up our tent near the Garfield Pond. Someone had told us about the site where the old shelter was located behind the pond. He said, go clockwise at the pond. We found the old trail, found an Ok place to set up our tent, and after getting water and eating we were in our tent by 8:30 pm. About 11:00 the rain came with thunder and lightening. It rained until 2:00 am. The wind was howling for most of the night but thankfully most of the wind blew above us. In the morning the sun was out as we climbed Mt. Garfield. From the top of Garfield we could see bright sunny green mountains as far as you could see. We then stopped and ate lunch at the Galehead Hut where we got a bowl of potato soup for two dollars. It wasn’t that great as it was made from a powder. We then hiked up South Twin Mountain and ended up camping past Thoreau Falls. We were going to camp past the Zealand Falls Hut but it was only 5:45 and we decided to hike until 7:00. This made our hike the next day only 5 miles instead of 7 miles. Today we rested at a campground and drove into North Conway for lunch at the Moat Brewery and stopped at Hannaford’s for groceries.
July 12, 2014
My knees are shot, they need a rest day. Coming down Webster Cliffs yesterday was steep. At one point I was rock climbing and didn’t even know if I was still on the trail. Yesterday, Forrest dropped me off at the top of Mt. Washington and I hiked the 12.5 miles to down to Crawford Notch and Rt. 302. It was a beautiful hike until the steep descent. I hiked on Mt. Washington, Mt. Monroe, Mt. Franklin, Mt. Eisenhower, Mt Clinton, Mt Jackson, and Mt Webster. A lot of the hike was above tree line and you could see in every direction hiking along the ridges. Coming down Mt. Washington to the Lake of the Clouds Hut is one of the most scenic scenes you will see on the trail. It sits next to two small ponds on the edge of an open cliff. This was our last day of hiking for this trip and I now need 82 miles to finish the whole AT. It is amazing to think I have hiked all the way from Georgia to Maine, almost the entire east coast of the US. I am glad Forrest was able to go on this trip and wanted to go. Even though he said it was very hard at times he said it was a rewarding experience. We were going to hike the other half of Mt. Washington today but there was a bike race there today and they said we could not got on the Auto Road until after 1:00. That was too late for me to start our hike and changed our plans, plus my knees needed a day of rest, ha! We ended up hiking 81 miles for this trip. On our way home we stopped in Boston as Forrest needed to talk to his old boss about working on some other projects in Haiti.