August, 2011 Archives

20110824-075442.jpg

Eek-A-Moose

The trip down Moosilauke was more fun than challenging even though it was both. You travel alongside a cascading waterfall for a long stretch so needless to say I paused quite a bit for reflection breaks.

I wound up making it to the last free shelter before the pay campgrounds begin but saw that it was filling up quickly so I decided to push on a bit. I went to retrieve my backpack from under the tree I left it at and started feeling pain everywhere. Apparently I stumbled upon a yellowjacket swarm and proceeded to get stung multiple times. I hightailed it up Mount Kinsman and after 1/2 mile I knew I wouldn’t have much use for hiking poles as the rest of the way to the top I found myself climbing over boulders. If I thought the way up was treacherous the way down was downright scary. I actually found myself getting nervous of the fact that I was all alone as I slid down the rocks more times than I could count. You find yourself thinking of the best path down but ultimately you were going to slide down to the bottom of some sections.

My decision to push on was validated once I got to Lonesome Lake Hut. The camping options for thru-hikers in the Whites are basically $8 campsite, arrive early for a work for stay option in one of the Huts, or just stealth camp in a flat spot along the way which is not technically allowed. I chose to go the hut route this time and since it was 7:30pm I wasn’t sure there would be availability for work for stay. Sure enough when I arrived I was the only hiker so they fed me all you can eat leftover lasagna, bread, brownies, and peas. My work would be to do some dishes after breakfast which just ended.

While I was waiting I wandered down to the mountain lake below and admired the must over the water and the mountains in the background (Lafayette, Lincoln, Zea Leaf, etc) when I heard crashing in the trees alongside the water and as soon as I heard snorting I went over to investigate. Right there by the edge of the woods were a male and a female moose. The female made her way across the trail early on so I was left to watch the male foraging and chewing his way through the brush. His antlers were so large it was interesting to see him maneuver his head to and fro to get under and around the tree branches. Quite a spectacular site.

Well it is time to work off my stay and have some leftover breakfast.

20110824-075803.jpg

20110824-075916.jpg

20110824-075524.jpg

20110824-075712.jpg

20110824-075905.jpg

20110824-075701.jpg

Eek-A-Moose

20110822-074008.jpg

The Whites

Left the hostel this morning under troubling skies and began to ascend Moosilauke. First got to the stream running alongside rt 25 and discovered that I would need to fiord the stream as last nights rain turned it into quite the rager. The air was cool so the climb to the summit was downright enjoyable as I did not reach the top covered in sweat for the first time in months. Many sections of the trail had transformed into gradual waterfalls so there was an abundance of water all throughout the day. This would have come in handy on a hot day but since the air was cool water was not a top priority. I did find myself pouring out existing water to fill up from the latest and greatest cool, clear source.

As soon as you exit the pines you are out above tree line way up over the surrounding mountains. The wind whips you to and fro as the exposed ridgeline offers you magnificent views of north and south. Before exiting the pines I did get a very nice scent reminiscent of a Christmas tree lot.

We are paused on the northern downslope of Moosilauke at Beaver Brook shelter which came highly recommended thanks to the views of the northern Whites ahead (namely Lincoln, Lafayette and Garfield).

First day in and I already understand the overwhelming draw of the White Mountain range.

20110822-072951.jpg

20110822-073817.jpg

20110822-072924.jpg

20110822-073806.jpg

20110822-072901.jpg

20110822-072838.jpg

20110822-072815.jpg

The Whites

20110821-063114.jpg

I am currently paused at the base of mount moosilauke which is the first step over the white mountains (supposedly the toughest terrain on the whole AT). I paused at the Hikers Welcome Hikers Hostel in Glencliff to escape a massive downpour and I will stay here tonight and continue up and over moosilauke Monday. There are about 15 to 20 of us here so space is tight. This can probably be attributed to the storm.

New Hampshire has been good practice so far as yesterday I climbed over 3000 feet up Smarts Mountain which put me at about 4000 ft up. Moosilauke stands at 4800 so we go up almost 4000 tomorrow. It is going to be a struggle every day over the next week plus as I cover the 90 miles that make up the Whites.

20110821-062653.jpg

20110821-063050.jpg

20110821-063155.jpg

Dartmouth boyyyyyy

20110819-121937.jpg

After a wonderful visit with family I got on the road to Hanover where I am currently camping out in the woods behind the University soccer fields. Met up with long known northbounder Hot Sauce and cool southbounders Nine Lives.

Started out on Amtrak heading towards a hostel run by the cult known as Twelve Tribes (look them up) in the Rutland, VT area. Paid half price ($10) because they had no more bed space so the couch in the main room suited me just fine. They run a restaurant called the yellow deli and have a place out in the sticks called the main house. I scrambled out before the brain washing could occur. The next stretch to Hanover was a rollercoaster series of ups and downs with very little view to speak of.

The Town of Hanover is a nice mix of hikers, prosperous college students, and the wealthy elderly crowd. Stopped at Anything But Anchovies for the all you can eat pizza and salad ($7) and $2 Sam’s. Cruised to see Vick and his three picks at the Salt Hut Pub. Had our tents set up ahead of time just so we could crawl right in after the game. I may stay in town for a short while and hit up the Indian restaurant I failed to visit my first day here while I watch some more of the mighty Dartmouth football team practice their all-white moves.

20110819-122000.jpg

20110819-122027.jpg

20110819-121850.jpg

20110819-010252.jpg

20110819-010316.jpg

20110819-010216.jpg

20110819-010238.jpg

20110819-010150.jpg

20110819-010325.jpg

20110819-013249.jpg

20110819-013235.jpg

Vermud

20110817-014724.jpg

Crossed into Vermont and will be walking along the Long Trail which follows the path of the AT for about 100 miles before splitting off and veering towards Canada. In Vermont I have found myself taking the advice of the numerous southbounders I have passed and stayed in a few hostels along the way. I tied in with fellow hikers Zen and John Wayne for a few days during this section. I stayed at Congdon shelter the first night in VT and pushed all of 4 miles to get into Bennington to aim for the Vortex hostel which was a free place. I put the decision to stay in town on if the hitch came quickly or not as it would have been just as easy to move on as it was to cut the day short and make it 5 miles into Bennington. As soon as we got to rt. 9 and I stuck out my thumb a white minivan came to a screeching halt and Zen and I noticed strangely enough that our ride would be lady and her young daughter who was riding shotgun. What surprised us beyond belief was that when we opened the sliding back door of the van there were 4 additional little blond girls who would be sharing the back with two male hikers and Brodie. The ride was quite funny in that the girls were perfectly behaved and did not utter a word as they stole glances at us while we chatted with the mother. She wound up dropping us off downtown as we walked to find the mysterious Vortex with its backyard barn and front porch mannequin a few doors down from the Friendly’s. We settled into the barn with the cd player and pool table and then took the tour with the artist lady with the exceptionally long dred locks and her musician husband. Bennington is a upscale hippy town which we enjoyed immensely.

The next day we pushed on and stayed up on Glastenbury mountain just under the fire tower which was rickety and spooky as the winds picked up and the clouds completely engulfed us.

I was planning on two-daying into Manchester center but I hooked in with Zen down the trail and we kept in pace the entire day. I got to William Douglas shelter after nightfall and once I found out it wad half mile off the trail I was easily persuaded to try for the next one 3 and 1/2 miles away. We wound up walking along a nice and easy fire road for a portion of the way before the trail was to be rejoined just after Prospect rock. Zen broke out the map software on his iPhone to see where the road led to and once we found out it was 4 miles directly into town we decided to just push it. By this time it was pitch dark and after 9 so it wasn’t going to get any darker so we strapped on our headlamps and paraded down the road. When we got to the bottom we were rewarded for our journey in the form of an open restaurant/bar called the Manchester Inn where we ordered dinner and a beer before setting up our tents along the road into town behind a closed breakfast place.

Woke up the next morning and headed into Manchester center which wound up being a very upscale town in the midst of a month long horse show. The Green mountain hostel is a nice place even if the owner doesn’t allow alcohol on the premises. We stayed in a barn out back and were greeted with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s from the owner. The night was great but I decided that Brodie was done so I arranged a shuttle to North Adams and a car back to Stone Ridge where I have been visiting with family for the past few weeks.

20110817-011422.jpg

20110817-011445.jpg

20110817-011946.jpg

20110817-012146.jpg

Vermont

body>