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Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Whites

Since my last very short post, we have made slow progress through the White Mountains. The terrain is the most difficult we've encountered thus far, but also the most beautiful. We have had to readjust our mileage, finding that our longest day in the Whites has been twelve miles, a far cry from our previous 17 to 20 mile days. 

It is difficult to explain to others how slow and difficult our hiking has been the last several days. Two days ago, it took four and a half hours to travel a mere three miles, and we were so exhausted that we set up camp instead of pushing on the extra five miles we had originally planned on doing. The day was cloudy and misty, and the pouring rain that we had hiked through the day before left everything slick. Most of our hike was over a jumble of rocks which when wet were treacherously slippery. Everyone in our group of four slipped and fell, and I was incredibly anxious that someone would be seriously injured.  The day left us mentally and physically spent. We all decided a day off was in order, and are taking a much needed rest day in Gorham, NH. 

We are looking forward to crossing the border into Maine in a few days. Our last state!  We have heard reports that the terrain is even more difficult than what we are currently traversing. That thought is a little daunting, but we will press on with our slow, steady pace. 

Internet and phone service has been intermittent, but hopefully we can post another update soon. 

The waterfall beside the trail while climbing Mt. Moosilauke


View across the Franconia Ridge. This was our best day on the trail, hands down

One of the huts


We were surprised by this sign at the visitors center at the summit of Mt. Washington. We thought perhaps there might be showers or something else to distinguish it as a hiker restroom. Nothing.  I, exhibiting my usual rebellious nature, promptly used the regular restrooms meant for the tourists. 

Some of the difficult , rocky terrain we have encountered. 

The lake at Lake of the Clouds hut. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

New Hampshire

I have so much to share and so little time! I am lying on my sleeping pad on a cot in a guy's garage: someone we just met this afternoon. We hiked into Crawford Notch this morning and then spent the afternoon doing our town chores. 

 I am sleepy and not in the mood to spend the hour or so typing on my phone to update the blog. However, I also know that there are folks our there wondering where the heck we are. We are currently making our way through the White Mountains of New Hampshire, which are breathtakingly beautiful. 345.2 miles to go until we summit Mt. Katahdin! I promise more details when we take a day off. For now, a picture of us at the summit of Mt. Moosilauke. 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

1700 miles

Sadly, I have not written in my journal for a week, which means this post will be fairly short. We are still in Vermont, in a little town on the trail called Killington, at mile 1701.5, currently waiting out another rain soaked day at Mountain Meadows Lodge (view from the sitting room below).

Vermont has earned its reputation as the mud state. The trail will be dry and hard packed, and then out of nowhere we find ourselves trudging through thick patches of squishy mud. 

Vermont has also been a reintroduction to climbing mountains again.  We climbed Stratton Mountain, which is where Benton MacKaye conceived the idea for the Appalachian Trail, and the next day Bromley Mtn. which is host to ski slopes. 

Below is a collection of photos for this week. Perhaps next week I'll be more detailed. 

These two girls were working on the trail as we climbed Stratton Mtn. 

View below from atop the fire tower. 

Stratton Pond shelter. 
Stratton Pond. 

View of sunrise from Kid Gore Shelter

Our stop at Green Mountain House in Manchester Center. The owner, Jeff, hung a Canadian flag in Trouble's and my honor. 
Zen Master made salads to go with our lasagna and garlic bread. 
Two Socks and Melkie

Me on the ski lift atop of Bromley. A ride up would have been nice. 


Zen Master found a little friend. 

We came across two areas filled with hundreds of cairns - amazing!

Maneuvering around a fallen tree on the trail. 

Here we are at the marker for 500 miles left. Two Socks, Trouble, me, Zen Master, and Melkie. 

Melkie shows his happiness by rolling in his back. I thought it would be fun to do the same. Melkie approved. 

Crossing a stream. 

We're a few days from Hanover, New Hampshire, our second to last state. 

Till next time, Canadian Bacon out. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Vermont

Our hike through Massachusetts was a reintroduction to some higher elevation, which we haven't seen for awhile. After a long climb a few days ago, we were treated to some magnificent views of Massachusetts. My phone pictures can't adequately capture most views, but I liked this picture of the morning clouds over the valley. 


We camped one night at the site of an old Shaker settlement. It was interesting to read the history of the site and see a stone wall remnant from the settlement. 
The next day, we had a shorter hike of ten miles and spent the afternoon relaxing at the Upper Goose Pond cabin. The cabin host volunteers treated all the hikers to a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and coffee. 


The trail took us through the small town of Dalton, MA, where we passed Crane & Co. the factory where the paper for all US currency originates. 


Goofing off a bit on the trail, some of us stopped to climb a tree. 



We climbed Mt. Greylock, the highest peak in MA at 3491 feet. There were terrific views of the Green, Catskills, and Taconic mountain ranges. 


The Veterans War Memorial Tower at the summit. 


We have entered Vermont and realized quickly why it is nicknamed "Vermud."


Although we still have almost six hundred miles to go, we are fast approaching the last quarter of the trail and are beginning to feel the pull of Katahdin and the end. Of course, we have the Whites to contend with before then, and as we get closer each day, the excitement of being back in some real mountains is mixed with a little fear of the challenge. Our legs and backs are stronger, but also tired from the wear and tear of 1600 miles. I've developed a nagging foot pain in my left heel that I am trying to treat with stretching and massage. We also slack-packed for two days (hiked without packs, which Miss Janet, a true trail angel brought forward for us). I'm hoping that getting new insoles in a few days will help too. 

As I reread my last post, I realized that I had forgotten to mention some trail magic that I received which has been a true blessing: Beth, many thanks to you and Joe for loading and mailing an IPod the same day I asked you.  Your response was above and beyond, as always. We miss you!

Next stop Manchester Center, Vermont.