24 Moments from the Presidentials: SOBO Days 36 – 41

When I began planning my Appalachian Trail thru-hike, I roughly identified which months I’d be in which states. Hey, I’m a planner at heart. At this time, I realized that my time in New Hampshire would loosely align with my birthday. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be cool to celebrate my birthday in the Whites?”

By complete coincidence and dodging bad weather, I hiked from Pinkham Notch to the Lakes of the Clouds Hut on my 24th birthday. This trek took me along the Presidential Mountain Range of the White Mountains, including a summit of Mount Washington. That’s a birthday for the books!

This post highlights a chronological summary of 24 awesome moments for my 24th birthday.

Happy Birthday to Me!

1) Woke up with sunrise, dry in my tent…the small joys of life!

2) Forgot to eat yesterday’s cheese portion at lunch, had it as a side to my oatmeal and peanut butter at breakfast. Score!

3) Day hikers from Connecticut stopped to chat while I was tearing down my tent and encouraged my group that Connecticut would be much flatter hiking, with lovely maintained trails. Cool!

4) The early morning walk over the Mount Washington Auto Road with no cars in the parking lot, no cars driving…it was desolate and peaceful to be in such a touristy area before the other tourists arrived.

5) The view of the entire Presidential Range once I emerged from the treeline ascending Mount Madison took my breath away. Plus, looking behind and seeing the Wildcats, which I had hiked in the days previous, was mind-blowing and awe-inspiring.

6) Leftover chocolate chip pancakes with coconut, cranberries, and maple syrup at the Mount Madison Hut were delicious after that climb!

7) I also redeemed a free thru-hiker brownie at the Mount Madison Hut. Mid-day birthday cake, yum!

8) Coming over the back of Mount Adams, with another slightly closer view of Mount Washington as we proceeded over the range was wicked!

9) Deciding not to stop at The Perch campsite and to continue hiking over the entire range in a day because we were all feeling good! Plus, it was my birthday, and I wanted to, so no one had the heart to disagree with me. Thanks guys!

10) Trail magic from a fellow thru-hiker around Mount Jefferson, who pulled candy out of her fanny pack for us, surprise, delicious!

11) Cell service for the first time in a few days on the side of Mount Clay allowed me to send off a couple “thank you’s” to birthday texts from my family after a few days with no service.

12) Hitting the sign telling us we had 1.4 miles to go until the summit of Mount Washington, time to knock off that bucket list summit!

13) The view of the valley down from the side of Mount Washington was gorgeous. Just gorgeous. How did I not notice that from the other side of the mountain range?

14) Crossing the cog train tracks just as the train came up the side of the mountain meant a great shot and some waves and smiles from tourists headed up to view the summit of Mount Washington.

15) The summit of Mount Washington! One of the highest summits on the Appalachian Trail, the views certainly did not disappoint!

16) A real restroom at the Visitor Center on the summit, always a treat!

17) A safe, slow descent down to the Lakes of the Clouds Hut in the evening after most hikers had proceeded down the mountain already. The view of the hut in the distance with the alpine lake was so peaceful and lovely.

18) Meeting the fun and friendly staff at the Lakes of the Clouds Hut who offered us a spot to sleep in the “dungeon” and a work for stay.

19) A delicious meal of leftovers from the Lakes of the Clouds kitchen: baked pasta shells, salad, bread and butter, peas, and bean soup. Beats 30 cent ramen!

20) Watching the sunset from the Lakes of the Clouds Hut with other thru-hikers and the staff. Definitely one of the prettiest spots I’ve seen a sunset in my life.

21) Spending the evening with three of my fav trail buddies, dare I call them my “tramiliy”? Lots of love to them!

22) Doing hundreds of dishes with music blasting, while dancing in the kitchen with other thru-hikers and the staff.

23) The staff at Lakes of the Clouds happened to make a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting that evening and offered me a slice for my birthday. Little did they know that that’s my all-time favourite cake, SCORE!

24) Sleeping in the dungeon with a cool breeze and a view of the stars and surrounded by my fellow thru-hiking pals.

Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. I’ll never forget that day and am grateful for everyone and everything that made it so AWESOME!


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Comments 3

  • Dottie Rust : Aug 18th

    Great post! Love to read your upbeat happy description of your time in the Whites…reminiscent of my many hikes across the whites & my AT hike.

    Happy Birthday & hike on!

  • thetentman : Aug 18th

    Happy birthday!!!

  • Helen : Aug 23rd

    Loving your blog Jana! Happy and safe travels!!!


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