Mile 1747.8 – Mile 1891.7
After I left the pizza place in Hanover and I started walking up the mountain to tent at the shelter. As I was walking up I ran into a couple and their nephew who were day hiking back to their home. They asked if I had plenty of water because the shelter source wasn’t good. I only had half a liter. They invited me back to their place to fill my bottles and then eventually offered me a nights stay. I showered, did laundry, ate more pizza, played a board game, and drank a couple beers too.
There’s no way I can accurately describe the feeling when someone you don’t know goes completely out of their way to accommodate a smelly nobody Hiker. It’s beyond humbling.
Anyway, that was my unexpected evening.
I woke up this morning at 5:45 to about 50 college students around my tent. They were there at the lookout where I camped to watched the sunrise. What a strange way to wake up. I couldn’t help but laugh when I opened my tent.
I climbed down the viewpoint and to the road to get a hitch into the nearest town. I have been eating 2 or 3 times more than I was when I started this hike. My food supply drains so much quicker now. I thought I would have enough food until Tuesday night but I was definitely wrong.
I hiked up and over two mountains today. Smarts Mountain and Mount Cube. Both were beautiful and strenuous.
I climbed my first big boy mountain in The Whites, Mount Moosilauke. The views were like nothing I have experienced yet on the AT. Just super beautiful and expansive.
This morning I climbed down the rest of Moosilauke and decided my body needed a break. I literally sat at the road and debated relaxing and taking a zero day or continuing to hike. I ultimately stuck my thumb out and hitched into Lincoln, resupplied at the grocery store, ate Mexican food, and checked into the The Notch Hostel early.
I mostly just sat around, relaxed, talked to Duane on the phone, and read a book. It felt pretty great. In the evening, we all went out for taco Tuesday.
I summited south and north Kinsman today. The climb was pretty crazy. I put away my trekking poles at one point and literally rock climbed. I sometimes had to stop and figure out the best way up. It’s a little hard to call this part of the trail hiking.
I really didn’t like today. I summited Little Haystack, Lincoln, and Lafayette. I had seen photos of this section and it looked breathtaking. But when I got up there, it wasn’t breathtaking at all. It was absolutely freezing and a couldn’t see a thing. I was constantly fighting the wind and once I finally got back under tree cover, I was exhausted.
I made it to Garfield Ridge campsite and the caretaker warned me about the cold temperatures that were coming in tonight. He said it would be in the 20s but with the windchill it would feel like negative degrees.
I peed in a gallon ziplock bag tonight because it was too cold to get out of my tent. I set it outside my tent. So, that’s that.
Today was a much better day although it didn’t start out that way. I kept thinking about how much I wanted to just be home and warm and not being painfully cold. It took my body about 45 minutes of hiking to actually get warm. And even still I felt like my hand-eye coordination was off. I kept tripping and my feet weren’t going where I thought they were going to go.
On top of South Twin, there was actually ice covering all the trees and the summit sign.
Eventually in the afternoon, the sun came out. That really helped. I could actually see some views too.
The night won’t be as cold tonight. It’ll be in the mid 30s.
Tonight I’m at Lakes of the Clouds hut. They let me sleep on their dining room floor for $11 (it’s all the cash I had on me). There’s about 15 others doing the same.
The weather today was pretty mild and the walk at golden hour towards the hut was magical. It kind of felt like I was on another planet or on the moon.
Today was the scariest day I’ve had on trail.
When I started up Mount Washington, the weather was mild and sunny. As I was climbing down though, I noticed the clouds moving fast and the weather changing by the second. I knew I had about 7 more miles to tree line and all I really could do was walk. Before I knew it, the winds were at 50-60 mph, visibility was down to 50 feet, and rain was coming down like pellets stinging my eyes. I fell multiple times because of the force of the wind.
I’ve been thinking about it – the best way to describe the force of the wind would be if you’re in the very back of a truck bed going down the highway at 60 mph and you’re trying to walk to the front of the truck of bed. I think that describes the force of the wind well.
And unfortunately I don’t have any photos of the storm. I was too afraid to take my phone out. One misstep and my phone would have gone flying. I actually lost the bandana that I’ve been carry on the back of my pack since Damascus. That was a bummer.
But today, I did summit Mount Washington. Which was something I have been wanting to do for years.
I made it into the town of Gorham and got a hotel. The hostel was full when we got there. It’s kind of nice to have my own bed and spread out.
I did my laundry, did my resupply, and made it out of Gorham around 10 am. I hitched a ride back to the trail and my ride told me all about the moose that live in the area. I still haven’t seen one! I really hope I do before my hike is over.
Ironically, Mount Washington looked like this from Wildcat Mountain today –
Today was super slow moving. The descent from Carter Mountain was pretty steep and the rocks and boulders were super slick. I fell quite a few times and also broke one of my trekking poles.
I was going to pass White Mountain hostel up but the trail goes right beside it and it was about 5:30pm so I decided to stop here for the night.
Tomorrow morning they have all you can eat waffles. I’m excited about that but not excited about the rain for the next two days.
I can’t believe I’m only 16 miles from Maine. That’s my last state! Woo!
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