Week 20: The One Where I Hiked the Whites

The White Mountains of New Hampshire are often spoken of in foreboding whispers, especially among hikers who have already hiked through the Smokies, arguably the most difficult section of the South. “Oh, you think is difficult? Just wait until you hit the Whites.” However when asked why, you often receive a a wry smile and a, “Just wait and see.” So needless to say I was like totes excited for my own attempt to hike them.


What are you talking about? Those mountains look picturesque, not scary-esque.

Let me just say, I tend to not learn from my mistakes. “Oh, binge eating and then hiking right away doesn’t work out well for me? Well let’s do that again and again and again.” Thru hiking is a license to binge eat, something I fear losing when I return back to the real world. Eating food in normal amounts? Shudder. However, I digress. Where I meant to go is that I often underestimate the trail. I become complacent, almost comfortable, with the trail. And then as if reading my mind, the trail throws you a zinger. In this case, the Whites, and more specifically the 18 miles from Kinsman to Franconia Notch. I was wholly unprepared. While Mt Moosilake is often spoken of as challenging, it was doable. So doable, we (Jingle, Sweets, and I) thought 18 miles was totally fine. While achieved, I was both physically and mentally exhausted. Fortunately there was a town day in the cards before attempting the rest of the Whites.

However, again I realize I’m getting ahead of myself. I haven’t posted since Hanover, NH Seems that a photo montage is in order to get the team up to where I’m at.


Bill Ackerly, the “Ice Cream Man” passed away this spring. His family continued the tradition until recently. We were the last to receive ice cream. Right after they took down the sign. “His ice cream brings all the hikers to the yard. His water tastes better than yours. Damn right his croquet game is better than yours. It’s all FREE, that’s right there is NO charge!!”

Above the clouds

Life from the top (not exactly sure the summit… mah bad)

Talk about sass

Annnd Mt Moosilake

Another cool photo from Jingle (cool photos come from Jingle)

The summit of Moosilauke

A better version

Sunrise from the shelter on Moosilauke (the other photo was from sunset)

And down the other side

The Whites have been epic. Epically difficult. Epically beautiful. Just when I think surely those maniacal trail planners can’t devise anything worse. Worse comes. Rock climbs straight up. Steep slick slabs of rocks. Ridge line with no direct path and rocks everywhere. Did I mention just rocks? Rocks everywhere. All types of rock. Guess New Hampshire is called the granite state for a reason. And yet the views are stellar. Photos only skim the surface. I took a picture to show how terrible the trail is, and afterward was struck with the beauty. It’s interesting how we can get so bogged down in our problems that you ignore the magnificence around. Time for more photos.

Mitzpah Hut. A work for stay resulted a dinner of pulled pork, a breakfast of pancakes, and a clean floor to sleep on. All I had to do was clean a door and doorframe. Solid

The inside of the hut

And on to the Presidentials

Looking back provides a view as well



The summit!! No dangerous weather here.

I have more pictures however it’s taken ALL night to load these.

Continuing the thread where I underestimate the trail before me, the trail coming from down from Mt Washington and then Mt Madison’s summit kicked my butt. I was prepared for climbing up and down rocks. However, a great thing about the AT is that it’s well-marked. However in this section it’s just rocks and cairns. You make your own trail, which some people like. I, on the other hand, do not. After hours of feeling betrayed by the AT I fell. Sitting on the trail I felt the tears coming. I was so angry and so frustrated. Stupid trail. However, I got up, ate a snack and kept hiking because that’s what hikers do. We hike. Food also makes crises better.

Today I woke up in Gorham, NH. Less than 300 miles separate me from Katahdin and just 18 from the New Hampshire-Maine border. It’s surreal that I’m so close to finishing. I dream of things I’m going to throw away in my pack when I’m done. August 25. Mark it in your calendar and think of me.

As always I would like to send a huge thanks to The Mother and Debbie that went with her to get me new shoes in a frenzy and Ms Mercer. I would also like to take a moment to send positive thoughts and prayers to Gwen Fulton. One of my biggest supporters, she had a brain aneurysm last week.

Love can be mailed to:

Molly Bybee; c/o Shaws Lodging; 17 Pleasant Street; Monson, ME 04464; Please hold for AT hiker; ETA 08/18

This is right before the 100 mile wilderness

Or my final destination

Molly Bybee; General Delivery; Millenocket, ME

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Comments 3

  • TBA : Aug 8th

    Nice pix and great report.

    Mount Moosilake was in a cloud of fog when I got to the top … I had no idea it had such great views!

    Caught Mount Washington in its 15 minutes of calm and clear, though, so … it comes and goes.

    Some fine hiking, and more lies ahead … all us readers are jealous!

  • Shelley Rayson : Aug 8th

    I enjoy your blog. My nephew is on the AT ( survivor). Through him I also follow Mountain Goat, whose journal lead me to follow Legs. Now I’m reading yours as it popped up on my FB from Appalachian Trials and of course recognize you from Legs journals. Safe travels. Thanks for sharing your adventures.

  • TicTac : Aug 8th

    The summit of Mt Moosilauke is considered a sensitive sub alpine environment. https://outdoors.dartmouth.edu/docs/moosimgmtplan.pdf
    Why were you intentionally walking on the sensitive vegetation, clearly paralleling the more durable – but obviously rocky – Trail? LNT ethics dictate considering the impact of your actions on the Earth and limiting that impact…


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