Wetfoot and Arry, Vol. 14 Days 28-30: Hello New Hampshire

Day 28: 14.5 miles

We started the morning in Maine, and ended in new Hampshire!!

Lots of miles today. I carried all of Arry’s things so she could do the miles while getting a bit of a break after yesterday.

The beginning of the morning was a lot more rock scrambling. Maine didnt want us to leave easily. We climbed Goose Eye Mountain, which had about three separate peaks, including multiple ladders and rebar to help over the rough terrain. The only problem we ran into was, Arry can climb ladders, she just is not comfident on the skinny little metal ones they fused into rocks. This meant that at one point I had to could carry her down a steep drop.

Final sunrise in Maine!

As we were rock scrambling who should we run into but Rouge! She stayed at the shelter with us last night and was planning to camp at the same site as us tonight. We played leapfrog for awhile…until we realized we were close to the Maine and New Hampshire border. We stuck together so we could get pictures!

We stepped across the line, it was magical! I still felt like we were in southern Maine. The signs in New Hampshire are white instead of brown, and the white blazes seemed much further apart. However, despite the differences we were was still on very much rocky and mountainous terrain.  I had to keep reminding myself I was in New Hampshire now.

New Hampshire – Maine state line!

Our first accomplishment since walking into New Hampshire was to climb Mount Success! We were successful. I wish we could have stayed and enjoyed the view a bit longer, but it was cold and extremely windy on the peak.

Once we climbed down Mount Success the trail got muddier. We’re talking mud so deep I misstepped and went in to my knee! Everywhere. Mud! In these cases I enjoy following Arry as she is amazing at keeping her paws clean, a trait I very much appreciate when backpacking with her.

I’ve been working on Arry following me as we hike. She has been getting the hang of it and will stay behind me for the most part now. Obviously, she still enjoys running ahead as point the most. But in crowded areas, or when I think we are getting close to a campsite it is best to just have her calmly follow me. The downside is I enjoy watching her for any limps or signs of fatigue.  So I just have to make sure I turn around as we hike and take ample breaks when I’m leading.

View ontop of Mpunt Success! SUCCESS!

Arry, Rogue and I had lunch at the Genetian Pond Shelter. It was massive! Two stories tall! I’ll bet it has a good view for sunset overlooking the beaver pond.

After letting my toes air dry through lunch, I looked wistfully at my hiking boots back wet and muddy hiking boots. I decided to chaco it for the last five miles. This turned out to be a very muddy decision.

The terrain smoothed out, but the mud didnt dissipate for many miles. Eventually, we passed a lady hiking in the most pristine looking blue shoes that didn’t look like they had an ounce of mud on them. I asked her if there was a lot of mud up ahead since her shoes looked so clean. She said she just watched where she stepped, and said I was brave for hiking in chacos. My feet at this point where caked in mud and I had probably cried out for the umpteenth time because I stubbed a toe on a branch. However, that poor lady was in for a surprise up ahead, because from where we met her the only mud we encountered was when we took a wrong turn at Page Pond.

Finally we arrived at the Trident Col Campsite. Home sweet home for the night. It is hard to believe we finished our first state, and will hike into Gorham early tomorrow morning.

Beautiful view of Beaver Pond by the Gentian Shelter.

Rouge, Ragdoll, Molasses and I talked for a long time tonight.  A lot about the White Mountains, which Ragdoll and Molasses have spent a lot of time hiking  They had more than a few day hikes not part of the AT they highly recommended.

I think the AT is awesome because you get to explore so much of the east coast, it is like getting a taste for more places to explore, like a gateway to so many more great places to go and explore.

Day 29: 6.9 miles

Arry and I were up early for our walk into town. Although not quite as early as Rogue.

I had called Libbys Barn Hostel when I was in Andover for a reservstion as technically they arent pet friendly. “She is a good dog and I promise all she is going to want to do is sleep,” I promised Paul, the hostel owner. After our conversation he had given us the reservation, on the condition that he meet Arry before a final decision was made. It seemed fair to me.

Good morning New Hampshire! From Cascade Mountain.

Arry and I have never been in a hostel environment before. We have always had private rooms. I was leaning more and more towards taking a zero in Gorham, and figured eventually I could go to a hotel down the road, but I did look forward to potentially being able to stay with my trail friends for a night before going to a hotel down the road. That is the drawback with hiking a dog sometimes, it’s rewarding, but people make a big deal about it.

The walk into town was relaxing. Arry had plenty of energy, although I’m sure she could use a rest day. I think the fact that I’ve been carrying her pack for three days has helped her energy too.

I’ve been nervous about her nails especially since we went through the Notch. Perhaps I’m a bit overprotective of her, but when I pick up her harness to go hiking her tail wags and she is just so excited to go adventuring and smelling. I dont ever want that to change. Back when I first entered the 100 Mile Wilderness I met a man, his son and his dog. He saw Arry’s pack and asked if she liked wearing it. “She loves it!” I told him.  And he mentioned his dog hated his pack, which seemed extremely sad to me.

View from Hayes Mountain.

We hiked up Cascade Mountain, and were treated to a morning view of new Hampshire.  Our first actually. We paused to admire this beautiful welcoming view of New Hampshire.

After that it was a short hike up Hayes Mountain, and a long downhill to RT 2, where we would be picked up. Hiking in New Hampshire has been interesting. There seem to be less blazes, and frequently we just seem to be hopefully walking on the most traveled mostly flat paths covered in old leaves. Suddenly there will be a pile of rocks to clamber up or down, and then they simply disappear into a flat, mostly unobstructed path.

Well before noon we left the woods, and followed the AT down a dirt road, over Rattle River and finally to the parking lot.

Crossing Rattle River.

The man who picked us up was Paul’s brother. He owns the B&B next to the barn hostel. Arry stole his heart as she laid by my feet, putting her head on the center console and looked up at him with those beautiful brown eyes.

When we arrived at the Barn our driver told Paul she was a good dog. Arry stood there wagging her tail, and after about 30 seconds Paul said we could stay!

The Barn is a legit barn. The second story is one giant room full of bunks. The first floor held a community room with washer, dryer, kitchen, TV, couches and an old horse stall with a bunk in it. That bunk wasn’t claimed yet, so Paul let Arry and I take it so Arry could have a little bit more private space.

Arry enjoying the cozy space in Libby’s Barn!

True to my promise, Arry found a comfy space and closed her eyes. I asked a fellow hiker, Bonsai, to watch her while I showered and he happily agreed as Arry cuddled with him on one of the couches.

Rogue had made it to the hostel minutes before Arry and I arrived. After we cleaned ourselves up, we were both starving. I let her talk me into lunch at the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet and Timber agreed to cuddle her while we were out.

Three and a half plates of food each later and we were stuffed to the brim. I didn’t even have room for icecream, which is saying something. The mile walk back to the hostel may have actually been the hardest mile on the AT!

Arey enjoying more comfy spaces!

I returned to a very happy and content Arry who enjoyed her cuddles very much. It is crazy how much happiness she brought the hikers at the hostel. She mostly slept on our bunk or curled up on the couch, but they all loved on her. Many told me stories of how they missed their dogs, and tales of hiking with their pets.

After Arry napped for most of the afternoon we went out for some icecream! The young girls scooping the icecream were so excited to make her a pup bowl and put oodles and oodles of mini milk bones on her vanilla soft serve. She didnt eat any of them; all she cared about was the icecream!

Late that night we ordered pizza. But I was still sooo full from the buffet and icecream that I could hardly eat two slices. Oh well, leftovers for tomorrow.

Yay for icecream!

Rogue was nice enough to pick up some beef sticks for Arry during the Walmart run so I could stay with her. Although I know all the hikers here love on her and many have offered to keep her company, I feel bad constantly asking them to watch her.

This hostel is very warm and welcoming, and I really enjoy it for what it is. It isn’t private, but Paul went out of his way to accommodate us and I am so thankful and appreciative of the hiking community. Paul adores her, every time he walks by he checks on her and smiles at her curled up on a pile of pillows and blankets snoozing comfortably. I’m sure it is nice to have someone like Arry appreciate your place so much.

Day 30: 0.0

First official zero day. I’ve been hemming and hawing about taking it. As I have to be in Pinkham Notch on Friday to meet my boyfriend, my options have really narrowed down my options to:

1. Taking no zero days, which would give me two and a half days of hiking to get there. Optimal hikin time, but no rest.

2. Take one zero day, with one and a half days, over very strenuous terrain, which would defeat the purpose of trying to take it slow and rest.

3. Take a zero and slack pack (walk with a day pack) 21 miles without Arry over strenuous terrain, however I’ve been told it takes 8-12 hours, and I’d be rushing back to Arry.

4. Take two zero days and skip the 21 miles, meet my boyfriend, and come back to that section later.

The longer I stayed in Gorham, the more I realized Arry and I both could use a break. There seemed to be no sense in rushing through one of the most beautiful parts of the AT. And as I’ve made my mind up to put life first, my solidarity in completing a thru-hike “properly” is low. Besides, I already hiked the first 188 miles NOBO.

Check out time from the hostel was 9am. With impending storms in the upcoming weather forecast for the day, a slew of hikers decided to take a zero. Rogue decided to hike out that morning, while Cranberry and Uncle Sauce took a zero.

It started pouring about 8am, and I stared outside watching the rain, content with my choice to stay in town. Just before 9am, I was packed and ready to go. Paul pulled me aside and offered a second night on the house if Arry needed more rest. His hospitality blew me away. This is one of those great things about small businesses. Paul really cares about hikers, and their adorable pups. I told him we weren’t planning on heading out, and were going to a hotel,  and he understood, but made sure to say goodbye to Arry.

First things first, I made the popcorn, and stuffed my face while Star Trek Voyager played in the background and Arry lounged on the bed. Then I took a shower for the second day in a row.

I feel like for walking no miles, I actually walk a lot when I’m in town.

And then it was back to the room to snuggle the pup and binge watch cable as my brain oozed out of my ears, read a bit more and catch up with folks back home.

The artificial light always messes with my sleep rhythm. I stay up way too late doing too many things that aren’t actually important. All in all it was a good day in town. I think Arry enjoyed the extra rest. Tomorrow she will be able to spend the entire day on the mattress!

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