Wetfoot and Arry, Vol. 15, Days 31-33: Party of Three

Day 31: 0.0 Miles

Today was a great zero day. I enjoyed a wonderful pancake breakfast at Welch’s. I brought my Kindle to keep me company, although I felt a bit self-conscious and rushed by the waitress. I really just wanted to relax and read for a moment.

Arry enjoying a pup cup!

That afternoon Arry and I went for more ice cream. Do you sense a theme?

Farmers market finds!

Thursday is the local farmers market in Gotham. My eyes must have been waaaay bigger than my stomach because I bought an excessive amount of delicious food and local produce. The strawberries would be packed out to enjoy tomorrow!

Local produce is the best!

Lucky me it was Christmas in July week on the Hallmark channel. It kept Arry and me company as we relished the last day of a well-earned rest before our hike took us through the White Mountain National Forest tomorrow!

Day 32: 4.7 Miles

Today was a very chillax day. I slept in, and took the dog for a walk along the streets of Gorham. My boyfriend wouldn’t make it to Pinkham Notch until 3 p.m., and I had scheduled my shuttle for noon. That meant Arry and I had plenty of time to kill.

I turned on the Hallmark Christmas channel for Arry as I left for breakfast. I’m pretty sure every Christmas movie of theirs has the same plot, just change the character’s locations and occupations. After five minutes you know how it will end, but they make you cry anyways.

A welcome sight! We will be hiking as a group of three for the next few days!

I ate a veggie omelette and coffee at Welsh’s. Same restaurant as yesterday, in the same seating section with the same waitress.

She must have remembered me from yesterday because she kept swinging by to top off my coffee again and again, and left me to read in peace. She didn’t even bat an eye when I asked for a side order of sausage to go. You know, for Arry. I tipped her very well.

I’ve started to enjoy going to restaurants by myself and slowly eating while I read.  It is a nice change of location from holing up in the hotel room, I get to enjoy a well-cooked meal, and journey further into the adventures of Aomame, Tengo and the little people.

There was an article I read long ago to the effect of: single people shouldn’t worry about the stigma of going to a restaurant or movie alone. While these are typical “date night” events, you don’t have to be on a date to enjoy a restaurant’s meal, or watch a movie in theaters. Often I avoid going to restaurants when I’m alone; there’s a feeling of judgment I feel. But once past that self-consciousness I’ve been finding you can really enjoy the experience.

My shuttle showed up, and about 20 minutes later Bill dropped Arry and me off at the visitors center in Pinkham Notch.

I went inside and ordered the thru-hikers $2 soup and bread. They had a zucchini and coconut soup, and it was tangy but quite delicious. The bread was homemade. Yummmmm!

View from Lowe’s Bald.

We sat at a picnic table in the shade. Arry made a nest underneath the table, and I read.

A family with three beautiful daughters sat at one of the tables next to us. The three daughters were enchanted with Arry. They were visiting family for a week and had hiked to the falls. Their dad wouldn’t let them have a dog apparently, but they all seemed to enjoy petting and hugging her.  It is so cute to watch children fawn over Arry.

As I went back to my picnic table who should appear but Cranberry and Uncle Sauce! Arry ran over to them with her tail wagging enthusiastically.

Uncle Sauce is taking a bus to an interview tomorrow, and Cranberry was debating whether to continue on or take time off the trail and visit her grandma.

Admiring the streams and falls.

I could only tell her my philosophy. You need to be present. If you’re going to be thinking on trail about wishing you were with your grandma, then you won’t be present for your hike. By the time we headed onto the trail she had decided to visit her grandma and take the same bus out as Uncle Sauce.

An AMC shuttle pulled up.  The boyfriend was here!

I told Arry to “find dad.” It’s a little game we play and she will run around the house and find either my boyfriend or me. At first she looked confused. And then she started smelling, and ran up to him. She never jumps on people, one of the reasons I think people fall in love with her so fast, but she jumped on him. There was so much excitement and energy she couldn’t contain herself; she ran in circles, jumped on him again, ran in more circles, and then thoroughly smelled him. It was adorable.

Crossing the Peabody footbridge.

After a little reorganization of the packs, we were off! 4.7 miles to Osgood Campground. It was what I’ve deemed “typical New Hampshire terrain” so far. Parts were well groomed, other parts you look for where it seems someone else walked but you’re not 100% sure, other parts you’re scrambling over giant boulders that seemed to be where they piled all the rocks from the trail.

Even with the late start we made good time to the campground. It was exciting, finally hiking with my boyfriend again.  We sat at Lowe’s Bald Spot and enjoyed the view, despite the clouds. That’s something that I would not have done if it was just me and Arry.

I will say, my two-man tent is much warmer with three bodies in it now. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m sharing this experience with the people I love most. Anything can happen, and there will be ups and downs, Highs and lows. And those are the most important memories. The ones you hold onto and cherish the most.

Day 33: 4.0 Miles

Beautiful day up in the White Mountains. A hot, sunny, beautiful day.

As I sit outside on the porch of Crag Camp, (run by the RMC) reading and writing these notes, I’m struck by the beauty in this view overlooking Mount Adams and Mount Madison.

Climbing Mount Madison.

We had a lazy morning at Osgood Campsite. As we only had about five miles to travel we took our time getting ready, savoring the time together and developing a new daily rhythm now that my boyfriend was here.

It was hot by the time we left the campsite just before 9 a.m. The first two and a half miles were basically all uphill, and were extremely rocky. By the time we were about a mile from the Madison summit we seemed to be bouldering over rocks again.

Perhaps I need to be more impressed with Arry. Everywhere we go the terrain gets trickier and trickier and all the other hikers are impressed she climbs right next to me. She made easy work of a few tricky scrambles, but I think her favorite part was the attention she got at the summit. She was a mini celebrity up there.

Beautiful rocky ascent.

We got to witness a woman finish her final 48th new Hampshire peak over 4,000 feet! I have done a good number of the 46ers in New York, and I suppose I should have realized every state has their own. Still, it was cool to celebrate briefly with her on that accomplishment.

The man with her said she was finishing them now because she was lazy on the AT. I completely understand; we skipped Mount Adams because we just weren’t feeling an extra half mile each way. The AT took us straight over Madison so I should have asked her how she managed to skip it. She did hike the AT 14 years ago, so my theory is they rerouted the trail.

Looking at the route the AT takes you through the Whites, they take you very close to many peaks, but really just keep you on the ridgeline. So close and yet so far away. I think we will try to hit a few of those extra peaks tomorrow. Just goes to prove that the AT shows you a little bit of everything, but you miss out on so many amazing views and trails.  To really enjoy it you have to slow down and hike your own trails.

Mount Madison!

Shortly after Madison we came to the AMC hut. It was beautiful. I walked inside to fill up on water and there was a kitchen with fresh bread and other baked goods, a bunkroom, and a large community dining area. After we eat through a good deal of our food and snacks we are lugging around I’m sure we will utilize the huts for their delicious baked goods! But for now we abstained, opting to decrease our pack weight.

From there it was a smooth, albeit rocky, uncovered walk, mostly along the ridgeline to Thunderstorm Junction. There we could have gone a half mile to the summit of Adams, or south to Crag Camp for the night.

We skipped on the extra climb and headed to camp. It was a long, rocky descent an entire mile off the AT. One that I am not particularly looking forward to walking back up tomorrow morning.

Taking a break outside the AMC hut.

Crag Camp is a cute little hut; there are three bunkrooms and a common area with a cooking space and several tables to eat at or enjoy company with. There is a front porch with a chair and bench overlooking the valley to the east with an immaculate view of Mount Adams and Mount Madison.

We put our things on two mattresses in the middle room and ate snacks while we chatted with Hayden and Kaitlin. They came for the weekend, hiked a mile or so to this hut, left their things and are day hiking Madison and Adams. How smart. Maybe we will do something like that in the future.

Breathtaking view from Crag Camp.

We did end up a bit sunburned from all the time exposed on the ridge. I’m going to have some funky tan lines now.

After daily chores, which were much less as we didn’t have a tent to set up, we relaxed on the porch. This is one of my favorite reasons for getting to camp early.

Mountains are for relaxing and enjoying the moment.

A man and his granddaughter showed up and played some of the games left in the cabin. It reminded me of spending quality time with my grandma and grandpa.  Those little memories are the ones I hold dear, and part of what I’m looking forward to on this upcoming family vacation.

I can’t get over the beautiful views. It was worth walking a mile out of our way. Although I wonder if I’ll think the same thing tomorrow morning. I’m hoping to catch a nice sunrise here tomorrow morning.

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