White Mountains in the Rear View Mirror

Yesterday, I reached Rte 2 in Sherburne NH, effectively the end of the White Mountain segment of the trail. Next up is entering Maine and the Mahoosuc Range. While in the Whites, I stayed in several of the AMC huts as a paid guest. I really enjoyed the hospitality, conversations with other hikers, and of course the meals. The all you can eat but eat what you take approach helped me to gain a few needed pounds and hopefully turn around my alarming weight loss which was as great as 30-35 pounds at one point. The Whites lived up to their reputation as steep, rocky, and challenging but also with magnificent views and unique alpine terrain. One hiker who passed me on the descent of North Carter summed it up nicely as he fumed, “this isn’t hiking, it’s mountain climbing”. Let’s just call it challenging hiking with some scrambling.

Presidential Traverse

I wanted to make the traverse of Mt Washington and the other Presidential peaks on a nice weather day with views. My original plan was to hike from Mizpah to Madison Springs huts on Sunday, June 30. But the summit forecast was calling for sustained winds of 75 mph with gusts to 90 mph. Monday looked like better weather so I pushed my hut reservations forward by a day and was glad. This created an extra day in my schedule, and I was fortunate to be able to stay off trail with Amy Patenaude and Charley Gunn in Franconia. Many thanks to them for their warm hospitality.

Monday proved to be a fine day for the traverse. The summits were in the clouds in the morning but it cleared in the afternoon with magnificent views of the northern Presidentials. I stopped at Lakes of the Clouds Hut for a nice lunch but did not linger on Mt Washington. Interesting experience as I was descending into Edmunds Col. I heard someone shouting my name and it was Steve Shaw, a faculty member at SUNY-ESF in Syracuse, NY. He is the second professional colleague I ran into in the White Mtns.

One interesting change is that since I took 4 days off to visit family in Maine over the 4th, I’ve lost touch with many of the hikers such as Titan, Vino, and Dr Siracha, who I was seeing on a regular basis. I may not catch up to them again before Katahdin. So there are many new hikers I’ve met in the hostel and even a couple such as Speed Queen who I had not seen in many weeks.

Today, I am taking a zero day at a hiker hostel in Gorham NH because heavy rain from the remnants of Tropical Storm Beryl is predicted for the afternoon and evening. Trail conditions could be pretty soggy on Thursday but the weather looks good in the following days. The Mahoosuc Range is known to be steep and rugged with the infamous “toughest mile on the AT” at Mahoosuc Notch. Much adventure to look forward to.

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Comments 1

  • P.R. Hornby : Jul 10th

    Yes, I’ve known Doug and his family, for 60 plus years. Numerous trail stories of adventures in the White Mountains and Presidentials, to many to mention here.Doug has been fortunate to have gathered experiences, worldwide. He brings an interesting background, to this trip, from a variety of fields. This is a new age of hiking and experience.


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