Thursday June 29, 2017
Franconia Notch, The Notch Hostel 16.3 miles
Total mileage 793.1
We had another slackpacked for today, but the hostel had prearranged shuttle times and I didn’t think I could make it in that time frame so I arranged an earlier shuttle. I am very glad I did because I struggled to make it to our 5:30 pm pickup time.
SOULFLOWER and I started our hike at 6:30 this morning and we only had one 15 minute break to eat lunch. The rest of the time was spent hustling over some of the hardest terrian in the Whites. I did not know it at the time, when I decided to this over 16 mile slackpack that this was one of the hardest sections of trail.
There were some rock climbs that really scared me and had me thinking about wether I wanted to continue to do this. It was later that I learned that this was one of the hardest sections. No wonder why I was having such a tough mental and physical day.
We started the day climbing Mount Wolf which was pretty strenuous and a mud bog. South Kinsman and North Kinsman Mountains had some scary rock climbing both ascending and descending. Then to add to the difficulty it started to rain and that makes everything slippery and adds to the mud, but at least it wasn’t windy and freezing. Only the summit was windy and cold, but the views weren’t great because it was cloudy and rainy so I moved on quickly. There had been more mud in New Hampshire than there was in Vermont!
I did make the 5:30 shuttle but I truly didn’t get there until 5:38. I called ahead so they knew that I was coming and held the shuttle for SOULFLOWER and I. I am faster on the up hills than SOULFLOWER so we were separated after lunch, but she is faster on the downhills so she caught up to me at the very end and we finished together totally exhausted.
After lunch I really didn’t think I was going to make it pickup time. I was just moving as fast as I could safely go and really didn’t let go of my tracking poles until I finished. I didn’t stop to drink water or eat! I just kept moving and focusing on my 5:30 pick up. My feet and knees were sore, but I just kept hustling along.
When I got into the shuttle van I drank a full leter of water. Then when I got back to the hostel l had a large spinach salad and a bowl of hot split pea and ham soup before showering. I was filthy dirty with mud covering my legs up to my knees, but I didn’t care.
I finished off my day with chocolate, an advil (the first one that I have taken for soreness) and a nice soft bed!
Wednesday June 28, 2017
Kinsman Notch, The Notch Hostel 9.3 miles
Total mileage 776.8
We left the Hikers Welcome Hostel with very light packs. We paid to have our gear shuttled to the next hostel. We had a 2:30 pm pickup from Kinsman Notch by The Notch Hostel so we headed out at 6 am to make sure we had plenty of time to get there.
Mount Moosilauke is our first climb over 4000 feet at 4802 feet. Wow, what a climb it was! It was a foggy morning and we didn’t have any views at the top. As we got closer to the top the weather got worse. It was cold and very windy. The top of the mountain was in the clouds so we did a quick video and moved on. As we were about half way down the sun came out and it was beautiful. Then just after our shuttle picked us up a the bottom of the mountain it started to rain again. Crazy mountain weather!
We still had a little tree coverage in the photo below, but it was starting to get windy and cold.
Once we got above tree line it was freezing and it got difficult to see.
After we raced off the top of Moosilauke the sun came out and it looked like it was going to be a great day. Which allowed me to get some great pictures of the waterfall beside the trail. The waterfall was about a mile long down the mountain.
The descent was very steep and I soon came to some wooden steps that were just bolted to the rock slabs. I think I like these less than ladders. I got about three steps down and froze. Thank God SOULFLOWER was just ahead of me. She coached me down them. I did crawl down a few of them on my butt!
Of course the trail warning was at the opposite end of the trail, not the beginning where we started from. Plus we hiked it south to north which is the most difficult direction.
One of the FLIPPING FOUR did have an accident that resulted in tragic results. DISCOUNT fell and has a very bad sprain with torn tendons. He is now off the trail. He has gone home to let it heal and will hopefully come back to the trail.
Tuesday June 27, 2017
Hikers Welcome Hostel 7.3 miles
Total mileage 767.5
Last night I found a bed of leaves to set my tent on. It looked like it was going to be a great spot, but… it wasn’t! After I got everything set up and my air mattress all blown up, I was looking forward to laying down and getting off my feet. I got in and got everything in its place, which is either at my head or my feet, then laid down and felt something under my backside. There were a bunch of large tree roots under all those leaves right where my hips were!!!😠 So this wasn’t going to work. I decided to rotate and and put my head where my feet were. Only now my head was lower than my feet! But at least my hips would be good and I thought it would be good to have my feet elevated. I made it to 4 am before I woke up with a sore neck and a dull pounding in my head. So I rotated back the other way for the last hour to relieve the pain in my head, which is not easy when you are wrapped up in a mummy sleeping bag. Plus I had to flip the air mattress too, because it is mummy shaped. Which is pretty difficult in a tiny solo tent in the dark, but somehow I managed it.
I headed out a little after 6 am and I wasn’t the first one out! DISCOUNT left just before me, which means he will clear most of the cobwebs! Yea for me!
Today wasn’t that glamorous. We had one climb up Mt. Mist and only one view. It was a great view, but it could not compare to the last two days.
I arrived at the Hostel around 11am and got a shower pretty quick. I was ready to get clean!
After my shower I picked out a bunk for the night and started to do all my chores…laundry, drying any wet gear, cleaning gear, updating my blog and talking to Jim. I also had two packages to pick up. One from Jim and one from CHOCOHOLIC! 😁 There were treats for all of us in both boxes! CHOCOHOLIC sent chocolate, of course and homemade fruit cake biscottis for all of us. Yummy! Jim sent us all a bag of assorted miniature chocolate bars! The group all said to say thank you to both of you. So thank you CHOCOHOLIC and thank you Jim. You guys make us smile.
The Hikers Welcome Hostel has a two story bunk house with about 16 beds in it and an outdoor bathhouse. I’m glad to be inside tonight because we got some hard rain. It didn’t last long but I was thankful to be warm and dry.
Monday June 26, 2017
Ore Hill Campsite 12. 7 miles
Total mileage 760.2
I woke up this morning to some amazing color on top of Smarts Mountain. Though I did not check it out. It starts too get light up here at 4:30 in the morning and it was in the upper 40’s. I stayed tucked into my warm sleeping bag until the birds really started to get loud.
I got packed up quickly since it was so cold. I was ready to get moving to get warmer up. It stayed cool for most of the day and the mosquitoes didn’t bother me as much as they did the last few days. I think our high didn’t even hit 70 today. Which is great hiking weather.
Our big climb today was Mount Cube which stands at just over 2900 feet. It was another fun climb. More rock scrambles and rock ledges and spectacular views.
My feet got tired like they usually do after a day of hiking without any long breaks. I only took two quick breaks today. One for breakfast and one for lunch. No opportunity to take my shoes off and rest my feet. So I was glad to finish up today around 2:30 pm and was in my tent and off my feet by 4 pm. 😊
I saw my first Moose today. Although it was not a real one. It was just an iron statue in the woods that someone had made.
I am so dirty and sticky! I feel like I’m starting to itch because of it. I’ve had the same underwear on for the last 3 days and the first day was so humid and hot that I was sweating up a storm. Icky! This campsite doesn’t have a good water source so I wasn’t able to take my normal bandana bath. It improvised by wetting a paper towel. It’s not as good as a bandana bath, but I have limited water so I made due the best I could. I’ve gotten use to my bad smell and don’t really notice it any more. I am so looking forward to my shower tomorrow!😀
Sunday June 25, 2017
Smarts Mountain Fire Cabin 12.4 miles
Total mileage 747.5
I fell asleep before 7 pm last night. A day if hiking can sure wear you out. I woke up during the night and noticed all kinds of light flashing outside my tent. It was fireflies. It looked like twinkling stars!
Today was an amazing day!
We started the day early and the weather was cool. I was the first one out of camp with SOULFLOWER right behind me. The temperature was perfect and the sun was shining. Now if the trail was free of cobwebs, that would have been ideal. I get a lot of cobwebs since I am usually the first one up. They drive me nuts. It is so annoying to feel them on your skin! 😠 We were soon passed by two young men age 17 and 19 that were out for a month. Yea, they could now clear the path of cobwebs.
Today we tackled Smarts Mountain. It was a climb up to 3200 feet over four miles. I have to say it was FUN! There were rock ledges with amazing views and some rebar climbing involved. My fear of heights has definitely decreased. I was walking up some of these rock ledges like they were nothing new.
As I was climbing my way up the mountain I get passed, by a young man. I’m guessing he was in his 20’s. And he was wearing a woman’s skirt. Now I have seen men out here wearing kilts, but this was a real womans skirt with… blue butterflies on it!
Saturday June 24, 2017
Moose Mountain Shelter 12.4 miles
Total mileage 735.1
I woke up to rain again this morning, but after looking at the weather report we should have a good day after this moves through. I took a zero yesterday to avoid a rainy day at the BROWNIE Hostel. I had a very nice restful stay. Thanks again BROWNIE and LENORE.
I got to talk to CARIBOOSE yesterday about the Whites. I met CARIBOOSE online before my Long Trail hike last year. We were both hiking the Long Trail about the same time, but we were starting from opposite ends so we had hoped we would run into each other somewhere along the trail and we did. At the end of a day as I walked around to the front of the shelter I planned to stay at that night and I hear my name being called and it was CARIBOOSE! We were staying at the same place for the evening. It was great because we could both find out about the upcoming trail and what to expect.
Anyway she has hiked through the Whites and gave me a lot of information on what to expect so I feel more comfortable about it. And she will be up there doing some hiking when I am going through there so I may get to see her again!😀
There are many areas in the whites that are above tree line and there is very limited camping up there. Since the Huts were all booked up with it being a holiday week she gave me many ideas to help me.
I finished another state today, Vermont and I am now in New Hampshire. These last two states will be the most difficult of the whole trail and I hope that I not only survive them, but am really able to enjoy all their beauty. CARIBOOSE said that the Whites are unbelievably beautiful!
BROWNIE dropped us back off in Norwich, VT without our packs then met us in Hanover, NH with our packs. It was just a little over a one mile walk from one town to the next one.
We said our goodbyes to BROWNIE then headed back into the woods. And it was super humid. I don’t usually complain about humidity, but it was bad.
We had just one climb today over Moose Mountain and it was pretty easy.
This is a picture of the privy at this shelter and it is totally viewable from the trail! 😲
Thursday June 22, 2017
Town of Norwich, VT 13.2
Total mileage 722.7
SOULFLOWER and I were out of camp by 6 am. There were no ice cream stops today, but we had the next best thing according to SOULFLOWER… coffee! I wanted to stop in the town of West Hartford to use the Library computer to download some more audio books to my phone. The books help distract me from sore feet and knees and difficult climbs. I arrived a little before they opened so I sat down on the front steps and ate my oatmeal while waiting on the 9 am open time. When the librarian, Sandy’s open the door she welcomed us in and told us she had water and coffee for us if we wanted it.
We had some more beautiful views today. It has breathtaking. So different from home!
We stopped at the Happy Hill Shelter to eat lunch. This was such a cute little shelter. The mosquitoes were bad here so I ducked inside to eat my lunch since the mosquitoes weren’t so bad inside. Some of the really wet areas of trail have a lot of mosquitoes, but a least there wasn’t any swarms of black flies!
We’ve had some steep areas of climbing, but the trail hasn’t been to difficult to navigate over roots and rocks. And over all Vermont wasn’t as muddy this year as it was last year when I hiked Long Trail. I think it maybe because I am going through earlier in the year and the trail hasn’t seen as much traffic.
We are heading into the BROWNIE Hostel in Fairlee, Vermont for a rest and visit with our hiking friend BROWNIE. I met BROWNIE at the Teahouse Hostel in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia where I stayed before starting my trip.
I had a delightful stay with BROWNIE and his wife LENORE. I got plenty of rest and resupplied my depleted calorie bank. Their meals were fantastic! They were very gracious hosts and I was thankful for my stay with them. Thanks guys! 😊
BROWNIE took us out for ice cream and man oh man was it good ice cream. It reminded me of an ice cream place back home where I grew up where the portion sizes were huge. I ordered a medium cup of ice cream and it looked like an extra large. Don’t worry thought, I finished it all!
I am saying goodbye to my first pair of sneakers on this trip. They have well over 700 miles on them. I had worn all the fabric off the inside heal area and was started to wear through the heal on my socks too. Luckily I never had any problems with blisters on my heals. I also started to notice I was slipping more on the rocks too. So I decided it was time for a new pair. I was very happy with this pair and decided to order another pair. They are Altras, the Olympus model with the max cushion sole. I was also wearing my custom orthotics with them and just noticed the the plastic on both of my orthotics is cracked. I will continue to wear them as long as I can.
Tuesday June 20, 2017
Lookout Cabin @ mile 1718.2 15.5 miles
Total mileage 694.7
Well our severe weather did start until 2:30 pm yesterday afternoon. But it sure did come down hard. I was glad to be inside all warm and dry. The rain only lasted until about 4:30 pm. There may have been some more showers during the night, but I slept through those if there were any.
For most of the day yesterday I just rested and ate all extra food that I had so I didn’t have to carry it over the next few days. It felt great to take a day and just read and nap for most of it.
I left the rest of the group behind this morning. They wanted to stay for breakfast and the dining room didn’t open until 7:30 am. My energy is best in the morning so I headed out at my normal time of 6 am. They will catch up with me later. The trail was water logged in some areas and in others had water running down it, but I was able to keep my shoes dry for the most part.
The trail was really beautiful this morning. First I walked through a state park that had some really nice camp sites with picnic tables. Then I went around Kent Pond which was beautiful. There were a couple of waterfalls. Thundering Falls was amazing. There was a ton of water coming down it with all the rain we have had.
After that things got hard. The climb up Quimby Mountain was steep and it was humid out. I was a sweaty mess before to long. Then I came to a “ladder”! 😨 I’m not a fan of these. I have a fear of heights! As the day progressed it seemed to get cooler out and I was no longer so hot but my feet were pretty tired and I just wanted to get off them.
I am on private land tonight in a cabin that hikers are allowed to use. Which is very generous of the owners. Although there is no water here so I had to carry all my water for tonight and the start of the day tomorrow over two miles. Water is pretty heavy weighing in at 2.4 lbs per 32.oz. I carried in 64 oz, but I’m happy I will be warm and dry tonight.
Sunday June 17, 2017
Inn on Long Trail 8.3 miles
Total mileage 679.2
I woke up this morning in the clouds on top of Mount Killington and everything felt wet. Condensation was dripping out of the trees on my tent. I will have to set it up when I got to the hotel today to let it dry out. Plus it needs to be cleaned. I have an abundance of black flies that I have been killing in here and it is a total mess! I will be happy to say goodbye to all these black flies. They have a nasty bite. My body is littered with their bite marks! 🙁
I arrive at the hotel around 11 am and our room is not ready yet. So we hang out in the hiker area and weigh ourselves. I’m the only one who hasn’t lost any weight. The rest of the FLIPPING FOUR group has lost 20 lbs. or more since starting this hike!🤤 PRINCESS and ROCKET MAN are here and PRINCESS gives me some more information on hiking the White Mountains. She and her husband have hiked the AT over 3 times. They have also written a book about slackpacking the whole AT.
Our room is ready quickly. While SOULFLOWER takes a shower I take my tent outside and set it up to let it dry and clean the inside of it out. It doesn’t take long. Next it is my turn to shower and I emerge fresh, clean and happy.
Next I open my resupply box and see that Jim has sent me a single serving bag of Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Cookies and I immediately dive into them. My hiker hunger is in full swing and I am usually hungry shortly after eating.
We have a flash flood warning for all of Vermont tomorrow afternoon through the evening so we are taking an unplanned zero tomorrow. Camping in the rain sucks!
Saturday June 17, 2017
Cooper Lodge 11.4 miles
Total mileage 670.9
We had a late start today. We needed to find a way back to the trail and were having a difficult time trying to find something. I finely found a taxi service that could take us back at 8 am.
We started hiking about 8:30 am with a climb up Beacon Hill which seemed more than a hill to me. I would have called it a mountain! ☺️
After our lunch break we only had one climb left, but it was up Mount Killington which sits at 3908 feet. It was over a two hour climb. I was a sweaty mess. It was warm today. Yesterday at 1 pm we were freezing today we were sweating profusely!
I didn’t climb up to the summit of Killington because I wanted to get to bed early. I’ve had a few late nights in a row and I want to stay on top of my rest. There were numerous times I was yawning throughout the day today and didn’t want this to bring on a Lupus flair. So early to bed for me tonight.
I was feeling pretty good physically today. My feet didn’t bother me that much. I did have some slight knee pain when going down hill, but today was all about going up so that wasn’t much of an issue. What bothered me the most was my right shoulder. Today was the first day this has bothered me.
I feel so unbelievably dirty! I’m sweaty, covered in bug spray and have mud all over my legs. I washed as best as I could with my bandana then covered myself with baby powder to not feel so sticky. I’m going to have to start to carry some baby wipes with me. I just haven’t been because if the weight.