Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mile 398.5 - Days 27-35

Hello from Glencliff, NH! I know it's been awhile and you are all awaiting an update! We have been without services for most of our NH hike. But, today we took a nero at a hiker hostel. And once again, this town has no cell service, but has wireless Internet. All I really wanted was a shower; it's been 9 days!!

We have just 44 miles left in NH! Unlike Maine, NH flew by. And we've enjoyed just about every second of it.









Before I start my recap, I have to do some 'splainin' about NH. One of the reasons NH is a little dreaded is because of its camping regulations. Obviously, no camping above treeline (much of the hiking is above treeline). You have to pay at most of the established sites. Then there are also huts. The huts are rustic camps that provide a bunk, dinner & breakfast ... All for $90 to $130 per person. It's great for families because they get to try out backpacking without all the fuss. Not great for thru hikers because they fill up quickly and we can't make reservations. Plus, they are a little out of the hiker budget. If I am paying $90, I definitely want a shower!!! The huts have running water, but no showers. For thru hikers, they do offer a work-for-stay program. They assign you some work, and you get to sleep in the common room on the floor and eat leftovers. Sounds awesome, right?

With that being said, we had a great experience at the huts. We got something from every one. Here's a summary in order of appearance:

Carter Notch Hut-we arrived at 7pm on a Saturday knowing we probably wouldn't get work-for-stay, but gave it a try. No dice because they already had a thru hiker doing work-for-stay. But, they did give us 5 lbs of leftover turkey!!! The hut peeps don't want leftovers because they have to carry out all the trash!





Madison Hut-we arrived at 11am on a Monday and they gave us leftover pancakes!!! Which was awesome since I was dreaming about pancakes the night before!

Lakes of the Clouds-we got there at 5 on the 4th of July in hopes of getting work-for-stay. And we got it, along with 2 other NOBOs who were already there. We ate all the dinner leftovers (chili and some Indian dish on America's bday). Right around our bedtime, we got our work assignments ... Separate recycleables. Took us 15-30 minutes ... Yippee! The downside was sleeping on benches and the floor in the common room, where people walk through all night long to use the restroom. And you had to be up and packed up by 6am. Not the best night sleep on the trail, but it's a place to stay when you are above treeline.








Mizpah Spring Hut-we arrived at 10ish and got free leftover oatmeal!

Zealand Falls Hut-we arrived around 9 and got free oatmeal!

Galehead Hut-we arrived around 2 and they said we could do work-for-stay that night, but it was too early for us to stay. So we just ate their chocolate chip bread!

Lonesome Lake Hut-we got there around 5 and secured work-for-stay. Our work was to sweep the floors and organize 2 shelves, one of our favorite things to do. Plus, Deal worked his magic and got us a bunk room instead of having to sleep on the floor of them common room! The food there was awesome ... BBQ beef for dinner and pancakes for breakfast (Deal ate 20!)






So we enjoyed the huts for their food, water (no need to filter!), weather reports, free food and occasional lodging! Thank you huts!

Anyways, back to hiking in NH. It was awesome. I had forgotten how beautiful hiking in NH was especially when there are views. We had great weather (thanks for the good weather vibes!). Just 2 days of rain and a few nights. One thunder/lightening storm that occurred shortly after we set up our tent.

When we left Gorham, we separated from Fire Marshall to make getting work-for-stay easier. I think it was a good choice, though we missed him! In the past few days, we slowed down for him to catch up and he pulled a big mileage day, so we reunited last night.

It took us less time to get through the White Mountains than we anticipated, probably because of the weather. We tried not to have an agenda, and surpassed our expectations almost every day. For example, our first day out, we planned a 9-mile day, but ended up doing 15!

I really enjoyed the Whites. We had a great day on Mt. Washington (probably because Bolt wasn't with us this time). We spent about 1.5 seconds there to avoid tourist central on the 4th of July!








Definitely some hard hiking in NH, but a lot of the trails are so beaten because of high usage. And NH is only 1% bog, unlike Maine. And it's so rewarding. I think that makes a huge difference.

Now, don't get me wrong. There are some sections I strongly disliked. For example, I don't think you could pay me enough to hike up and over Madison again. That hike killed me. And I was just so slow the rest of the day.



I also never want to do the downhill from Webster Cliffs. Or the 1-mile downhill from Kinsman. Or the downhill from Wildcat in the rain. If you are sensing a pattern here, you got it. We hate the downhill.

But, like I said, the hiking was quite enjoyable. We did see more tourists per day than we saw in the entire state of Maine! But there were times we saw no one on the trail early in the morning ... Like on MOOSILAUKEE. That never happens apparently.



In terms of mail drops, I never told y'all, but we decided to skip our scheduled mail drop in Glencliff. We had gotten so much food from the huts, we just didn't need much of a resupply. I couldn't update you on that because of the lack of cell service. So I'm sorry if you were planning to send us something ... There will be other opportunities!

But we did pick up our mail drop in Pinkham Notch, and the worker said, "I do believe you guys are the most popular thru hikers ever." We had 3 packages and 3 letters!! Thank you!

We have also encountered some great trail magic in NH. One day, we were hiking and all of the sudden, I saw a red cooler in the woods. It was left by a 2007 SOBO thru hiker! No drinks left in it, but there were chips and cookies! A very welcome treat!

Then, just yesterday, we got to a road crossing and a picnic area. As we were sitting down to eat our crackers for lunch (we were definitely low on supplies), a truck pulled up and gave us sandwiches, a banana and some chips! It was the owners of a hostel in Maine handing out trail magic! We've also gotten leftover snacks, whiskey and Gatorade from weekend hikers, so this could be another reason I've loved hiking in NH.

The only other piece of bad news in NH is that our gear is breaking left and right. My pack strap is broken. Deal's shoes are falling apart. One of our sporks broke again. Our Jet Boil stove ignitor no longer works. Maybe it has to do with the fact that we never pay full price for anything, but geeze louise.



So, 40 miles left in NH. We are planning to get to
Second Nature and Grateful's house in Lebanon on Wednesday and may actually take a ZERO day ... So until then!












Location:Mt Moosilauke Hwy,Woodsville,United States

5 comments:

Misti said...

I'm so glad y'all had good weather in the Whites. That was my biggest thing, I wanted good weather there...I'd heard too many bad things about bad weather...we were blessed!

Love the butterfly photo! That is so cool!

:)

Katherine said...

Love the photos. If you tell us Justin's size, we would be happy to send a package to the drop you would like with new hiking shoes for him.

Kristen Coats said...

Come on! We can't wait to see you three! We have pizza, beverages, showers and a nice place to lay your head! We will get your gear worked out as well.
Soon...Second Nature and Grateful

Sara said...

Way to go, guys! Congrats on your successful journey through the Whites! I'm glad you had good weather for the most part. You're making great progress - keep it up! Believe it or not, I remember when the overnight stay at the NH huts was $30-$35 per person (way back when...)!! Your photos are great! I'm really enjoying Patrice's blog. Marilyn's on vacation this week - she hoped maybe she could meet you in NH sometime next week. All of us at SSC and many others are rooting for you!
Best Wishes, Sara

Sara said...

It's a sad day when you lose a spork!