6/22-29 97.7 miles
The Inn at Long Trail was fun, and so cool to zero and not have to go anywhere— laundry, meals, beer, and good company, both locals and hikers.
The hike out had too many hills and too many expectations. I warned Crossword and T that I might camp out before “The Lookout” which only had indoor space, not tent sites, anyway. I prefer my tent. I camped, stealth camped, all by myself, in the quiet, by water.
That left me with more miles the next day, 17.6, to get to a shelter/campsite, so that I could make it to my first town in New Hampshire on day 3 from The Inn at Long Trail with the food I packed. I look at the trail profile each night to rally my energy for the climbs the following day. There were 10 separate climbs, which I counted down as the day wore on. Good thing it was pretty mostly, lush, green, quiet, although that means no views. Because it was tiring. I have to say it’s pretty nice to roll into a shelter/campsite and get to visit with other hikers while cooking dinner and setting up my tent.
Seven of us wound up at the hostel the next night. Crossword and I walked into Hanover, NH, where Dartmouth College is, did some grocery shopping and ate a meal. I’ve been absolutely raging over the Supreme Court overturning a woman’s right to choose, and was happy to see the protesters in the park. Really happy.
The shuttle picked us up for a quiet night with T, Straps and Chatterbox (from Ontario, Canada), Boston, Float and Crossword.
An uneventful day followed by a tough day in heat climbing up Smart Mountain. I fell and bruised the heel of my left hand catching myself. Then I passed Crossword flaked out on his pad in the sun, with heat illness. He’s sensitive to heat he’d said before, so when he turned up at camp on the top of the mountain I paid attention. I did not know heat exhaustion could manifest as bitchiness though, ha ha!
The next day he was low energy although he started hiking way early as usual. It started to sprinkle then poured. I got my rain gear on and went off trail to the Hexacube Shelter to wait it out a couple of hours. Crossword was there, then Uber, Patience and Skeeter arrived. Skeeter is service dog Mary’s trail name! She’s a Cairn Terrier and Bichon mix and is the smartest and cutest dog I’ve ever met on trail. She came into the shelter drenched and scooted along the log walls first rubbing the rain off her left side, then her right. Then she rolled on the floor trying off her tummy.
Then 2 SOBOs (southbound hikers) came in, older guys, 1 with a swollen, split elbow, that the other patched up with a butterfly bandage, before they continued on to the cabin at Smart Mountain, near where I’d pitched my tent last night
The rain stopped and we all continued on, leaving less than 10 miles to the Hikers Welcome Hostel at Glencliff, NH where I have a box waiting with a replacement shirt, socks and some dinners.
Hikers Welcome Hostel is a great place with 2 caretakers/shuttle drivers currently—Acadicus and (can’t remember his name!). Stayed 2 nights with a slackpack shuttle to the far side of Mt Mousilauke on the day between. They gave us hikers great advice and information about “The Whites” or I should say the dreaded, challenging, beautiful, White Mountain Range in New Hampshire. These AT hostels are a huge mood lifter for me since they are gathering spots—the fast NOBOs will blast by on the trail, never to be seen again, the SOBOs the same. But at the hostels people will sit and stay for a few hours and I can learn more from and about them. ￼
We hiked Mt Mousilauke on a perfect day. The slackpack crew from the day before had been in a cloud or cloudburst at the top and missed this first big treat of a view in NH. We hit it just right and going south back to the hostel it was only 4 miles straight up and a long 6 mile run out down. Lovely day with food and a bunk at the end of the day. Every day is hard out here but some have bigger rewards than others. Plus I wore my new shirt!