Day 126 6/23

Woke up to rain, wind and fog at the hut. Spent breakfast working out a back up plan to get off the mountain if the storms persisted.

The rain slowed a bit, so Rabbit and K headed out and climbed Mt Guyot in the rain and fog.

The rain eventually tapered off as we climbed down from tbe summit.

On the way down,  there were several good lookout points with great views of the mountains as the fog lifted.

Parts of the trail were completely flooded out from all the rain. Some areas had foot bridges which helped out though. 

We stopped at the Zealand hut for lunch. It rained heavily as soon as we got there, but cleared up as we finished and the sun actually came out!

The rest of the day was an easy trail going down to the rt 302 crossing, our stopping point for the day.

Rabbit stayed at a hostel in town while I stayed with my new friends,  Stefanie and Bill in their home just outside of town. They were great hosts and very friendly.

 We had dinner, then played Scrabble. After a good start, I faded fast, finish third behind Bill and Stefanie. It was a great time though,  thanks again!

  Day 125 6/22

Today was my favorite section on the trail so far, Franconia Ridge.
Started with a steady, rocky climb up Haystack Mountain to get to the beginning of Franconia Ridge. 

Walking out onto the ridge was amazing. The peaks of Mt Lincoln and Mt Lafayette stretched out before you. The distance seened short until you noticed the little specs of color

The trail followed the ridge for several miles rising and falling with the peaks, before taking a turn and diving down to the lower slope of Mt Garfield.

The climb up Mt Garfield was very steep, but gave you great views looking back at Franconia Ridge.

The climb down from Garfield was as steep or steeper than the acsent, made worse by water running down making everything slick.

After getting down,  I made my way to the Galehead Hut for the night 

The White Mountains have a number of high mountain huts spread throughout the range. They are rustic but offer a dining room, kitchen that does breakfast and a bunkroom that ranges in size from 30 to 90 bunks. Rates run from $100-200, and is usually booked up.
Thru hikers on the AT can do “work for stay” though. Basically we help out the crew for a half hour or so, sweeping, doing dishes or something similar. 

In exchange, we get to set up sleep in the dining room after lights out and get leftover food from dinner and sometimes breakfast. 

Today, Rabbit and I had to wash dishes for maybe 15 minutes. Not a bad deal!

Day 124  6/21

Started the day with a climb up Mt Wolfe. The terrain wasn’t bad, aside from a lot of mud in the beginning. There were footbridges,  but it was so wet and soggy that many of the foot bridges were falling apart.

After coming down from Mt Wolf there was a very nice mountain pond nestled between the peaks.

The climb uo South Kinsman mt was very steep,  nearly vertical in some places forcing me to strap my trekking poles to my pack and climb up. 

There were great views at the top though! 

We climbed up south and north Kisnsman then made our way down the steep descent. It was a very long day, taking over 10 hours to cover just 16 miles. Welcome to the White Mountains!

Day 123 6/20

Today we tackled mt Moosilauke. At 4,803 ft, it is the highest peak the trail has crossed since Virginia. 

The day began with a brief rain shower that lasted just long enough to soak everything.

The trail itself seemed to climb straight up the mountain. No switchbacks or angled trails. It was steep, but certainly gets you to the top quicker!

The last mile or two was above the main treeline, leaving just scrubby short pine trees before opening up to the bare rock covered summit.

The views from the high peak were pretty good,  but some weather rolled in quickly blocking off the southern view.

The descent was tricky,  it ran parallel to a a waterfall that had spilled into the trail. Essentially leaving a stream in place of the trail for a mile or so. 

The rest of the trail down was steep and rocky, in some places, wooden blocks were affixed to the stone to aid hikers.

There was also a wooden ladder later on.

We made it to the bottom and got a ride to the Notch Hostel for the night.

Day 122  6/19

Woke up excited to hit the trail this morning.  The four section hikers we met yesterday had told us about the Omelette Guy. Apparently he sets up a little kitchen just off the trail and cooks breakfast for hikers. 

We took off from the shelter, eager to make the six miles to feast on eggs. However, we had to make it up over Cube Mountain first.  

The trail was still wet from the day before, making the rock faces slick.

Once again, we were rewarded with great views for our hard work at the top. 

At the bottom of the mountain,  I finally saw a Moose!

We finally came across the Omelette Guy, Carl in the afternoon. He had a nice little set uo in the woods with a tarp,  camp stove and bearproof cabinet full of food for hikers. 

Rabbit and I each started with a 6 egg Omelette with peppers, onions and cheese. We followed that up with another 6 egg omelette. I was feeling pretty good so decided to go after the record of 22, set last year. So the Omelette Guy, cooked up 12 more for me, only this put them in a special bowl reserved for record attempts.

I’ll admit,  the last couple eggs were a little struggle but I powered through and set the record at 24!

After the eggs, part two started,  I still had to hike another 9 miles!

To top it off, I was hit by a thunderstorm while hiking over Mist Mountain.  Luckily the summit was tree covered.  

I was pretty soaked by the time I made it to the hostel 

It was $25 for a bunk in and free breakfast.  Rabbit, Spice, Luna, and Karaoke were there along with several other hikers. We stayed up for a while watching movies before calling it a night and resting up for a big climb in the morning. 

Day 121 6/18

The morning started off very misty,  humid and hot.  Certainly didn’t expect weather like this in New Hampshire! 

On the climb up Smart Moutain, the trail and rocks were slick with moisture. It was like the mountain itself was sweating as much as I was. Luckily there were old rebar handles/steps built into of the rock walls. It would have been nearly impassable that day without. 

There was a pretty nice cliff that offered a nice view. You could see the fog/weather rolling in though. By the time we made the summit of Smart Mountain,  it was fogged in. 

Called it a shorter day at just 10 miles in order to set up the next couple days moving into rougher terrain.  I stayed at the Hexacube shelter with Rabbit and 4 section hikers from Tennesee. 

Day 120 6/17

Slept in a little bit today,  enjoying the comfort of a real bed as long as possible before heading back into the woods.

Allison cooked us breakfast and Rob drove us back into town. They were great hosts and we really enjoyed and greatly appreciated our time with them. 

Back in town I stopped by the local outfitter to pick up a resupply package sent by former thru hiker Aaron and his wife.  Thanks again!

Rabbit and I hiked through Hanover and back into the mountains.  The trail started off pretty steep, steep enough that someone had left a long piece of knotted rope to climb up a muddy/rocky section. 

The trail climbed up Moose Mountain,  hitting the north and south peaks.

After Moose Mountain there were some nice views from Holt’s Ledge before stopping for the night at Trapper John Shelter

Day 119  6/16

We woke up to a rainy morningat Randys house.  Most of the hikers were reluctant to get moving so Rabbit and I hit the trail after eating a quick breakfast.

It was only a ten mile hike to Hanover and the beginning of New Hampshire. It rained progressively harder all morning as we wound in and out of forest and clearings.

Eventually we made it across the Connecticut River and into New Hampshire!

It was a very nice little ivy league college town with Dartmouth dominating downtown. 

It was Alumni weekend and despite the rain,  thousands of alums were walking everywhere in town.

We atmte breakfast then reached out to several people on a list of local trail angels that take in hikers from the AT.

Allison and her husband Rob were very nice put us up for the night in their house. They had friends over for dinner that evening but welcomed us to join the for dinner. 

We had a great time sitting around the table enjoying a great meal and friendly conversation. It was almost like being home among friends before the trail.  Days like this are welcome break after 1700+miles of hiking and living in the woods or the occassional hostel stay. 

Neeting kind and generous people like Allison and Rob along with others we have met on the trail really make the Appalacian Trail a special journey, certainly more than just a walk in the woods.

Day 118  6/15

The day started with several steep climbs over nameless peaks. It seemed like Vermont was determined to throw all it had at us in the time we had left there. At times the trail was difficult to find and follow with the in frequent blazes and leaves covering the ground. 

In between hills were grass filled pastures, some of which were dotted with wildflowers near the trail.

Just in time for lunch, the trail passed near Cloudland Farm Market. I stopped with Luna and Spice, two other thru hikers,  and had a sandwhich and some very good small batch ice cream made by the farm.

Throughout much of the day,  I kept seeing rubber tubing strung between trees. I didn’t realize until a section hiker told me, it was for Maple Syrup.

The afternoon wound down through a nice stand of towering pine trees offering cool shade and outstanding scenery. 

I met up with about a dozen hikers at a house just across from the White River at a house owened by a guy named Randy. He is well known for hosting and feeding hikers. Sure enough, I was welcomed on the large porch with a plate loaded with scrambled eggs and a coolee of beer and soda. 

After hanging out for a while, we all walked over to the river and took turns jumping off the bridge into the cool clear water of the White River.

About a dozen of us decided stayed at Randys in a loft above the garage. We orded pizza and stayed uo into the night playing cards and having a good time.  Tomorrow brings New Hampshire!