We’re sitting at the very hoity-toity campus of Dartmouth at the moment. I certainly feel out of place, especially when we went to a college where flip-flops, shorts and pj bottoms were the haute-couture of the day and spending time between classes at the beach were the norm. Yes, my friends, we have made it to New Hampshire.
We made a pit stop in the town of Norwich, VT, just on the other side of the Connecticut River to get some day old and free sandwiches from Dan & Whit’s General Store. Mmmm! We also benefited from two trail magic’s during our road walk from the trail head!
Yes, my last post was very despairing. Chris wanted me to delete it but I felt that I should leave it because I didn’t want to misrepresent any feelings that are out here. Everyone has their bad days, sometimes others show it more. Yesterday, in fact, we ran into two southbounders at a shelter and one came bounding in and threw his poles off into the woods, walked off and then came back and said he felt better. We were noting that sometimes southbounders seem to be walking on clouds and everyone is perfect for them, so it was nice to know they are having it rough sometimes, too.
As for the rain, it did rain. We left Rutland and went three miles to Gifford Woods State Park where we paid $5 a person for a primitive site that was not unlike anything we hadn’t already seen for 1700 miles, and enjoyed a shower and relaxed. The rain came later that night and continued on during the early morning. We decided to sleep in, hoping it would stop. Our friend Merf was with us but we thought she was long gone when we went down to the park office at 9:15 and she had been down there all morning as well. Luckily the rain kinda petered out for awhile, did some more spitting and the day ended up being overcast for the rest of the day.
I think for the most part is that everyone is just beat now. We are tired, tired hikers. We have done 80% of the trail but the hardest 20% is still in front of us. I’m trying not to be scared @*$%less of the Whites but I am. All I hear is this steep, slick descent down Mt. Moosilauke and it makes me stomach knot. Though I am looking forward to cooler temps in the high elevations and maybe the bugs will disappear. Maybe. 😉 I doubt it! hah!
Vermont: well, it didn’t leave the best impression on me. I thought the last 40+ miles from Rutland were rather crappy and poorly maintained. It seemed like the Green Mountain Club only cared about the Long Trail section. The Dartmouth Outing Club maintains some of the trail in Vermont and much of it is overgrown and there are mud spots that definitely need boards. I have felt since we left the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference that the trail maintenance has been lacking. Perhaps I got spoiled by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club who maintained the trail so very well during their section.
Also, the trail in this section did this very annoying up and down every low ridge and hill thing, very similar to New York and Connecticut. Blech.
So, where to now? Well, we have another 9 miles to go today after a resupply, shower and laundry, something like 18 tomorrow, and then slowing down a lot to go through the Whites. I think we’ll do between 13-15 depending on the stops. The other problem I have with the Whites are the shelter and tenting issues. It is run by the Appalachian
Money Mountain Club, and they have huts which are like $80 a person and if you get there at a particular time you can do work for stay, or you can pay at the limited shelters and campsites $8 a person. Now, this probably doesn’t sound unreasonable to many people, but after hiking 1700+ miles without paying a dime at a shelter or tent site, it’s pretty ridiculous that a trail club gets the right to do this. And then they have rules about where you can and can’t stealth camp. So, yes, combined with the terrain, the locations are all a worry for many people. I’m just going to be glad to get through this state!
We are around 440 miles left….I can’t wait to step foot into Maine!!! It’s going to feel so good!