Miles from Springer Mountain: 1870
Miles to Mount Katahdin: 322
I’m in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest and I’m loving it! This section has by-far been my toughest, my legs have taken a complete beating, I’ve never been this sore in my life – not after my first half-marathon, not after any hard days in the Navy, not after my first week on trail. That said, it has been the most rewarding days of hiking on the entire Appalachian Trail. Every tough mile and day has made these views worth every trial over 1800+ miles.
On the 24th, I woke up after an extremely windy night just north of Mt. Lafayette ready to conquer my first presidential, Mt. Garfield. It was a tough day, but at the top of each peak I could see the rest of the days hiking goals, I could see where I’d be in a few days – not much of the trail has been like that, the green tunnel blocks all distant views. One of the benefits about the Whites is the AMC huts that sit about 10 miles apart, each one sells baked goods and have places to relax, I’d have little mental goals to reach the next one for a small snack. I hiked as close to Franconia Notch as I could, I was expecting a box from Haley at the AMC Highland Center only a couple miles forward.
The 25th was my shortest day, I hitched a ride to pick up my box and eat an AYCE breakfast – a death wish for a thru-hiker, the food never stops! Haley sent me my cold weather clothes, plenty of food, and a new food bag. I relaxed and recharged, drank about 5-7 cups of coffee, before hitching back to the trail. The rain started so I only made it to the Nauman campsite, a beautiful rainbow emerged from the clouds right before sunset! I had a full slate of food, an easy day of rest before I conquered the Presidentials and the the baddest of them all, Mt. Washington.
I woke up early on the 26th, a big day was ahead. I stopped for a break at one of the most famous points on the trail, the Lake of the Clouds Hut. A beautiful hut nestled right between Mt. Washington and Mt. Eisenhower – it overlooks a spacious valley right besides some mile-high ponds. At the top of Mt. Washington there was a line to get a picture of the summit sign! A train and road go right to the top, the place was pretty commoditized, but I can’t argue – the views are a spectacle every person should see.
I continued on, we passed a man who was looking for skis, he had lost them while skiing next to Washington just last week! The trail continued around Jefferson, Madison, and Adams – it was a hard day of hiking. I took a nasty fall, but I got up, mad at myself for not paying more attention. I descended from the ridge top and hiked close to Pinkham Notch. I only made about 17 miles over 13 hours, it was the hardest day of hiking so far.
If there’s anything you take from this blog, it’s that someday you promise yourself that you’ll visit the Whites and see the grand views this place has to offer. Whether you hike and stay at the huts or drive to the top of Washington it’s worth every minute of driving. I’ve made it through the Prezi’s, but the Whites aren’t over – tomorrow I’ll conquer Wildcat Ridge and head towards a hostel at the end of the Whites. This post will have plenty of pictures, thanks for following along!