Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Hampshire's White Mountains

I came down out of the mountains to a bit of road walking towards Gorham, NH. At the intersection of US2 and North Road sits White Mountain Lodge & Hostel. A wonderful New England lodge that has been beautifully maintained and converted into a hostel catering to AT thru hikers.

I limped in with a sore heel and surrounding tendons that had been bothering me for a while. They took all my dirty laundry, gave me loaner clothes, showed me the common room with a big TV and a shelf of DVDs, a fridge full of pizza and Ben & Jerrys ice cream, and a bunk with a real mattress and clean linens. A shuttle took us twice daily to the local super Walmart for resupply. The freezer had ice packs.

Heaven. I never wanted to leave.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hiking Maine's Mahoosuc Mountain Range

Southern Maine's Mahoosuc Range, a northern extension of the White Mountains, has the reputation as the hardest section of the Appalachian Trail. A 4000 footer, and several that are nearly so. Steep notches where the trail goes straight up and down. A foot path that is often shear rock face, and slippery when wet. It's the home of the infamous Mahoosuc Notch - A mile-long jumble of boulders described as the most difficult, or fun, mile of the trail, depending on one's predilection for bouldering.

After my shipmate, Ray dropped me off at The Top Of The World, I hiked a few miles to a campsite by a stream, The next morning I traversed Bemis Mountain. A long, steep descent brought me to South Arm Rd where I camped for the night. The next morning I got a lift to Pine Ellis Lodge in Andover to resupply, and to ice my feet and knees. More after the break.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Nobos I Knew

Started running into northbounders I had hiked with back in Georgia.  Mouse appeared on the trail in the Bigalows, recognized me,  but not really.  I reminded her we had met at an overview in Georgia.  That didn't ring any bells so I told her "It was a nice night for a knife fight," an expression she had used to show off her Tennessee accent.  That brought it all back!

A few days later, I ran into Wiffleball - So named 'cause he hiked with a bat and ball and organized games at shelters along the way. We had started hiking together the first day from Springer Mountain, along with DamnYankee, Loopy and DarkAge, but he was soon stretching his legs and got well ahead of the rest of us.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Old Shipmates Along The Trail

Ray Richards, a shipmate from our time on USS Eisenhower in the 70's, and an unabashed "Mainah," met me at "Top of the World" in Maine, with milk and home-made whoopie pies!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Stratton, the Crockers and the Saddlebacks

Sue runs the Stratton Motel & Hostel in Stratton, and she shuttles hikers all over the region. I gave her a call when I reached my point of frustration trying to hitch into town, and she came out to pick me up.

Stratton is a good resupply town. There's a grocery store across the street from the hostel, along with a diner open for breakfast and lunch.  Other places in town offer options for dinner, and there's a hardware store offering some supplies hikers may need. And Sue's hostel has a full kitchen, showers, and a living room with TV and a closet full of DVDs.