Day 112. Regardless of anything else you think you perceive in these daily updates, let me make something abundantly clear … I LOVE the White Mountains. The spectacular views and summits justify all of the strenuous hiking and rock climbing (yes, all 4 limbs were often needed today), and this range of mountains is 2nd to none on the Appalachian Trail.
Of course, that being said, it’s no cakewalk. And today was another reminder of how difficult this trail can be. Moosilauke yesterday was the first big climb in his range, and today’s ascent of Kinsman Mountain was another rough physical challenge. I spent much of today using my hands and feet to scale up or down giant boulders and stony scrambles. Poles are absolutely 100% necessary, but sometimes need to be put aside for literal rock climbing up 10 foot tall slabs of smooth granite. It’s no wonder New Hampshire is nicknamed the Granite State.
But the feeling of accomplishment and rewards at the top make it all worth it. Many times today, I felt like I was in the breathtaking scenery of Montana or California. This is why I came to hike this trail, this is the gift of mountains and hiking I have been waiting to receive. All the crap of Pennsylvania is worth it, to get here and see this. I cannot wait to hike the presidential range next.
Side note, I visited my first AMC hut today. The 8 resorts that sit atop the presidential range along the AT are some of the biggest highlights to this trail. They are full-service resorts with electricity, plumbing, housing, food service, and more. They are costly but also offer many “work for stay” options for thruhikers passing through that cannot afford the $75-100 per night fee. I’ll speak about these huts more when I return, but let me just say this first one (Lonesome Lake Hut) was a stunning work of architecture and lodging up in he mountains. Like Granite Park/Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park, or the Swiss Alps lodges they are styled after … these huts are a magnificent sights to behold and unforgettable sites to visit.
But not yet. I’m on a break. After my short day today, I hopped off trail at Franconia Notch and starting my side trip to Allentown for our good friends’ wedding. Not much to say here except the Planes, Trains, and Automobiles that will got me there. For those who care … when I reached Franconia Notch, it was a 1 mile walk to The Flume Visitor Center for Franconia Notch State Park. From there, I called for a $10 shuttle to the town of Lincoln, 5 miles away. Then I bought a ticket on a coach bus to Plymouth, 20 more miles south. Then, once in Plymouth, I rented a car and drive to New Jersey. A friend from college lives here that almost did this whole hike with me, so he graciously offered to put me up for the night and hike some of the NJ missed miles with me tomorrow. After that, I’ll drive down to Philadelphia on Friday to pick up my wife and then drive to Allentown. It’s a long commute for a wedding – But that’s what you do for people you love, even if they decide to wed each other right in the middle of your damn life’s goal. Jk Sarah and Jack, can’t wait to see you crazy lovebirds tie the knot!
I’ll post more on my day hikes this weekend if/when they occur, otherwise I’ll talk with you all on the official progress early next week.
Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)
- Start Mile: 1809.0
- Start Time: 06;45
- End Mile: 1817.8
- End Time: 12:15
- Miles Hiked: 8.8
- Miles to Go: 373.1
- Lodging: Friends’ home in NJ