Where’s waldo

Forgot to give our location. Sorry mama! Last night camped in the middle of the trail quarter of a mile past poplar ridge lean-to at mile 1976.2.

Practically all shelters are full now because of summer camps and sobos who are averaging less miles. They therefore have shorter days and take all the spots and camp sites. Fine by me. The mosquitoes are vicious and I get eaten alive during the day as it is.

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Posted in july, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Mud 7/3 – 7/6

There has been very little service thus far in Maine, so rather than doing a day by day I’m going to hit some topics that have been on my mind and tell a few stories.

Mahoosuc notch – the guide says “the most difficult or fun mile of the AT” it was fun, but that mile meant business. Took a solid two plus hours. But it took longer because I took a nap on a rock in the middle. I also learned the hard way to not circumnavigate the caves. It is much faster and easier (but also scary) to go through. As you cross the notch boulder field you are crossing a thermaclimb. Down and up and down and up with twenty degree changes. There is still a lot of ice tucked away. The pond at the end that we had to ford was probably 35 degree water. Painful.
But awesome.

Mud. Maine has it. Jarryd snagged a sweet photo of me thigh deep. The planks on trail that are there to assist you are usually more dangerous than the mud and rocks themselves. Long story short I slipped and went right in. Legs, arms, and braids. And as much as I don’t want to think about it, I will mention that there is moose poo every 5 feet, so you know what that mud is really made of.

I don’t think I’ve really discussed this in the blog, but I’m a pro at falling. I’m very klutzy. I fall A LOT, and I have a tendency to run into trees. I’m not sure how it happens, but I swear they come out of nowhere and attack when you least expect it. Trees. Gotta watch out for them when you’re in the woods. Witch doctor messes with me now and will warn me of trees as we walk that are way off trail. 

When I fall it hurts, especially now with bad knees and achy joints, but usually I can laugh it off. But, this leads me to an important topic. I can’t always laugh it off. WD and I passed south bounders who were telling us about nobos up ahead who were miserable and hating every minute of their hike. It occurred to me that everyone you pass only gets a minute glimpse into who you are as a hiker. But, there is a point where you simply can’t always keep it together. If someone catches you at that moment then that is there impression of you forever. You only get first impressions with nobo and sobo crossings. If they had seen me earlier that morning they would have thought I hated life.
Story: woke up with a migraine, upset stomach, and had a sore throat preventing me from being able to swallow. All this was OK, and I was hiking through it uncomfortably and slowly. Then I slid down a rock for a solid 6 feet and tore the skin off my bum and cut my palm. This was after sliding on a plank and ramming my thigh into the corner of another plank the day before. So, I turned into a five year old and started to sob. I had had it. Nothing felt good. I grabbed my guide and told WD to start looking for a hostel with a shuttle to town cause I was getting off for the day. Some times I just have to let it all out, and WD handled it really well. He found somewhere to go, gave me a bear hug, and sat with me until I regained sanity. After sitting for a while I decided to keep going. As it turns out I had a really nice day, and the south bounders would have never known about my morning catastrophe.
The next day, Jarryd was in front and stepped on the end of a plank floating in mud water causing a seesaw effect. I, on the receiving end, tripped on the now elevated plank and landed face first on the wood and mud. I’ve never laughed so hard. You just can’t keep it together 100% of the time.

Maine is gorgeous. Mountains, lakes, ponds, big views. What more could you ask for. Well.. it would be awesome if Maine had diners with huge omelets and really buttery toast. Oh wait! They have that too!! I ate 10 pieces of toast with my breakfast. We can put down some food.

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Bruise from plank.

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Posted in july | 4 Comments

The whites part two 6/27

After finishing our work for stay at galehead hut by sweeping and folding blankets, WD and I climbed immediately up and over north and south twin mountains. We didn’t know it when we woke up, but this was going to be one of our longest days on trail. After the twins it is a nice ride down to Ethan pond which stretches a solid 7 miles.

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Here, I took a photo of what we were looking at. So as you can see, the twins on the far right, followed by slope to the drop off to the pond. We stopped in at the Zealand hut for lunch and met some of the crew that would be at mizpah hut later that night. Fortunately they have a fast easy trail to get there. And see that climb ( approximately 300 feet ) after the pond? Webster cliffs. Also known as the climb of doom. It was all hands and feet climbing boulders. WD and I barely made it before dark, and we were trail running by the end of it. Not sure where we found the energy, but neither or is wanted to be out on those rocks after dark. So we ran. It was rather exhilarating, and I we both felt really awesome having done a 20 mile day in the whites. Took us all day, but we still took breaks, took photos, and had lots of fun. Don’t worry, we even out the milage later on with a 4 mile day!
Slept at mizpah with an awesome croo ( yes that is how they spell it ) and were well fed and welcomed for another work for stay. Mile 1825.8 to 1846.9.

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Posted in july, june | 5 Comments

7/2 goin’ to maine

Had a difficult time leaving the wonderful White Mountains Lodge and Hostel. They did my laundry (and had other cotton clothes for us to wear), cooked a huge breakfast, and shuttled us all over town. Didn’t roll out until 10:30 am or so. Still trucked a solid 16 to a shelter .5 over the Maine border. I made it to Maine. If only I could describe the excitement. Last state, and they tried to take us out on some wet rainy long rock slabs right before we got there. The three of us, witch doctor, bright side and myself, each almost lost limbs in the last mile of new Hampshire. It really didn’t want to let us go easy. Larry boy didn’t make it as far as the shelter, but big brother and little brother did make it in after dark. Good crew, just wish Larry boy had been there for the Maine cross. He has to get off trail on Saturday for a job. Has to finish Maine last year- ahh that would kill me! And it’s killing him. I met Larry boy around day 4 or 5 so we will definitely have a little goodbye party.

So, I made it to Maine and I passed 1900 miles. Loving life.

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Posted in july | 8 Comments

The whites part one 6/25 and 6/26

“One giant game of don’t die”

Hello friends! Don’t worry, no one died, but this quote did become kind of a joke on trail. It often seemed as though the trail through the whites was out to kill us. But boy was it fun!

I’m going to hit the highlights day by day, but the truth is that words can barely describe the beauty of a place like this. We had our good weather, and our bad. We had ups, and we had downs. I found that I couldn’t take photos that came close to capturing the grandness of those mountains and I don’t think anyone can. Plus, the wind was so wild that many of my photos have my fingers in them because I was holding on for dear life.

6/25 mile 1804 to 1815.5
Left off at Eliza brook shelter (which is photographed in the last post). For those who don’t know, my name is Elisa, named after Eliza Moon, so this shelter was significant to me!
-big blue sky over kinsman mountain
-rock thrown on top (photo on previous post)
-lonesome lake hut for lunch, first of the white mtn AMC huts. They cost 100+ a night for stays, so hikers typically can’t afford to stay at them. Bought coffee, filled up water, and pushed on
-resupply in Lincoln NH for the rest of the whites. Hitched to town in a pick up, caught a ride out with a dad and son
-witch doctor got a minor cut on his leg when a propain tank fell out of the car
-huge storm coming, but we missed the worst of it while in town, so we booked it to liberty campsite in the rain
-hung out late with the caretaker since we were the only campers. He has a nice big tent, and he was our age, first official night in the whites started out right

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Cola in a bathroom hiding from a storm

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6/26 1815.5 to 1825.8
Franconia ridge was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. We climbed to the top and had excellent views at the beginning, but became engulfed in a cloud within an hour. We got there just in time! This was only the beginning of us learning how fast the weather can change in the whites. We walked the ridge down to galehead hut, which is an interestingly steep trail. You get to a waterfall, look across for the white blaze, and realize that you do not cross it. You go DOWN it. So, we scrambled down a running waterfall, and we welcomed by a work for stay at the hut. In trade for doing the dishes, we got dinner, breakfast, and a spot to lay out mats in the dinning room. We were worried about this procedure, unsure if we would be competing for stays with south bounders. Luckily, it seems as though we are ahead of the nobo and sobo bubbles. So, work for stays were easy to obtain. Huts usually take in 2 to 4 a night.
But, I simply couldn’t stop thinking about Franconia ridge. It’s a place I’ll be back to visit.

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Posted in july, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The whites

Hello everyone! I don’t have the words to describe this place. It is magical, amazing, wonderful, breathtaking, awe inspiring, so on and so on. All those things you hear about these views are true.
I do have some unfortunate news, but I think you will understand. I am probably not going to blog during the trek through these mountains.
A) my phone is my camera
B) in case of emergency or accident I need to have a reliable phone with battery
C) there probably isn’t service the whole way
D) I have no idea where I can recharge along the way

Also.. I think it will be good for me to not think about what to put in the blog. Instead, I’ll focus on the hike. I’ve been looking forward to this for so long and I don’t want to miss a beat. I can’t wait to share it with you when I’m connected again.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The whites

Hello everyone! I don’t have the words to describe this place. It is magical, amazing, wonderful, breathtaking, awe inspiring, so on and so on. All those things you hear about these views are true.
I do have some unfortunate news, but I think you will understand. I am probably not going to blog during the trek through these mountains.
A) my phone is my camera
B) in case of emergency or accident I need to have a reliable phone with battery
C) there probably isn’t service the whole way
D) I have no idea where I can recharge along the way

Also.. I think it will be good for me to not think about what to put in the blog. Instead, I’ll focus on the hike. I’ve been looking forward to this for so long and I don’t want to miss a beat. I can’t wait to share it with you when I’m connected again.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

NH

The intermission between blogs has been due to spotty cell service and me falling asleep instantly when in get to camp. We are talking 2 seconds flat.

Let’s see.. the past two days we have averaged over 20 miles. And they have been difficult days. It really hit me for the first time that the mental difficulty is increasing. The climbs were hard, but it was even harder knowing that these “hard” climbs are only the rolling hills of the white mountains. I don’t know if it is anxiety about them, or if I’m a little scared, or maybe it’s the realization that this is the last big challenge.. and I don’t want it to end. It’s mind blowing that as I sit in this bunk at the “hikers welcome hostel” I will be done with the white mountains and almost to Maine a week from today.
Witch doctor and I talked about this feeling a lot today. The excitement about being so close, mixed with the reality of it being over, and perhaps being ready for it to be over. You know it has been a long time when it’s difficult to recall details of the beginning of the trip.

We met the first SOBO. He’s trying to break the record. Saw him at the end of Vermont, and he had started thirteen days prior. He did the whites in three days. With a tiny mesh backpack, brite side, witch doctor, and I all assumed he was a day hiker when he flew passed us. Larry boy told us his story later. Pretty impressive.

The day before yesterday had been a long one. We all ran out of water at one point or another, and took several siestas midday in the heat. We kept pushing to make it to our destination and were certainly rewarded. 5 miles before camp, at the base of smarts mountain, is the home of bill ackerly. I had never heard of him, but he is certainly a legend. Ice cream, soda, Jim beam, and croquet. He let’s people tent, has a water hose, and is a fine story teller. He signed his book and hung out for an hour before he rushed us off to make it to the tower before dark. “Well, it’s 5 o clock, Bourbon time…. well we can’t do all this talking about bourbon and not drink any!” I’ll be back to visit him!
That night BS, WD, LB and I were finally all reunited at a cabin at a fire tower on smarts mountain. We were told by bill to sleep in the tower, but I didn’t have the nerves with a storm rolling in. We had a lot of silly time in the cabin.. great to have a space just full of thru hikers.
Yesterday we did a few big climbs and rolled into a hostel around 7 pm. Hot again, so the evening thunderstorm was rather refreshing. Met a fantastic motorcyclist by the name of Liz. One of the highlights of my day. Again about 5 miles from destination, I was lounging by a road and she passed by, made a u turn and came back to chat. She stealth camps and couch surfs all over the country as she adventures from one place to the next. She does auto-cross, bikes, and lives a free spirited life. Inspiring. She also gave us snackies and let us finish off her soda. Unexpected trail magic!

The hostel we are at is great. Six bunks, indoor tent spot, hiker trash tent with running toilet, washer and dryer, and hot shower. We watched minority report, made a run to the store for ice cream and drinks, and listened to a lot of past AT and PCT stories from old timers. It was refreshing and homie.
Now I’m clean and ready to go. Whites start now. Moosilauke this morning. Wish me luck!

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Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Dartmouth

Did the suspense kill you? No. We didn’t see anyone live up to the summer solstice celebration tradition. Bummer.

Made it to Hanover! 12 states done, 2 to go. Hiked ten miles in then hung out in town all day. Dartmouth is a fun area, and rather pricy. So we loitered in the main quad most of the day, and ate two fine meals. Burritos followed by BBQ. Met the outdoor club kids and got several invites for places to stay. Witch doctor and I resisted and hiked the mile out of town. We just barely escaped the black hole of a town and made it safely back to the woods. Got food right as the grocery was closing and missed the free shower time. Guess its going to be a while before I smell pretty again.

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There was a couch for us to eat at, and a porter on tap. Wonderful.

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Posted in june | 1 Comment

Livin it up in VT

I’m not even sure what happened yesterday. The planned 20 mile day turned into a 12 mile day. That’s the beauty of being out here.. doesn’t matter. On the way to Killington we walked through a campsite where Larry boy had apparently been hanging out all morning. He met a traveling “family in a can” rv that fed him. as he was leaving we saw him, had a lovely hiker family reunion, and became easily persuaded to hang out when offered coffee and cinnamon rolls. Always take food from strangers. The other golden rule. Larry boy also stayed and killed 4 hours with them when it was all said and done. Great people. Mom and her son just traveling the east coast. They had all sorts of goodies for us, took our trash, let us use their bathroom, and insisted we relax in their comfy reclining lawn chairs. We were living it up at that campsite. Killington could wait. And it did. We wasted a lot of time on nothing when we got to town. We relaxed outside the outfitter, and took way too much time eating at the deli and resupplying. Highlight in town was getting my package from home with my 20 degree sleeping bag and a giant batch of mama’s homemade cookies. They are all gone now. I ate, and ate, and ate those cookies. A little taste of home goes a long way.

The shelter was being used by a bunch of boys so I set up camp in back. Crept out before anyone woke up around 6:30 and began what was suppose to be a 30 mile day.

Made it 27 miles to the town of west Hartford. There was a shelter three miles up the road, but in town was a store (with soda and a famous breakfast) and next door is the “sign man”. He hiked the PCT 30 some years ago and let’s hikers camp in his lawn. He has a nice sign made out front with the AT symbol, a tent, and water, pointing to the backyard. Couldn’t resist. After chatting with him and taking a sponge bath in the waterfall, I slept like a baby.

Currently drinking Vermont coffee at the breakfast joint while Jarryd downs a two plate meal called the “full belly breakfast” he offered me a bite of pancake but then ate everything so fast that I missed my chance.

Today, summer solstice, is the official hike naked day on trail. Plus, we were informed by an almost naked hiker yesterday that it is totally legal in Vermont to be naked.
I’ll keep you posted 😉

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Goat cheese and goldfish. Brilliant.

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Posted in june | 2 Comments