Tuesday August 10th, 2021, 0630-1900
Pinkham Notch to Rt 2, then Gorham, SOBO AT mm 319.4
7267 gain, 8514 loss
Today I hiked backwards (NOBO) and without much of anything in my pack. I thought it would almost be like a day off and boy was I wrong, once again. It felt like this day finally broke me.
For starters, I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. It was pretty loud in the yard, especially when the train went by in the middle of the night. I had to pack my tent and things at 5 am because I needed my trekking poles (tent poles) and didn’t want to leave my stuff outside, even though I planned to return to tent again. Such is the nomadic life. Ziggy, a trail angel and shuttle driver that hiked the AT a few years ago, gave Toe Jam and me a ride to Pinkham notch at 0600 am. We started off at a fast pace and it seemed like we got up to Wildcat Peak pretty easily. There were gorgeous views of Mt Washington.
Toe Jam informed me that the part we just did was supposed to be the steepest on the whole AT, going up 1000′ in half a mile and 2000′ in a mile and a half. I didn’t notice any difference from all the steep stuff I’d already been doing for weeks. Pehaps this was because there were views and I had somebody to talk to all the way up.
At the ski lift, we stopped to play with Bruce, a 125 lb mastiff black lab that was as massive as he was cute. We posed with him, trying to lift him onto 2 feet to show off his size and I couldn’t even lift him! He’s as big as me. What a ham, he wouldn’t let me pet the little dog out of jealousy and posed perfectly in front of the sign. Playing with cute dogs at the tops of mountains is a new favorite past time of mine.
We next made it down to the first hut we’d come to in the Whites. These are run by the AMC and are like the full-service ones in NZ snd Patagonia. Guests get bunks and meals provided and food is available for purchase by anyone. I used my card to get a free baked good…a delicious piece of chocolate cake. Yum.
We had another couple of big climbs to the Carter mountains, a series of about 4 peaks but none with too good of views. The clouds were rolling through so sometimes we were just in the mist. We started to become wary of just how slow we had gone in the morning and how much distance we still had to cover. Without all our gear, we didn’t have a choice but to go the distance.
The afternoon dragged on. We took a water break and a few short breaks for views. Mt Moriah was the last of something like 7 named peaks over 4k for the day. It was a relief to come down. I was hurting, tired and with very sore feet. I had no idea today would be so hard, even without a full pack. I suspect it’s cumulative.
We made it back to the highway pretty late and got a ride to the hostel. I had to still set-up my tent, go out to get dinner, and take a shower. I went to bed late once again, feeling so behind the eight ball. Next up was a big day over Mt Washington and I needed a day off before this.
Wednesday August 11th, 2021
Zero day in Gorham
I felt like I’d earned a real day off but as these go, it’s never really time off, just time off the trail. I laid in my tent until 7 am using my phone to do business. I’d slept much better and was not feeling as tired. We all had to get out of the hostel by 9, as the owner had to go to a funeral. I walked over to the library, waiting for it to open at 10 am.
Stellar had just gotten to town. He already made up over a day on me in the first week and now with my zero, was only one day behind. I’ve given up trying to match his pace. He’s clearly a faster and stronger hiker than me now. I felt like I pushed myself to the max in the last week and he did even longer days from Rangely to Gorham.
So we’d all (Toe Jam, Stellar and I) gone in on a hotel room in town and I spent the rest of the day catching up on the blog, eating and trying to massage my feet and muscles. I ended up walking way more than I should have. But I got a lot done and it was great to compare stories with Stellar. We’re kind of doing things independently this hike but inevitably will meet up now and again. Soon he’ll be way ahead of me, probably.
I made this day’s post short to give myself a break and because well, it was mostly mundane stuff. It should be a big day again the next and again and again.