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Backpacking the Appalachian Trail in June

Appalachian Trail Georgia to Maine

Date: 01 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1646.4
Plenty of sights today. Plenty of attacking insects also. I think I'm the only hiker out here without a headnet. I'm starting to get low on repellant too. I said goodbye to the other hikers at the awesome Spruce Peak Shelter. Alex and Jen were already gone and probably in town. At my pace I won't see any of them again. I wish them luck.

As it turns out though, three of the LT hikers caught up to me while I was atop Bromley Mountain in the ski patrol building digging through my pack for granola bars. This mountain is partly developed into a ski area and has an observation deck. That is where we ate and took some pictures. It made me remember that I did not do any skiing this season because I was hiking and snowshoeing instead.

We spent over an hour relaxing, checking maps and mileage, and snacking. finally we descended the mountain into Mad Tom Notch and then back up to Styles Peak where we talked about homebrewing and the Zen of filtering water during black fly season. The spring was too shallow for me to dip into so they let me use their water filter to fix myself up with a half gallon. It did not take me as long to drink as to purify.

We hiked together for several more miles but they decided to call it a day at the Peru Peak shelter which was so swarming with black flies and mosquitos I did not even sit and rest. On the other side of Baker Peak, 6.3 miles further, is Big Branch Shelter where I am writing this.

Big Branch shelter is older but in good shape and right on the Big Branch River. The rushing water is cold and loud but I'm certain it won;t keep my up. I was able to wash my legs off tonight too.

Now it is getting dark and my fire is down to a few smoking embers so I shall hang my food bag and turn in for the night.

Transcribed on:    06-Jun-2000 16:40:31 EDT

Date: 02 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1669.6
Wow. As I started to write this enormous bloated mosquito dropped on to this paper. I've never seen a mosquito so filled with blood. her abdomen was ruby-red and she couldn't fly. It would take off but have to land a few inches away. Good times who is here with his dad used a slipper to smash it and blood literally splattered in a little star pattern.

Overall the insects were not bad today. It was a nice break but it did rain twice. The first time I managed to duck into a shelter but the next time I got a little wet. The humidity stayed high all day but it was somewhat breezy which was nice. The uphills and downhills are getting steep. Amazingly my pace stayed around 2.5 miles per hour. I guess that is because there was only two big ups.

The bad thing is I'm out of maps since yesterday. Alex at Bascon Lodge fixed me up with some old maps but for 70 miles. I would have bought replacements but the lodge was only selling them bundled with the guidebooks so I passed. If my maildrop arrived at the lodge Tuesday or Wednesday Alex said he would forward it to Hanover, NH else back to Ohio. Tonight I borrowed a map to look at the elevation changes between her and New Hampshire. It looks like my mileage estimates are okay.

Transcribed on:    06-Jun-2000 21:41:36 EDT

Date: 03 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1683.5
Ask me a few years ago what I would be doing at Killing ton and I would have answered, "skiing". But on this day, Good Times, Tree Man (his dad), and I hiked up Killing ton Mountain and ditched our packs for the short side trail to the summit. Yesterday was overcast, but today was sunny and nice with a chilly wind blowing on the exposed summit. To the north the Green Mountains and the Long Trail continue. To the east the AT splits from the Long Trail and heads to New Hampshire and the White Mountains. The New Hampshire view was partially obscured by the tops of some spruce trees though. We thought we identified MT. Moosilauke which I'll be ascending in a few days after picking up my maildrop in Glencliff. Well, my fantasy is to pick up my maildrop. Whether or not it will be there is another question.

Good Times is finishing up some AT sections that missed last year. This is nearly the end of one such section and their call waited below. He offered to take me into town to get some Wendy's, and after a surprising amount of internal debate I agreed. It will mean a shorter day, but I have not had Wendy's since Fontana Dan in North Carolina. While in town I left Old Swampy a message telling him to expect me to call from Hanover, NH in three days. Back at the trailhead parking, Tree Man arrived and we finished eating. We made plans to stop for the day in a couple more miles at Gifford Woods State Park which the trail goes through. So Tree Man brought the minivan to the park and Good Times and I got back on the AT/LT north.

After about a mile the AT/LT split came and the two of us went .4 miles down the LT to the first shelter to sign the register and say goodbye and good luck to the LT hikers we met. The remaining trip to the park did not take long and Treeman got site 12 right next to where the AT enters the campground. It was not too busy or noisy even being a weekend. Paying to camp is weird but Treeman picked up the $10 cost. Thanks Treeman. seventy-five cents got me a nice long, hot shower too. Then it was off to town again where we went to a nice restaurant and got some really good food. My NY strip was one of the best I have ever had. Afterwards, Wendy's was closed so I couldn't have a Frosty for desert though. How sad.

Transcribed on:    06-Jun-2000 21:42:17 EDT

Date: 04 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1689.1
This was a bad day for me even though it started great with a dozen Dunkin' Donuts from Treeman. At first I thought I ate too much because well I did. I think it was more than that though. I just don't know what. My stomach was upset and I was so tired. I even took a nap on the trail. I finally made it the paltry 5.6 miles to Stony Brook shelter and said enough.

I finished reading my book while two mountaineers were painting the roof. I slept for around 16 hours.

Incidentally the two maintenance men told me about one of their friends who just finished an eight year, 25,000+ mile walk around the world. The first person to do it was from Tiffin, Ohio where one of my hiking partners lives. This guy was the second.

Transcribed on:    06-Jun-2000 21:42:51 EDT

Date: 05 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1698.9
I noticed it rained a little last night while I tossed and turned. That was too long to sleep on a wooden floor. I am well rested but I don't feel 100% well yet. I only want as far as Winttuni Shelter which is where I wanted to be yesterday. La Tortuga spent the night here Sunday so maybe I'll catch her tomorrow. Mr. Clean going southbound is here now.

The weather was cold and overcast today. The temperature kept the bugs away. It's been cold at night lately. I'm thinking about getting my 20o sleeping bag sent to me in New Hampshire. This is the sleeping bag from the Harpers Ferry maildrop. The box eventually showed up wrecked in Maryland. The PO had no explanation. It did get sent to my final forwarding address of my parents house though. Most of the items weren't salvageable but the important ones were.

Transcribed on:    06-Jun-2000 21:43:25 EDT

Date: 06 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1710.6
At least the bugs aren't out today. It is cold and wet. It has rained steadily and fairly hard all day. I had hoped to go an additional nine miles but the mud, rain, and short, steep ups and downs really slowed me. There is no way I am tenting in this.

So I stopped early at Thistle Hill Shelter where two other hikers are hiding out from the rain. I'm definitely having my rain gear and 20o bag sent from home to Glencliff. I'm going to be miserable tonight, I fear.

Transcribed on:    06-Jun-2000 21:43:51 EDT

Date: 07 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1725.2
Finally I made it out of Vermont and into New Hampshire. It took longer than expected but that is sort of expected now. At lest the rain ended during the wee hours of the morning and the hike was under a friendly sky.

My Bascon Lodge maildrop must not have arrived right after I left because it was not forwarded because it was not forwarded to the P.O. here. I'll do a little resupply at Grand Union before I head out. I hope I don't forget more bug repellant.

I'll be at the Old Swampy residence tonight.

Transcribed on:    06-Jun-2000 13:26:46 EDT

Date: 08 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1725.2
A zero day. I did not even do any hiking at all. Dan Allen, "old Swampy", lives in New London, NH and the only place I had to go to he drove me.

That place is the hospital where I was poked and prodded. I won't know anything until tomorrow and maybe not even then.

In other news, I'm clean again and so are my clothes. I took care of my e-mail and checked out my journal online and the pictures. Everything looks good.

There is another hiker in the area that I would like to meet. I think I'll be able to do so without too much trouble as Tim seems willing to do some driving to pick me up.

Transcribed on:    06-Jun-2000 13:30:30 EDT

Date: 09 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1726.7
Thanks for the hospitality Dan and Natalie. The shower, bed, food, everything was excellent. I'm looking forward to reading your book, Don't Die on the Mountain, when I return home. Panama Red was right, you are an animal!

I'm back in Hanover after being dropped off this morning. My grocery shopping is done but I have a couple more things to pick up before I leave.

I talked to Dr. Warren this morning and learned some of my test results came back positive but i need some more to determine exactly what my affliction is. She is also prescribing Metronidazole just in case I have a Giardia infestation in addition to anything else. I don't have all the symptoms but I do have some. Giardia lives in water and makes itself known through various gastrointestinal troubles. The good doctor is very accommodating to this hiker. She is sending my prescription to the local hospital and informing their lab to take care of me. I'll call back later from the trail to find out more. Thanks Doc.

Time to go make another phone call to Tim then head out of town on the AT. The hospital is not far from where the AT leaves the road and returns to the woods.


I tried Tim at work a couple times but only got his voice mail. My next opportunity will be in Glencliff where I hope to stroll into Monday morning.

I spent more time at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock hospital than I wanted. I arrived late even though someone picked me up on the street as I walked toward the hospital. That guy was nice. At first he slowed down to tell me that I missed where the AT leaves the road and heads into the hills. When I told him that I was headed to the hospital and drove me the rest of the way. Cool. So anyway, I picked up my prescription in case I have Giardia and had three more vials of blood drawn. I'll call from Glencliff but I don't think the results will be back yet. Maybe they will.

On the way back to the trail I tried hitching. I don't think I stuck my thumb out since hiking into Franklin, NC. Quite a few cars passed leaving the hospital until a new Caddy pulled up with a guy that borrowed a pen from me while we were using the phones at the hospital. He was pretty nice and jealous of me he said. He would really like to do a trip like this but he can't get away. I hear that from a lot of people.

He dropped me off where the trail crosses NH 120. I did not want to push for over ten miles to the Moose Mountain Shelter and arrive after dark so I just hiked up to Velvet Rocks shelter instead. It was not not even a whole mile from the road though. Still, I want to make it to Ore Hill on Sunday. So I'll have to increase my planned miles tomorrow and the next day.

Transcribed on:    06-Jun-2000 13:57:04 EDT

Date: 10 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1741.9
Okay, not too bad. I left the shelter after some ham and cheese roll-ups and started hiking in some hot, humid weather. I took a few breaks and a long, two hour break after about seven miles. I rehrydrated and made some sun tea for the trip up Moose Mountain.

Although not cloudy visibility was hampered by haze. The narrow views from the south and north peaks of Moose Mountain were my best views of New Hampshire's mountains. To the North I say Holts Ledges, which was tackled after Moose, and I believe I identified Smarts Mountain and MT. Cube, both of which I will be hiking tomorrow. Things are getting tougher. I wish I was in top health. I'm still tiring too quickly on the uphills, but overall I don't feel bad.

Transcribed on:    06-Jun-2000 14:46:22 EDT

Date: 11 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1761.2
I was not sure I had high miles in me for today, but I guess I did. Smarts Mountain and Mt. Cube were two decent ups and downs. Between them, Hexacuba shelter sits a little off the trail. I shed my pack and stopped in for a visit since this is the shelter maintained by Old Swampy and Mother Nature, his wife. I was disappointed to find no shelter register. I would have taken one up if I had known. I wanted to say, "hi", and see who is ahead of me. No luck though, The shelter is a nice one, but it as was early so I moved on quickly.

Mt. Cube had a false summit. I was nearing what I thought was the rocky top when I discovered that I was not very close at all to the top. I shouldn't have been surprised because I was watching the time and knew I shouldn't have reached the top so fast. I did not lose all the views to clouds but things got very misty from the old firewarden's cabin on Smarts Mountain all the way here to Ore Hill Shelter. There was not really rain but the air was sort of drippy. I got most wet when I lost my footing on a slick, rotting log and fell over into some marshy scumwater. I'm happy it wasn't very deep and the clumps of grass kept me from sinking into the mud.

Tonight I spent lots of time looking over my borrowed maps. The White Mountain National Forest and the White Mountains themselves are ahead. I'm trying to figure out my miles. I hope my guesstimates are not too far off. And I hope the weather clears soon. I'll be summiting my first mountain above the treeline tomorrow afternoon.

Transcribed on:    06-Jun-2000 22:16:49 EDT

Date: 12 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: ?
I made fantastic time into Glencliff this morning. Arriving at the post office, I discovered the weekday hours are 7-10 & 2-5 so now I have to squander almost three hours. Assuming I can be back on the trail at 3 o'clock, I don't think I can make it to the other side of Moosilauke. My day is shot.

There is a small hostel across the street from the post office where I sit writing this. Maybe I'll stay here tonight and get my laundry done too. The shower is outside and given the 40-something temperature I don't know if I'll use it. It will be nice enough to wear clean and dry clothes. My feet are cold and wet right now.

On the way here I took another fall. This time I almost recovered by jumping to the side. I lost my balance again though and fell over backwards into a big water-filled depression that fit the bottom of my pack and left butt cheek just perfect. That was a wonderful experience.

I am eager to get into the White Mountains amid the rocks and above the treeline. I don't expect soggy trails there. I'm not asking for much.

Less than half hour to go before the office reopens. Time to put these journal entries into the envelope.

Transcribed on:    06-Jun-2000 15:06:46 EDT

Date: 13 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1785.6
The Hikers Hostel was a good stay made even better by Jeremy & Julie. I was invited to use the inside shower which I did then I was invited to join the family for dinner which I also did. So I'm starting today clean, dry, and well fed.

Last night was also the first night using my 20o bag that I happily received in a maildrop. The weather is chilly and the sleeping arrangement is a loft in a shed so the extra insulation was welcome. I'll need it in the high elevation Whites too.

Today was definitely a good hike. Mt. Moosilauke represented a big turning point. On the south side of the mountain, I passed through the last open pasture on the AT. The mountain itself is the first above treeline and, I think, my biggest ascent. Overall I ascended around 3,800 feet to the summit although perhaps 500 feet of that occurred prior to the actual mountain. The trail from bottom to top was a little over four miles and took about two and a half hours. This was enough tie for the sky to clear some. I was very excited near the top because I could see some of the Green Mountains of Vermont to the west and knew that good views of the Whites would come soon. When I did get that view, I had an audible response. The Whites look awesome. Then I got really excited and so happy that the weather would allow decent, if not great visibility.

The exposed ridge was very windy and I put on my trusty fleece jacket before leaving the last stunted spruce trees. At the summit, another hiker took my picture next to the summit sign with Franconia Ridge in the background. When I got the camera back I promptly took a series of pictures in 360o to capture the whole view.

I spent well over an hour atop Moosilauke. So long that two more northbound thruhikers, Ridge and Beetle, caught up to me. I was kind of looking at them because they had a certain long distance look. They were looking at me then one said, "You must be Hardcore" and "I've been chasing you for four and a half months." Cool. I was able to get an idea of what is going on behind me. There are not many thruhikers immediately behind. A Canadian pair is about a half day back. Albatross and Rainbow Six are surprisingly far behind. They never met Many Fires. They wanted to know about Mr. D., Alex, and Mileslave. With his lead, Mileslave must be finished or really close to now.

Ridge and Beetle stopped at the last shelter while I continued on to Eliza Brook shelter. They are planning on going into North Woodstock tomorrow but I imagine we will meet up again before long.

I'm glad I made it here tonight. It took longer than I wanted, and I came in under headlamp but at least I beat the rain. That last 1.6 miles off of Moosilauke into Kinsman Notch was beautiful but took an hour and twelve minutes. Beaver Brook is a long, cascading waterfall/ slide for most of the way and the trail goes straight down the mountainside next to the brook. The other side of the notch was steep too but not so long. Mt. Wolf proved time consuming but it was not very high.

There is another hiker here who is pretty cool. He is a PC technician so we talked computers a bit as well as hiking. He was also happy to lighten his food bag by feeding me stuff. Good Deal!

It is very late so I've got to stop writing!

Transcribed on:    06-Jun-2000 21:40:23 EDT

Date: 14 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1791.5
Martian, the PC tech, and I decided to stick together for awhile. A conversation while hiking can sometimes make the time fly, and it's nice to have someone around that can take my picture. Picture opportunities were plentiful too.

Like yesterday there were some waterfalls and cascades near the trail. I'm not sure which is steeper sometimes—the waterfalls or the AT. The route up South Kinsman followed Eliza Brook long enough for us to see plenty of water works. At first, we missed where the trail crossed the brook and started up the canyon wall. Once we got back on the trail, we had to slow down anyway. The trails here require big steps up and down. My upper quads are getting a workout. It was odd to see a pond after ascending part way up to the ridge but Harrington Pond sits at the head of another brook that runs down the opposite slope of the mountain. It makes for a nice photo with the exposed rock faces above and the trail to one side. Summitting the south peak took longer than I wanted but it was about 2,000 feet higher than the shelter and about 2 miles away. The sky was partly cloudy and looked amazing. Some of them were low and getting stretched as they passed over the ridge behind us. Ahead of us were more of the same cloud formations. The south peak was above treeline so we saw quite a show.

Martian and I made good time hiking down and back up to North Kinsman a mile away. This was also exposed and only about 60 feet lower than South Kinsman. A couple miles north and much further down is an AMC run hut. We decided to stop in and have lunch there. The descent was slow going though and took a lot out of Martian. Our destination for the night was to be on the other side of Franconia Notch after another steep 2,000 foot ascent. We finally arrived at Lonesome Lake Hut. the crew, or croo as they call themselves, made my decision easy. They were excited to see their first thruhiker of the season because they had leftovers from breakfast yet. Martian and I cleaned these up. They also offered me a work for stay option which sounded better than another 2,000 foot climb. So, like at Bascon Lodge I'll stay and eat for free in return for some labor. Unlike Bascon Lodge it is not a holiday weekend so I won't have much to do. Martian will have to pay something since the work for stay is only offered to thruhikers as a courtesy. Thanks AMC croo.

The croo are fun people and the hut and it's bunkhouses sit on a beautiful lake. It is midweek and only two other groups are staying here. Martian did some dishes and I swept the hut before heading down to check out the lake before dinner. Nice lake but too cold for swimming by far. I did notice it is starting to cloud up. Maybe it is good that I'm not camping out just below Franconia Ridge.

The croo is very pleased with my performance on the dinner leftovers. I ate for an hour. Then I had to do some more work. This time instead of the croo providing some evening entertainment for the guests, I am to speak and answer questions about my thruhike. This I can do. As usual the first question is "Why so early?" I'm getting good at answering that one. My tales from the trail seemed to keep the guests entertained. I may get some more traffic on my website as well.

Oh. I can't forget to mention the dinner time entertainment provided to the croo and I by the two youngest guests. The two young boys were quite active. The older one especially was everywhere. His mom could hardly eat. He seemed to be omnipresent. Then there was a whole episode with a squirt gun that I won't even go into except to say the croo probably won't be so casual about arming youths in the future.

The last thing I'm doing tonight is finishing the AMC Junior Naturalist activity book. It's supposed to be for ages 9-12 but they will still give me a patch if I do it. Later, my name will be added to a list of Junior Naturalists in the Pinkham Notch HQ cafeteria. I don't think it will be up before I visit the HQ for a maildrop though. Bummer, I wanted to take a picture of it.

Transcribed on:    24-Jun-2000

Date: 15 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1804.7
I broke the 1,800 mile mark today after sweeping out the bunkhouses. Whoo hoo. The croo left me a good luck message and some candy too. Thanks guys and girls! You are awesome.

I made it to Franconia Ridge! This has been a goal of mine for a long time. I have been anticipating the scenery, scrambles and pictures. What I got today was a windy and cloudy experience. Once above treeline I was buffeted about by the gusts. The air was not cold though. Initially visibility was very restricted because the ridgehead summits were totally thick with clouds above, below, and at the same level. Getting to walk through the rushing clouds was a memorable experience. I summitted Little Haystack Mountain, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt. Lafayette in total cloud cover. Descending Lafayette, the clouds had small openings and I got a few breathtaking views of the valleys and cloudtops flowing far below me. As I travelled slowly toward Mt. Garfield the sky cleared in places. By the time I stood on Mt. Garfield's highest point, I had been rewarded with some spectacular views of cloudy valleys and cloud=wreathed mountains behind me. Lafayette looked impressive. I shot much film today.

Now I'm at the Garfield Ridge shelter with some other hikers including Martian, who took a shortcut to get here, Pending who thruhiked last year, and No Clue who thruhiked last year and this year. No Clue heard about me from a couple who picked him up hitchhiking in Virginia. They learned about me from their daughter who is a hiker and heard of a crazy guy on the trail who started in January and calls himself, "Hardcore", I'm famous. Product endorsements are next.

Transcribed on:    24-Jun-2000

generated 06-Jun-2000 22:16:58 EDT

Date: 16 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1804.7
People started moving early this morning so I was hiking shortly after 6:00. MArtian forgot his hat when he left so I brought that with me to Galehead Hut where we were meeting after a few miles.

It's partly cloudy and warm. The black flies are out again. I took a long break at Galehead Hut to eat, check maps and talk with Martian and Ridge and Beetle. The last two were finishing up sweeping the floor. They had planned on getting further down the trail but stopped early. I know how that is.

Istopped early today and am spending the rest of the day at Zeacliff Hut with Martian and Pending and some guests. I like taking my time here. This hut is a good spot being across the cliffs of Cranford Notch and next to a brook where I cleaned my legs and rinsed my shoes.

Transcribed on:    24-Jun-2000

Date:17 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1828.5
I hit the trail a little before 10 this morning after raking some compost. Sweeping the floor like at Lonesome Lake Hut is preferable but oh well. Martian and Pending had already left. Martian was taking a shortcut and Pending was heading back to Pinkham Notch Gap via a shuttle at the trailhead. Pending, a.k.a. Jason, may be able to put me up for the night when I get there in a few days.

The majority of today's miles were easy ones. First I descended into Zealand Notch then through it under the bare cliffs and among the rockfalls. For several miles the AT follows an old railroad bed so it was a real treat. Around Ethan Pond things got a little marshy but the bugs were not too bad. During the descent into Crawford Notch the sky turned ugly. Also at this time, I encountered a sweaty, flushed group of a mother and her daughters. As soon as I came into view they started asking me, "Are we almost there yet?" Almost where? When I told them it was 2.9 miles from the notch to Ethan Pond they immediately turned around. They weren't prepared for that much hiking. They took a .3 mile trail to some falls and saw a sign for Ethan Pond which did not have any mileage on it and started walking. A little down the trail the father and son turned around too. This was a good thing since then it started to rain hard. I think they made it to their vehicle.

I proceeded up Crawford Notch in the storm. I finally gained the ridge a couple hours later. The storm had passed but not the strong winds. Webster Cliffs overlook the notch and steadily gained altitude to the peak of Mt. Webster. The trail stays near the cliff edge and is often open to the elements. Huge clouds were flowing like a river through the notch. Mt. Webster also had streamers of clouds stretched over the summit. Hiking along was tough. The wind kept knocking me around and my hair and loose straps whipped my face, chest, and arms. The wind did dry me and my shorts off though. I was still shirtless so that stayed dry in my pack. The day stayed fairly mild too. Eventually I summitted Mt. Webster and then Mt. Jackson. I made my way to Mizpah Hut where I'm doing another work for stay. These huts are spoiling me.

Mizpah Hut is crowded with weekenders. It is a circus here. I may be the only one to take the Webster Cliffs route though. A much easier and shorter trail comes up from the road. Martian took that way but is jealous of my experience on the cliffs.

Transcribed on:    24-Jun-2000

Date: 18 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1833.3
I'm enjoying the company of Martian (who insists on being called Ben), Cruising Canuk, and El Wolf. The last two are Canadian thruhikers that caught me on the trail before Lakes of the Clouds hut while I was picture taking. We are just below the summit of Mt. Washington which is currently shrouded in clouds. It is raining and chilly but earlier Mt. Washington and the ridge were visible. There is even some snow here in a couple of areas. Nearby is a sign warning of the extreme weather conditions present here and the deaths due to them.

After dropping our gear at the hut Crazy Canuk, El Wolf, and I took a short hike to see the two small lakes and then walked up to the rocky summit of Mt. Monroe. We are currently in the Presidential Range of Mountains. Earlier we summitted Mt. Franklin and skirted Mt. Eisenhower's peak.

One funny thing happened earlier today. The lady that I shared a bunkroom with at Mizpah Hut left for a hike back to Crawford Notch, I had some floors to sweep but afterward I headed out toward Mt. Washington. Com down from the top of Mt. Pierce, the lady (I forget her name) calls out hello to me. I knew her plans because we discussed them this morning while I helped her load and adjust her pack. It took some talking but I convinced her that she was going in the opposite direction. She got some great pictures of the Presidentials before Mt. Washington clouded up though. Good thing for her I came along.

Tonight I'm just working off lodging not food. I'm trying to eat out of my food bag to lighten it. I gave Ben (Martian) two packs of macaroni and cheese since he is running low. I have a maildrop at Pinkham Notch Camp, hopefully I will be there in a day or two, depending on how much time I spend on the Mt. Washington summit. There is quite a bit to do up there even without good views.

Transcribed on:    24-Jun-2000

Date: 19 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1840.3
This morning had the same low clouds below the hut as last night. In the distance more clouds could be seen but for the time being the summit of Mt. Washington, 1,238 higher, a 1.4 miles away was clear. Mt. Washington has some of the worst weather in the world including the world record fastest wind at 231 mph and is in cloud cover 55% of the time.

At this elevation the slopes of Mt. Washington are comprised of broken rocks. The trail is marked by large and small rock cairns. Shortly after starting the ascent, Nobody, formerly Ben, formerly Martian, and a southbound thruhiker day-hiking the summit with his girlfriend, and I were joined by the two Canadians. Our group of five continued into the now cloudy heights of the mountain. Cruisin Canuck and El Wolf are fast hikers though and soon the three of us pulled ahead. After a mile, the two of them pulled away from me. The clouds blowing by varied the visibility. It was not long before the weather station on the summit came in and out of view like a ship in fog. It was still early but the summit is also serviced by an auto road and the cog railroad. At the top a few tourists were milling around taking pictures. The summit was in and out of the clouds. It stood high enough that sometimes all the cloud tops were below the summit. Nothing was visible except for the summit buildings and the rocky mountain tops, a very cool effect. But this did not last for long and soon the summit was enveloped in clouds. I found the visitor center and the Canadians as more tourists arrived via car and train.

I got a bunch of postcards and managed to get into a few webcam pictures [Picture one, Picture two, Picture three] that my dedicated Sys Admin sent out to my e-mail list. It does not sound like much but it took a surprising length of time. Also in the visitor center I met Edna, a college coed from Ithaca, NY. She is driving to a bunch of National Parks and hiking them this summer. She offered me her AT maps of Maine if my Pinkham Notch maildrop is not there. She's groovy and staying at Pinkham Notch Camp were I'll be tomorrow. I'm tempted to say over an extra day and get an AMC shuttle back to Franconia Ridge and day hike it in clear weather.

The Mt. Washington post office was closed so I was not able to unload my postcards and journal yet. I should be able to mail them or have someone else do so from Pinkham Notch Camp. At least, that is my plan.

Only 326.8 miles between me and Baxter Park, Katahdin, Maine.

Transcribed on:    24-Jun-2000

Date: 20 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1848.1
Stargazing last night was the best in a long while. I dressed warmly and took my sleeping pad. I did not need to go far. I found a small spot behind some krummel facing south-east. Other guests and the croo came out too. Only the croo was smart enough to dress warm so the other returned inside soon.

This morning's work was the usual—sweep the floor. Outside was windy, cold, and in the clouds. I just had to go 7.8 miles into Pinkham Notch Camp to pick up my maildrop at the front desk and visit Pending, a.k.a. Jason, who works there.

First, I did the short rocky climb up Mt. Madison. After that it was all a rocky and steep downhill but the clouds broke somewhat and I was able to see good views of the Great Gulf Wilderness and the mountains above including Mt. Washington. I'm back below treeline for now. I enjoyed my extended stay above treeline.

I'm at Pinkham Notch Camp. I hooked up with Jason who is lodging me for tonight in the employee bunkhouse. Showers and laundry are available too. I was smelling sour and my clothes smelled like ammonia, but not anymore. Jason is cool.

Another cool AMC employee here is Amy. She offered to help me out by remailing part of my maildrop to a bed and breakfast about a week away. I sent myself too much stuff. Thanks Amy. You rock. I have all my maps so I won't need to borrow Edna's. I'll call her before I leave to let her know. She's supposed to be staying here tonight.

Everyone from the Appalachian Mountain Club that I met has bee helpful and friendly beginning with the Croo, especially Jill, back at Bascom Lodge atop Mt. Greylock in Massachusetts.

Transcribed on:    2-July-2000

Date: 21 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1854.0
I'm starting the day right with an AYCE (All You Can Eat) breakfast here at the camp cafeteria. I need to carb load for the climb up Wildcat Mountain. I want to cross over Carter Notch too. I'll get past the notch see how much daylight is left. My pack weighs 30 pounds without food and water. Now that I have seven days of food and almost a quart of Gatorade I'll reweigh my pack. The trail is supposed to be difficult up Wildcat and in and out of Carter Notch. Too bad I have a full pack again.


With food and a little drink my pack weighs in at 42 pounds.

I did make it to Carter Notch but not out. The weather was not looking good so rather than risk getting caught in a bad storm I'm staying at Carter Notch Hut. I'm glad I did too. The hike up Wildcat took too long. The rain never developed into more than a few sprinkles but there are two northbounders here and one southbounder plus two women dayhikers, three guys, and a family group. The northbounders, Au Sable Mike and Medicine Man are taking it slow because Medicine Man hurt his knee. If things look okay they are heading to Rattle River Shelter in the morning which is also my destination. Lone Survivor is the southbounder. These three plus the two ladies and I have rooms in the first bunkhouse. We passed many stories around.

The caretaker took us on a small excursion. This notch contains huge jumbled rocks that have fallen from the high cliff walls after the glaciers left. This created a dam and many cave-like passages. She took us on a crawl through one of these. It was a bit tight and wet from the dripping rain but fun. The dam caused two small ponds to develop here in the notch. Everything about this place is impressive.

It is raining again but I'm warm and dry in the bunkhouse.

Transcribed on:    2-July-2000

Date: 22 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1867.3
I got the 10 o'clock start that has become normal lately. Breakfast was some generic noodles in watery alfredo sauce. The other thruhikers were already gone.

Carter Notch was a steep climb. The ups and downs around here are really time consuming. The steep walls of the notch gave me some good views of the hut and back into the Presidential Range. Mt. Washington was topped with clouds more often than not. Tuckerman's Ravine, a glacial cirque below the summit, still had a fair amount of snow in it's recesses.

After gaining the ridge, I hiked over Carter Dome, Mt. Hight, Leta Pass, South Carter, Middle Grove, North Carter, and Mt. Moriah before descending and following the Rattle River several more miles. The Andoscoggin River is close by so the trail is headed for the nearest bridge before returning to the mountains.

Medicine Man and Au Sable Mike continued on a couple more miles to US 2 where they can hitch into Gorham, NH. They'll be enjoying the hospitality of the Hikers Paradise Hostel and town food. I got my fix in Pinkham Notch Camp so I'm skipping Gorham.

I'm sharing the shelter with a section hiker named Sketcher[?]. He is staying here for a few days waiting for a friend. He is headed to Katahdin too but not hiking the whole trail. I've been seeing his name in the registers for a long time now. He offered to pack out my trash for me since his friend will have a vehicle. I don't have much garbage but I always welcome the opportunity to rid myself of it.

The mosquitos are somewhat obnoxious here and the small fire does not seem to be helping. I've experienced a lot worse though so I won't complain too much.

Less than 300 miles remaining. Only 18.4 miles left in New Hampshire.

Transcribed on:    3-July-2000

Date: 23 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1881.0
Good start today thanks to the mosquitos. One woke me this morning by biting my thigh. Then I stayed awake because they were landing on my forehead. Time to resupply the bug repellant.

I started hiking around 6 with the intent of making it into Maine. I met Medicine Man and Au Sable Mike and talked to them as we took a break at a shelter. Jay showed up soon too. They spent the night in Gorham. The hostel sounds pretty good there.

I saw three more southbound thruhikers. It is still odd to see so many thruhikers during the day although it is really not that many.

Transcribed on:    3-July-2000

Date: 24 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1890.6
Wow I fell asleep early yesterday. I spent the remaining portion of the day at the shelter with Jay, a hiker I met before who hiked with Alex a lot. Medicine Man and Au Sable Mike went into Maine last night. I still have 4.7 miles to go. I'll be there before noon.

I would like to be in Maine already of course but staying here yesterday was so appealing I couldn't pass it up. The shelter is built close to Gentian Pond and looks out over a steep drop at the mountains beyond. I started Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring while laying in the sun. Sketcher finished last night and gave it to me. This will be my fifth read of the book, one of my favorites.


Whoo hoo! I'm in Maine although not very far. I've set myself up to arrive in Oquossec, Maine in three days. There I'll spend the night at the Horsefeather Inn B&B where I bumped some supplies ahead from Pinkham Notch Camp.

The full Goose Shelter is populated by Ken, a southbounder, Jay, and Footloose who started in Pinkham Notch. Two more northbound section hikers are camping nearby.

It is 8:30 and everyone else went to sleep long ago. It is time for me to do the same and dream of tomorrow's breakfast of two packs of Ramen Noodles.

Transcribed on:    5-July-2000

Date: 25 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1902.6
It is taking longer to do these souther Maine miles than I planned. Important headway was made today though.

First, Mahoosuc Notch and Mahoosuc A[?]m are now behind me. The notch is supposedly the hardest mile on the entire AT. Jay and I took an hour and forty-five minutes to traverse the notch's 1.1 mile length. Boulders have fallen from the steep cliff walls on both sides and filled the notch. This results in a trail that goes over, under, and around rocks. At times we needed to take off our packs and pull or push them behind or ahead of us. Some of the tight fits reminded me of caving especially since cold air from the boulder caves around and below us filled the notch. Snow and ice were also still present from the winter under overhangs and in deep recesses. It was slow but very entertaining. After finishing the notch we began ascending but I stopped soon at a wide but shallow brook for an early lunch. Jay continued on and I did not see him again until tonight.

The second thing now behind me is Old Speck. This tall mountain is the northernmost of the Mahoosic Range which I have been in since leaving the Presidential Range. It is challenging terrain here. I'm glad I bought extra food because I am needing it.

Descending Old Speck into Grafton Notch I got wet in a heavy rainstorm. Fortunately, I had just put on my pack cover and rain jacket in time. My boots and shorts are soaked though. The boots and socks won't be dry by morning. At least I have dry clothes to sleep in tonight.

Transcribed on:    5-July-2000

Date: 26 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1916.6
Dunn Notch has a spectacular double waterfall at a 90o position. The AT crosses the stream which immediately to one side flows through a cleft in the rock over a falls. Then the water is forced left through another narrow rock opening and another falls.

The rest of the day was nondescript. Wymen and Hall Mountains weren't as steep as most, at least where the trail went. That was a nice change.

The southbound thruhikers have invaded. The shelter here is nearly full and several tents are around the site. It's a nice crowd of people though and I got some info about what to expect from Oquossoc Village.

Transcribed on:    6-July-2000

Date: 27 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1929.4
Sizeable elevation gains and descents again. The trail maintainers like things steep in the north. Had a thunderstorm today as I was hiking up Old Blue Mountain. Luckily it passed before I got very close to the top. I did not even get very wet somehow. I was wetter in yesterday's storm that hit while I was coming into Grafton Notch.

I'm out of food and stove fuel. In the morning I headed down the trail 4.6 miles to Maine 17 where I plan on hitching the 11 miles into Oquossoc Village. I sent myself a supply package to the Horsefeather Inn B&B. There is also a small grocery and deli for my snack items that I am sorely lacking.

No southbounders at this shelter tonight. It's only me and two ladies out for an overnighter. They're fun. It's nice to have a crowd here.

I took a rough fall nearing the shelter. It happened on a large, rounded hunk of rock in the trail. I needed to descend the rock 3-4 feet to continue on the trail There were enough footholds so I just started walking down the sloped surface. I did not get my left foot firmly planted though and it escaped the wet hold. I was facing out from the stone and my left leg shot out causing the fall. I slid down the rough rock face on my leg and side stopping at the bottom. I thought for sure my leg was shredded but the bruising and abrasions are not very bad. My leg is all cleaned and bandaged now. My first aid kit allowed for a real good job taking care of the problem.

Transcribed on:    6-July-2000

Date: 29 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1942.3
Goodbye Oquossoc Village. I enjoyed my stay but the trail awaits. Mac and Joanne who run the bed and breakfast offered a ride back to the trailhead but that did not leave me enough time to make another visit to the post office and phone. Perry and Amy, guests at the inn that I befriended, were kind enough to drive me out though. Thanks guys. Perry, I hope you caught the biggest salmon after returning to the river.

By the way, I finally found out all my test results from Doc Warren. They are all negative. Though it shows I did have mono at one time, it is not certain I was recovering from it when my blood was drawn. Whatever it was will remain a mystery.

Partly because I started hiking after noon and partly because this campsite on Little Swift River Pond is so nice, I did not put many miles in today. On the plus side, there is an excellent spring here, plenty of cut firewood (thanks MATC), an awesome flat tent spot in pine needles, and the sound of bullfrogs and fish jumping in the nearby pond. There is lots of daylight left and I'm enjoying some green tea and my fire. Tonight I'll go to sleep early behind the wonderful screens of my tent and not have any trouble with mosquitos and black flies.

Come early morning, I'm planning to recon the area for moose. There is lots of evidence of their presence her. In fact there is a pile of evidence four feet away. Technically, I saw and photographed my first Maine moose earlier but I don't really count trailside moose bones and scattered fur.

Actually, I'm tired already and may turn in sooner than I thought. It is not even 7 o'clock yet. Really, I should eat a little more, take my vitamins and minerals, and check the map for tomorrow first.

Transcribed on:    6-July-2000

Date: 30 Jun 2000
AT milepoint: 1948.9
Last night I was joined by Ace, a southbounder on his second AT thruhike. He liked the site too and put up his rainfly. We sat for a long time around the fire eating and talking.

After he turned in, the pond started to get noisy. I think a few moose arrived. I heard splashing and a few grunts but did not see anything.

During the night and a small part of today there was rain. I escaped it by ducking into the Piazza Rock shelter. I decided to play it safe; thunder had been booming all day and though only partly cloudy there were rain clouds. After this shelter is a stretch of exposed mountaintop as I cross Saddleback. I did not want to be there during a lightning storm.

Instead I unpacked here and visited nearby Piazza Rock, a monstrous slab of rock that fell from the mountainside and now creates a huge overhang. It is pretty incredible. Crusty thinks so too. He is a southbounder that showed up after me.

I have some light left so let me describe my latest food discovery. It is peanut butter and cake frosting and chocolate. The spoon starts in the peanut butter jar, moves to the frosting, then gets topped off by a hunk of chocolate. I figure it is around 10 calories per spoonful. I had to stop after a pound.

Transcribed on:    12-July-2000

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