July 29, 2012

Dinner on top of Bromley Mountain.

360 degree view of the area, sun is out, and I get to watch the storm clouds roll in the distance. Should be a gorgeous sunset!

July 28, 2012

Weather Delays

Weather really screwed up my mileage. Will be in Rutland tonight. Hoping to make Manchester Center on Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest. Eating some trail magic oranges while I wait for Trooper and Riffle.

Oh, forgot to mention I saw my first bear a few days back on my way down from Smart Mtn.

July 25, 2012

Stopping in West Hartford for the night. 33 miles planned for the next two days when we stop at Killington. Time for dinner now though.

Tarzan, your guess was spot on, I ran into your roommate Meat this afternoon between Happy Hill Shelter and West Hartford.
for all you people at home (like me at the moment) pictures are uploaded to Picasa and you can view them through the link labeled "Pictures!"

Welcome to Vermont

Woke up to another day in Hanover after a night of thunderstorms. Decided to wait for Chitty-Chitty, Bang-Bang, and Little Foot who were just a few miles outside town as of last night. Spent some time in town with them getting their free stuff, then arranged for a place to stay with Betsy in Norwich, VT. The trail angel programs in Hanover and Norwich are amazing. Crossed the Connecticut River tonight and will continue farther into VT tomorrow. Bev and Riffle are meeting us in the morning and hiking with us to West Hartford where we plan to stay at a house with a natural spring fed pool.

July 23, 2012

Apologies for the scattered topics in the posts but I wanted to give some more details about some of the things I've done that occurred after Mt. Washington and up to today.

One of the important opportunities going through the Whites is the chance to do work-for-stays at the Huts. I briefly mentioned this in my previous post when I summitted Mt. Lafayette in that storm. A work-for-stay requires you to arrive relatively early to ensure you get a space, of which there are limited opportunities for thru hikers. You are served dinner and breakfast (after everyone else eats) and given a roof to sleep under. Sometimes you are lucky enough to get a bunk. One work for stay I slept on the porch under a starlit night sky that was beautiful with a nice cool breeze and the other was inside in the dining hall (Lafayette). The only other work-for-stay I did was for dinner alone because there was a huge group of kids at the Mizpah Hut. After so long on the trail, large, loud crowds are not exactly welcome; it's just too much. The work-for-stays are a great chance to conserve my food reserves (still carrying a dinner from my original packing in Gorham) and sleep indoors.

I mentioned that I stayed at Chet's Hostel which gave me the chance to slack-pack through Kinsman Notch. The views of the Whites were amazing and I was able to see everything I had already come over and Mt. Moosilauke which I would eventually summit. Since Moosilauke I have put on some decent miles and plan to continue doing that. My average over the last few days has been around 15 miles. May have pushed myself a little harder than I should have or even needed to in getting to Hanover and now I'm taking a zero to rest my right calf muscle. It's already feeling better so it won't be long till I'm back on the trail again, soon as I can restock.

Some of the trail magic I've encountered is just amazing. A few days back in the Whites we passed Rt. 302 and met a previous thru-hiker named Rock Dancer who sits out on the trail head with drinks and food for the hikers passing by; he does this for 2 days. Chitty-Chitty, Bang-Bang, and Little Foot and I arrived about 2pm and ended up staying and talking with Rock Dancer till 5. At that point we decided to stealth camp in the area, just off the railroad tracks and go to dinner with Rock Dancer who also took us to the Irving to get some supplies. Rock Dancer was a wealth of information about the upcoming trail. I also had the opportunity to meet the ice cream man just before Moose Mountain. Bill Ackerman (the ice cream man), gives hikers free ice cream and water out of his home. I was even luckier that evening because his niece, Sarah, and her children were visiting and they decided to make popcorn and lemonade and share it with myself and two other hikers. While visiting, I found out that Sarah is a doctor at a hospital in Maine who treats lyme disease. I spoke with her about Jonathan's condition and she recommended he be tested again because of the time it takes for antibodies to appear which will give a positive result on the test; too early and the test will come back with a false negative. Hopefully that's not what he has but every little bit of information helps. Bill even let us pitch tents/hammocks in his yard. This was my first chance to pitch my hammock on the ground and it worked really well. There are a few things I'll do differently the next time but those are just to give myself a little more space.

Had a slight hiccup in my resupply schedule when the box that was sent to Glencliff wasn't there when I showed up. Slightly disappointing but the lady who dropped me off at the post off also took me to the local mart where I was able to pick up enough supplies to get me to Hanover.

Met many great NOBOs who shared invaluable information about Hanover and the upcoming rail; Five Pair, Shy Dog, Frenchie, Salt Bomb, Nutter Butter, BP (Bottomless Pit), Pepper Boy, and Duke (a dog on the trail following Pepper Boy though he's another hiker's dog). One of the major discussion points has been water as there has been a stretch with limited or weak water. Thankfully there's been some trail magic in the form of 5 gallon jugs of water we can top off with and I'm taking every opportunity I can to fill up at each stream I can get water out of. The other major discussion point has been the free things you can get at the trail towns coming up; specifically Hanover.  Here you can get a free slice of pizza, a snicker's bar, a free cup of coffee, and a free bagel just for being a thru-hiker. Hanover is extremely nice to thru-hikers and even has a list of numbers to trail angels you can call who will put you up in their houses for the night. It fills up quick though.

I'm planning to camp outside town again like I did last night. The weather's been great so no need for a rain fly and the temperatures are cool enough that just my liner is enough. Weather for the next few days is for some chance of rain but no more than 50%. Will be nice to see the streams, creeks, and brooks up a little more. My fear is the high temperatures continue as I get farther south. I've been hearing that NY, Pennsylvania, and VA are having issues with their water sources. Hopefully each state will have plenty of rain right before I walk through them but far enough ahead for the trails to be mostly dry. I've been blessed with good weather so far and only a few bad days though I anticipate running into more as hurricane season really kicks off and I get farther south.

This morning I took a shower and did laundry at the community center. Feels good to be rinsed of all the dirt and sweat, though I still have some of that natural hiker musk. Not only is it hard to get rid of (will probably need to wash for at least an hour and soak in multiple tubs of hot water when I'm done) but it helps keep the mosquitos at bay just that little bit more. After my shower/laundry, I headed into town to get all my free foods and look through the outfitter shops to see if there was any gear I wanted. I have everything I need but there's always a chance I may find some new, lighter-weight gear to replace something I have. I finally found new socks when I took the free local transit bus to West Lebanon to the EMS there. I'm going to go through a bunch of socks but feet are important on the trail. My socks might have lasted me another 100 miles but no sense taking the risk. After that I picked up my resupply package from the post office (glad this one made it) and came here to the library to post.

Hoping Chitty-Chitty, Bang-Bang, and Little Foot catch up to me tomorrow morning.  They are supposed to be making it to Etna tonight which puts them about 6 miles outside Hanover. I'm going to hang around and wait for them probably.

Some minor highlights since my last post:
- Hiked up Cube Mountain
- Hiked up Smart Mountain and climbed to the top of the fire warden's tower which had some amazing views
- Watch the new Batman movie last night

I may have missed a few things but I left my map with my gear in the community center. I figure if I can't remember it, it can't be that important.

~Shadow Grimm

July 20, 2012

Mt. Moosilauke

Summitted Mt. Moosilauke slightly ahead of schedule. The hike up was long and slow but not as difficult as I was led to believe. Planning to stop at Jeffers Brook Shelter for the night, then hit Glencliff tomorrow.

July 19, 2012

Kinsmen Notch

Woke up this morning at 6 with the intention of getting an early breakfast and on the trail by 8. Diner didn't open till 7 and it took me a little while to get a hitch to Franconia Ridge where I ended yesterday. Started on the trail at 9 and arrived at the Lonesome Lake Hut at 10:30 for a snack and chat with some day hikers. Made it up to North Kinsman Peak at 1 for lunch and talked with Joe from Hanover who was doing a day hike. Left the peak at 2 and continued on to South Kinsman Peak, then some descents and ascents before I got to Mt. Wolf. Finally got off the trail just before 7 and got a hitch from the second car to pass by. Now I'm having pizza for dinner, ice cream for dessert, then bed. Mt. Moosilauke tomorrow!

July 18, 2012

Franconia Ridge

Spent last night at Greenleaf Hut where I did a work for stay for dinner, lodging, and breakfast. After yesterday's weather and the threat of today's weather, I decided to do a short day. Back up and over Lafayette, traversed Franconia Ridge, and climbed a few peaks through there. Beautiful views along the way with some light cloud cover. Pictures cannot do it justice. After that it was down to the Flume Gorge Visitor Center. I grabbed a shuttle ride to Chet's hostel where I'll be staying for the night. Chet was doing a thru hike a few years ago when his MSR stove and canister blew up on him putting him in a coma and wheelchair when he woke up. Now he runs a hiker hostel out of his house for donations, barter, and work for stay. Thinking of slack-packing the next 16 miles, then heading on to Glencliff the next day.
Felt good yesterday to put on some miles; even if they were in the rain, hail, wind, thunder, and lightning. There's something primal about a storm at the top of a mountain peak that's simply amazing.

July 14, 2012

Summitted Mt. Washington

Summitted Mt. Washington today the proper way. Did the Auto Road last weekend while Void was sick. Weather is great up here, 60s with a nice breeze and minimal clouds. Much nicer than last time though still a limited view at the moment. Headed to Nauman Tent Site, maybe more after lunch.

July 13, 2012

Back on the trail

Back on the trail again, headed for the White Mountains and the presidents. Void is headed home for some medical attention but he'll be back on the trail later.

July 9, 2012

Challenges and Choices

Seven days since our last post and much has happened. We've been remiss in posting but we've had a bit on our minds. July 2nd we summitted Wyman Mountain and ended our day at the Frye Notch Lean-to. July 3rd we summitted Baldpate Mountain's East and West Peaks. That day, just before lunch, we passed through a parking lot for day hikers climbing Baldpate Mountain and hiking the neighboring trails. Just before the parking lot, I passed a few groups of hikers from nearby summer camps. One group in particular from a local girls' camp flagged me down and began asking me questions about what I was doing. The girls in the group ranged in age from 12-15 and had never heard of the AT or thought of doing such a huge hike. They asked questions like how I took showers, how we got water and food, and how we slept at night. I answered their questions and talked about the trail and the experience, took some photos with the girls, and then they started their hike. That night, we camped just short of Mahoosuc Notch after passing Speck Pond, spent the night with a group of NOBOs, and shared some trail stories and information. The next day we began our hike late due to the pouring rain that morning. Our hike started at the Mahoosuc Notch, went over Fulling Mill Mountain's South Peak, continued over Goose Eye Mountain's North, East, and West Peaks, and ended at the Carlo Col Shelter. The morning of the 5th we had to make a decision and chose to take the Carlo Col Trail in order to get to town. We finally managed to make it over the Maine/New Hampshire border but not quite in the manner we expected. Our original goal had been to reach Gorham for the 4th but we were delayed because of a few injuries and issues in the group. The major issue for Void and I was his health. The evening of the 2nd Void wasn't feeling well and each day continued to get slightly worse. At first we figured it was just something he ate combined with the activity of the day so we relaxed early and took it easy. The next morning he was fine and only got worse toward the later part of the day and his symptoms were getting worse. He was suffering from headaches, decreased appetite, weakness, and a slight fever. We took a long snack break in the afternoon and gave him plenty of liquids thinking he might be slightly dehydrated. The evening of the 4th, with no improvement, we decided to arrange for a pickup so we could get him to the hospital for some treatment. When he doesn't have an appetite, you know something is wrong. The morning of the 5th we took the Carlo Col Trail to Success Pond Road. While the overall trail was shorter than hiking the AT to Gorham, we didn't quite realize how far the trip along the road to the parking lot would be. Making matters worse, it was hard to get Void to eat much of anything and it was a challenge for him to walk more than 15 minutes, even along a fairly smooth dirt road. To make it easier on him I ended up carrying his pack for the last few miles along the road until the EMT unit from the Berlin FD found us. It was a relief that they decided to travel down the road instead of waiting for us at the parking lot which was about 6 miles from where we were picked up and we had only hiked along the road for 3 miles. The EMTs took us to the Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, NH. Throughout the day, his temperature ranged from 102.7 at its peak in the hospital to 100.2 while in the ambulance. At the hospital he was treated for exhaustion and deydration, given tylenol for his temperature, and 2 liters of saline. During our stay we were moved to 3 different rooms and even resided in the hallway for some time. He was finally released from the hospital at 5:30 and we stayed till 6:30 when Linda, a nurse going off duty, gave us a ride to Hiker's Paradise in Gorham. Special thanks to Andrea for all her help while at the hospital; from being Void's nurse to bringing us food and drink while we were there. Over the last few days, Void has slowly started to feel better; his temperature has dropped back to normal, he's staying hydrated, and his appetite has begun to return. Some of this is because I've been constantly tellingn him to eat and drink and the rest is because I think he is starting to feel better. Hopefully we'll be able to get back on the trail late next week, a few days after he feels ready to hike, so we can make sure he is good again. Nothing would be worse than to get back on the trail and have to jump right off again if he started feeling bad again. At the moment our plan is to skip hiking the Whites and come back at a later time to hike this section. We will either start at Mount Mousilake or just after where the terrain is fairly flat and we can get our trail legs back without having to put Void through a lot of strain. We stayed at Hiker's Paradise the night of the 5th. Hiker's Paradise gave us beds and a chance to do laundry but the place is fairly rundown. There are holes in the floor and the place is in general disrepair. That night we went to dinner with Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang, and Little Foot at Mr. Pizza (www.mrpizzanh.com) in Gorham. We ordered the 384 sq. inch super stomper pizza with pepperoni and ate all but 8 slices. Had we not wanted to get dessert, we would have finished those last slices. For dessert I got a slice of blueberry pie and Void, still with a diminished appetite, chose to skip dessert. The next morning we went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. After breakfast we headed over to White Mountain Lodge where the rest of our friends had stayed for the night and spent a few hours there. As we were going to be in town for about a week so Void could get back to normal we decided to find a hotel that would offer us a good weekly rate. After making a few calls, we settled on the Northern Peaks Motor Inn (www.northernpeaksmotorinn.com) after the lady offered a room for $200 for the week. Hiker friendly places are always where we want to be; the people are more relaxed and they go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. Our room has 2 beds, floor space (for other hikers to crash), shower, and mini fridge. While we didn't have a microwave the first night and we told the ladies we didn't need one, they promised we would have one the next day and, sure enough, they bought one and brought it to us the next day. In addition to the hotel room, I decided to find a rental place that had something large enough to fit at least 5 people plus backpacks. For the vehicle I found a Hertz in Glen, NH that offered a Chevy HHR; a crossover SUV that I've been enjoying driving. It could be a little larger but it gets the job down and allows me to shuttle friends and other hikers between trail heads, lodging, walmart, and outfitters. Carpe did this for us while he was out and I figure I could continue the tradition while we're off the trail. I didn't realize how fun and enjoyable playing trail angel could be until I started doing it. I've been having a good time but I wish we could be on the trail instead. On Friday night, Caroline, Void's girlfriend, stopped by for the weekend. She is working at a Girl Scout Camp in NH and wanted to see him while we were in the area. Her stopping in was good for him, though he was still pretty weak still, and I think it helped bring up his spirits and encourage him to start getting better. Since we've been here, we've met many NOBOs and kept in touch with many of our SOBO friends and made a few new ones. Having a hotel room and a vehicle makes this somewhat easier to do. Two NOBOs we met, Tarzan and Rafiki spent some time at Northern Peaks with us and we traded a lot of information and stories of the trail ahead. Tarzan is keeping a blog at http://hike2012.blogspot.com/. Speaking with NOBOs is always interesting because they've been on the trail for longer than us, have had different experiences, and have hiked areas that we will be going through. We get to hear about all the people they've met and everything they've been through. It's nice to make note of the things they say so we know where to stop, where we may encounter issues, and where we can look for trail magic or other good things. Nothing else to say at the moment but I'll try and make some more posts this week, though they will be short since we're not doing much. Hopefully Void will continue to feel better and we'll post more as we go. ~ Shadow and Void Grimm

July 1, 2012

Rain, rain, go away!

Since the last post, we've put in some additional miles and a lot of elevation. We made it to Stratton on the 26th after our very own trail angel (thank you Carpe!) picked us up in the rain. It was a lousy day for hiking but we've been in worse. Burgers for lunch at the Looney Moose were great, a while pound of burger with bacon and cheese. Picked up our drop box so we could restock on food and snacks. Heard from some other SOBOs that the ford we needed to cross the next day was impassable so we decided to slack-pack Crocker Mountain and see for ourselves. The 9 mile hike was a challenge with all the water in the trail bit we made it up and over in a few hours and went to check out the ford. As told, it was impassable. The water was moving too quickly to even attempt a crossing to put up a guide line. Instead of waiting for the water to recede, and with more rain that night and the next day, we decided to head over to Rangeley and continue the trek. On our return we saw Pikey and Hoofer who we hadn't heard from in awhile. They ran into a bit of trouble on Avery Peak but made it back. We're glad you're both doing well and hope to see you both down the trail. That night we ate wolf burgers (1lb of meat with sausage patties, bacon, and cheese) at the White Horse Lounge & Bar followed by apple cobbler and strawberry rhubarb cobbler. After getting dropped off outside Rangeley we hiked three days to South Arm Road where Little Foot's mom picked us up and brought us back to Rangeley for chili, chocolate chip cookies, showers, and a night's sleep indoors. Staying by the lake at Town and Lake Motel was very relaxing. Today (July 1) we got back to the trail where we hiked 1200 feet up, 1300 feet down, and 1500 feet up over 4 miles to get to the campsite. We're hoping to hike into Gorham on the 4th, otherwise we'll be there on the 5th. Hopefully we'll be able to post some pictures of everything we've mentioned over the last few posts when we get the card reader for Void's memory card. ~ Shadow and Void Grimm