Warren, NH

How far we’ve come. Today we are in Warren, NH just for a quick minute so that we can resupply with enough food to make it to Hanover, NH. We should be in Vermont by Friday!

The White Mountains (the “Whites”) of northern New Hampshire were really cool, but we hate the AMC. The Appalachian Mountain Club is a “non-profit” (in quotes because they are classified as that, but are greedy and profit-oriented) club that has taken over the entirety of the Whites and put up huts. These “huts” are actually like lodges, with even the smallest one being able to bunk and cook for about 30 people. The problem is, though, that the AMC charges ridiculous amounts of money to stay in their huts: around $110 per night. Even worse, the shelters and lean-tos (and even the campsites) in the Whites are also owned by the AMC, so they make you pay money for those as well. The only way to get through the Whites without paying is to stealth camp (which is illegal in some places) or to work-for-stay. Work-for-stay at the huts is basically slavery: you have to sit outside in the cold while all the rich white people eat their hot meals, and then you come inside after dinner to do dishes, sweep, and clean up. Then, when it’s bed time, you get to sleep on the floor of the dining room. The only possible benefit is that you *sometimes* get the cold leftovers from dinner. When you wake up (at 5:30am so you can be out of the way of the people staying at the hut before they get up), you repeat the process but for breakfast.
The huts are pretty much unavoidable through the Presidentials (series of mountains with names coming from presidents), as there are no shelters or camp sites there.

Even when we made it to shelters and campsites, we still had to work to be allowed to stay there. At one campsite, we raked composted feces and spread it around the area for a good long while to be able to sleep under a tarp shelter that we had to put up. At another, we did the same job, but we’re able to sleep in a wood shelter instead.

Today we got up at 3am to see the sunrise from the top of Moosilauke Mountain, the last mountain in the Whites (and possibly the last big mountain we’ll see until Virginia). It was amazing – I took pictures, but like the rest of the trail they’ll never be able to fully impart the feeling that that landscape and scenery gave me.

Day 28 – 6/28/15
White Mountains Lodge and Hostel
Zero
Today we decided to take another zero day, as it was raining and we were all sore from the hard 21 miles over the Wildcats yesterday. We marathoned Game of Thrones and watched movies all day. Marni, the owner of the hostel, made a delicious meal that consisted of lasagna, garlic bread, and salad. Yum.

Day 29 – 6/29/15
Madison Spring Hut
7 miles
Not too many miles today because they were pretty tough. We all packed way too much food, and the incline was quite steep. The Presidentials are just piles of rocks that you have to step on along the ridge line, so it makes progress slow and difficult. We were surprised by the size and grandeur of the hut we came across – Madison Spring Hut. Normally, they only have 2 slots for people to work-for-stay, but somehow the hut croo (their word) were convinced/were awesome and let all six of us stay. We think it might have had something to do with how miserable it was outside that night – rainy and cold. To top it off, the only work we had to do was give a 35 minute “program” on the AT – basically just a Q&A session with our trail family and the hut goers. It was awesome and fun!

Day 30 – 6/30/15
Nauman Tent Site
13 miles
Today we went up to Mount Washington and said goodbye to a member of our family, Booker. He left the trail to go stay with some family on a vacation and then deal with something or other in his life. He said he might come back and hike a little bit with us later on. Mount Washington was horrible – a disgusting amount of tourists literally walking 50 feet from their cars and waiting a half hour in line to take a picture with the summit sign. The mountain itself didn’t have that great of a view, either, because the buildings and construction on the top of the mountain ruined any chance of a 369 degree view. Not our favorite. Banner, Web, and I got a little lost on our way to Washington. Once we realized we were lost, we just sat and ate for almost a whole hour before turning around. The views were amazing, though, no regrets.
We were rudely turned away from work-for-stay at the Lake of the Clouds hut (they said that we could stay and then heard that we had only hiked 7 miles and went back on their word), so we hiked on to Mizpah Spring hut. It already had too many work-for-stays, so we couldn’t stay there either. Finally we came upon the Nauman Tent Site, and the wonderful caretaker there let us stay at the site. Since it was supposed to rain, we set up a tarp shelter so that we wouldn’t have to pack up our tents in the rain. We had to shovel compost and whatnot to be able to stay, though – degrading, a little bit, but worth it to keep our dignity intact. We will never pay a dollar to the greedy hands of the AMC. Since our little family was accustomed to singing along the trail, we did all while we were working – we decided we should have a family band name. Thus we dubbed ourselves “Magic & the Dirty Boys.”

Day 31 – 7/1/15
Zealand Hut
No Idea miles
Pouring rain today, very cold and very tough. Even more so, we had to come down Webster Mountain, whose sides are very steep and made of slick rocks. Toward the afternoon the trail flattened and the sky lightened, which boosted morale and made progress much faster. The hut staff were super nice, but only had 3 work-for-stay slots. Magic and Banner decided to take one for the team, and Robin, Web, and I worked to stay in the hut. Robin and Web did a lot of dishes, and I chipped ice out of a freezer.

Day 32 – 7/2/15
Garfield Ridge
The three that stayed at the hut were berated by a crotchety, entitled woman for “being too loud” in the morning. She then proceeded to yell at us for any conceivable thing she could think of because “she paid to sleep her and you’re getting it for free.” When she saw us sweeping and doing dishes later on, she was surprised. We told the staff what happened, and they said “Wait, this morning? You guys were really quiet. Seriously, you guys have been good thru-hikers, I don’t know what she was talking about.”
Instant trail karma: she came back into the hut 5 minutes before we left with a big cut on her lip from falling. Trail karma is real.
Us three at the hut finished our chores and were allowed to have some leftovers from breakfast: oatmeal, eggs with zucchini, cinnamon rolls, and coffee.
We took a nice long break at Galehead Hut because the day was just so beautiful and the hut was at a great viewpoint. The staff inside let us have some turkey and cake after we swept the bunk rooms.
When we got to Garfield Ridge, we were greeted by Charlotte, a nice caretaker who loves to play songs on her guitar. While we were raking compost to be able to stay in the shelter, she played us a song she wrote about her campsite (Garfield Ridge).

Day 33 – 7/3/15
Chett’s Place
14 miles
We went over Lafayette today. Beautiful mountain, again ruined by day walkers (a derogatory term we’ve come to start using for rude day hikers). We made it into Lincoln, NH by catching a ride with some nice older day hikers. We ended up staying at this cool hostel that is run by a man name Chett, who was in a horrible accident with a butane stove (explosion) while he was preparing to do a thru-hike many years ago. Now he runs a free hostel that is passed only by word of mouth, and isn’t in any AT books or online. We ate delicious chicken Parmesan at a place called Enzo’s, and we restocked what we needed.

Day 34 – 7/4/15
Eliza Brook Shelter
9 miles
Not too many miles – we’re still taking it easy through the Whites and enjoying the nice days. We washed dishes at Lonesome Lake Hut for some cold ginger chicken and eggs & zucchini (which we mixed together and added ketchup to). It was surprisingly good, and they gave us each a cookie for the road. Kinsman Mountain and it’s ridge were pretty tough – but we finally made it to a shelter that we didn’t have to work-for-stay! First one in over 80 miles. Happy birthday, America!

Day 35 – 7/5/15
Beaver Brook Shelter
10 miles
Pretty straight-forward day of hiking. We were originally going to camp on the top of Moosilauke mountain (which the shelter is halfway up), but decided it would probably be too cold and windy up there to enjoy it. We ended up stopping at the shelter to rest, and it turned into our final stop for the day.

Day 36 – 7/6/15
We got up at 3am to see the sunrise on Moosilauke. It was incredible. As I said before, neither pictures nor words do it justice. Then we hiked down the mountain – I’m sitting at Jeffers Brook Shelter, a shelter at the base of the Mountain, with Magic, waiting for the other Dirty Boys to come down the mountain. The shelter is about a mile from a road that will get us into Warren for resupply. A very nice woman named Kelsi who section-hiked a bit in Georgia and further (before being taken off the trail by a hurricane) gave us a ride into town, and one of the dudes that runs Hiker Yearbook gave us a ride back. We ended up hiking about 2 miles to find this AMAZING spot on the edge of a lake, with a rope swing, tent sites, a table, and a fire pit. We swam, washed up, and had an amazing evening.

We’ll be in Hanover, NH on Thursday, but that’s a bit too soon for people to get packages to us. Instead, you can send them to the next town we’ll go into: Rutland, VT!!
Address packages to:
Ian Leake
Hiker Hostel
23 Center Street
Rutland, VT 05701

Don’t forget to write “hold for AT thru-hiker” on it! You’ll notice that this isn’t a post office – this is the address of the hostel we’ll be staying at. They suggest to send packages there, instead, so that’s what I’ve done!
We are about 90 miles from Rutland, so we’ll probably be there in 7-8 days – maybe sooner, considering we are entering territory that is much flatter than what we’ve done so far. 400 miles down, 1800 to go!

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