We’re here in Gorham taking our second zero day (sort of). We stealth camped near the White Mountain Lodge and Hostel last night, and came in this morning. We ate a HUGE lunch at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, then restocked and resupplied at Walmart. We crossed into New Hampshire yesterday morning, finishing our first state! At this hostel, we’re sitting at mile marker 298.3. Only 1900 miles to go!
This hostel is amazing. It’s amazingly clean, and the lodgings/land is extremely well kept. There are a bunch of people here: Booker and his sister (who is going to hike the Whites with us), Magic, Web MD, Banner and I, Robin, a few new SOBOs I hadn’t met yet, and some northbounders as well.
I’ve started taking videos during some interesting events – a sort of video blog, if you will – and those videos end up in the “Pictures” album/link in the left sidebar. Check it out!
Spaulding Mountain Lean-To
This day wasn’t particularly hard, but it took a long time. The trail was consistently rocky and steep, and we just took our time getting to the shelter. We met a woman named Lambchop – who had an Aussie accent but said she was from Arizona – and slept at the shelter with a man named Asa, who we met in Stratton. He’s 70 years old, and is hiking the trail as the start of his retirement. We’re planning on a short day tomorrow, so we’re probably just going to sleep in.
Poplar Ridge Lean-To
What an easy day. Even with a mountain or two, we had no problem with the day. We didn’t leave the shelter until 10am, and then got to the lean-to at 3:40pm. Easy days like this are great for morale! Banner and I just ate and talked and enjoyed the weather for the rest of the day.
Fun day, even though we climbed a *lot* of steep mountains. We went through the Saddlebacks, a range of mountains where the ridgeline is mostly rock and grass, which makes it much easier than the typical rocky-and-rooty Maine uphills. We took a few videos of this day, because it was so fun. We hitched a ride into Rangeley with a nice fisherman. At the grocery store, a woman who thru-hiked in 2014 stopped us and asked us if we needed a ride back to the trail. Her name is Sunsplash, and we got a picture with her at the trailhead! Then, while we were eating a very delicious dinner of store-bought sandwiches and snacks, two ladies who were taking pictures of the AT sign in the parking lot stopped and asked us if we were thru-hiking. When we said that we were, they asked us all about it and gave us some of their food (greek yogurt and other stuff). We ate it right away.
Right before we got to the road to Rangeley, we heard a very loud sound coming from the bushes to our right – it sounded like an animal was barreling right toward us. Banner and I both reared back in an attempt to get ready to defend ourselves.. and then a grouse (chicken-like blue bird) comes out of the woods. Once it sees that we aren’t scared of it, it begins to run away. We were embarrassed that we were scared, but we learned something new: grouse are dumb.
Bemis Mountain Lean-To
We hiked and hiked today. About halfway through the day, we were caught by two faster SOBOs: Monk, and Megan, a couple from Canada. Monk has done the PCT and the CDT, two other long (2000+ mile) trails in America, so finishing the AT will earn him his “triple crown.” When we stopped for lunch at a lean-to, we found Weirdo, Magic, and Web MD there eating lunch as well. We had been trying to catch up with them since Monson! When we got to the lean-to that night, we packed in 9 people (into a 8-person shelter). People just kept showing up, SOBOs and NOBOs alike. There were even 6 people camped outside of the shelter as well! Tonight was the first night since Monson that we slept and fully interacted with others in the shelter.
Hall Mountain Lean-To
I don’t quite remember what we did this day, but it must have been hard. Here’s what I wrote in my journal, word for word:
“Today was rough. Slight rain, really hard terrain. Muddy, rocky. Long, long up and downhills. So much ups and downs. Calves hurt.”
Frye’s Notch Lean-To
We woke up early with the new crew (Weirdo, Magic, Web MD, Banner and I) to get into Andover early enough for breakfast and a resupply. Such a good idea: any breakfast would have been good for hikers, but this diner did it *right.* It was so delicious. Today, we discovered that Weirdo’s nickname had come before the trail, so I started calling him Booker (because he goes fast when in the front, and he books/plans the mileage and whatnot). After the resupply, the Trio (Booker, Web MD, and Magic) went ahead 3.5 miles because they heard that it was supposed to rain the next day and wanted to get some hard miles done. Banner and I stayed behind. The shelter filled up quickly, and others had to camp outside. At this point, Robin has started to tag along in our group of 5 to make it a group of 6. There is a video of us sitting in the shelter this evening!
Bald Pate Mountain Lean-To
We made it the 3.5 miles to the shelter that the Trio stayed at, but it wasn’t easy. The “monsoon” that we had been hearing about was no joke: we had to climb and descend Bald Pate Mountain, a mountain whose sides are pure rock slabs at 30 to 45 degree angles, in the pouring rain and sideways wind. Sheets of water flow down the rocks and make it extremely treacherous to continue. Slipping and falling happens often, and the wind and water in combination with the temperature chill you to your bones. Once in the shelter (discovering the Trio sleeping soundly), Banner, Robin, and I decide to attempt to wait out the storm while the Trio presses on. We made a good decision: the rain only gets worse throughout the day. There’s a video of the pouring rain from the shelter! To catch up with the Trio, we’ll have to do a lot of miles tomorrow.
Carlo Col Shelter
We did a lot of miles today, and all of them were tough. We went through the Mahoosuc arm (an extremely steep downhill) and the Mahoosuc notch (called “the hardest mile on the AT”). The notch itself wasn’t too hard, just time consuming: it takes most people about 2 hours, but it only took Banner and I a little less than an hour. There are a bunch of videos in the Notch in the album. The arm, though, was extremely dangerous – super steep, super slippery. Falling during some of these parts meant falling for a ways. We met up with the Trio at a shelter about 14 miles into our day, and hiked the last four miles with them. It wasn’t easy, but it was better having people to hike with. The shelter that we arrived at had 4 walls and a door cut out of it, with 2 floors inside the shelter! Good thing, too, because we ended up meeting some NOBOs that were staying there (total count of people: Myself, Banner, Booker, Web MD, Magic, Tiger Beetle, Robin, Crumbs, Bruin).
Long day, trudging up and down many mountains. We made it all the way to the hostel today, but in efforts to save money we found a campsite (stealth campsite) not too far from the hostel and slept there. Banner caught a ride into town, first, though, and grabbed some McDonalds for us. It was so good. They gypped him, though: they only gave him half of the food that he ordered. Luckily, another person from the hostel (“Guardian of the Vortex”) was headed into town, and took him along so he could get the extra food. Tomorrow we hike like .2 miles and stay the rest of the day at the hostel!
White Mountains Lodge and Hostel; Gorham, NH
.2 miles (basically Zero)
Today we woke up lazily, got into the hostel lazily, and then got rides into town for a delicious Chinese buffet. I ate so much that it literally hurt to stand up, and I wasn’t quite sure that I was going to be okay. Then we resupplied at Walmart, and now we are just hanging out, resting, and watching movies. Tomorrow we slack-pack the Wildcats: we will leave our real packs at the hostel, and hike 21 hard miles with small daypacks. Then we’ll arrive back at the hostel and sleep there again, rest for the first half of that day, and do 5 miles to the next shelter. In short: we’ll be “in Gorham” for 3 days, but while we are there we will do 26 miles AND have a zero and a nero! What a wonderful stay in a wonderful place.
The next PO box is Warren, NH! Address is as follows:
PO BOX 03279
Don’t forget to write “hold for AT thru-hiker” on the box!
Look for a bunch of pictures and videos in the link on the left! We’re having a great time!
I got all the packages that were sent to me – thanks so much! I have *so much* food, now – it’ll take me quite a while to get through it all. I might even have enough to make it to Warren without resupplying! We shall see! I have WiFi here and can receive emails and intermittent text messages!