Days 19 – 25 Southbound: On to New Hampshire

Orignally posted on allwomenalltrails.com; you can find the link here

Day 19: Hiker Hut to Sabbath Pond Lean-To, 9.4 miles

The Hiker Hut shuttles me into town one more time until 10:15 where I had coffee and downloaded some podcasts. My stomach was pretty full from eating breakfast and leftovers.

 

It wasn’t until about 12 that I set foot towards the trail. My pack was at an all-time heaviness, like 100 Mile Wilderness heavy. I had a resupply box sent to me with probably too much food for the amount of distance to the next trail town but refused to give anything up. The worst part was I was so full from breakfast I barely ate lunch. I’m hoping this food will allow me to get to Gorham, NH in about 5 days.

Nothing too interesting to report on the trail. There wasn’t anything super excited to see today except we did stop at a pond that had beat up canoes. By we, I mean the boys: Charlie, Top, and Spice. Top was the only one brave enough to go out as water leaked from the floor in the spot it was duct-taped. We all decided to call it an early night in hopes of tackling some big miles tomorrow.

Day 20: Sabbath Pond Lean-To to South Arm Rd, 17 miles

An eventful day led to a surprising ending. I ended up hanging around South Arm Road because the boys wanted to hitch into town. We got a hitch in the back of a truck bed and headed for the Little Red Hen, where you can camp for free. We walked into a Mexican Buffet and made friends with a bunch of SoBo hikers and Nobo hikers: Turtle, Pinecone, Uncle Sauce, Cranberry, Wet Foot, Hercules, and Aquaman.

Day 21: Zero at the Little Red Hen turned into Nearo back on the trail, 4.1 miles to Hall Mountain Lean-To

I got breakfast at Little Red Hen and hung around again until it was time to eat again. I didn’t sleep well from the rain hitting my tent. I stared at my phone and watched some videos on YouTube, and took a nap. I felt like I was wasting away.

Around 3:30 another hiker told me she was headed back on trail at 4:30 to hike to the nearest lean-to. I had wanted to go with her, so I packed up my tent, said goodbye to my zero, and goodbye to the boys, and headed for the trail.

Within thirty minutes of getting dropped off, it started to rain. I immediately started to regret my decision because I thought the storm was well past us. The trail was hard. No matter how much rest or food I ate, it was still hard. Why wasn’t it getting any easier? I nearly wanted to cry and give up. The steep climb in rain was rough but the slippery downward hike was even harder. Then I had to climb up to Hall Mountain Lean-To and that didn’t seem to end. I finally reached the shelter.

With relief, the other hiker I started with had caught up and she was feeling the exact same way. I’m glad it wasn’t just me. I usually have a hard time adjusting back to the trail after spending time in town. There’s definitely something comforting about being in a town.

Day 22: Hall Mountain Lean-To to Baldpate Lean-To, 14 miles

I started the day off in a funk. I quickly snapped out of it once I put on some music. I also ran into some other hikers that cheered me up. I had made it to Frye Shelter a little before 12 to have lunch and dry out my shoes and socks. I was excited to climb Baldpate and felt like it had been a while since I had gotten a really good view and it did not disappoint. I climbed down to the lean-to around 3pm and was going to push on 7 more miles but had decided it wasn’t worth it. I’d get to a Gorham in the same amount of days regardless of pushing myself.

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A French Canadian group was already at the lean-to as I set up my stuff. As I was hanging up by the shelter, Bard, a SoBo hiker from Maine, joined me. It was nice chatting with someone new that I knew wasn’t going to disappear so quickly. I’m still hopeful Chips, the girl I hiked out with last night, will catch up. This was the shelter we had intended on meeting at. I also hoped the boys would catch up too but they might only be 3.5 miles away at the last shelter. Chips did make it in. It also rained and leaked slightly into my tent for the second time.

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Day 23: Baldpate Lean-To to Full Goose Lean-To, 14 miles

I was woken to some of the young girls singing around 5:20. I was able to fall back asleep for a little and was packed up 20 before 7. The latest I had left besides a town. Bard was awake and started to pack up. Chips was still sleeping, so I took off for the trail. I was able to get to the Grafton Notch parking lot in no time. I started the slow ascent towards Old Speck. It was a long climb with no view from the top.

Once I reached the summit, I was met with wind and a slick, slippery slope. I made it down to Speck Campsite for a break and water. I ran into some day hikers with their dogs and the caretaker came out from his yurt. I had mentioned my plan to hike through the Mahoosuc Notch. I also mentioned I was a little sad to hike it alone because I wanted someone to take good photos. He offered to come with me! We had a great time climbing down the arm and notch. Once we made it through, he had thanked me for letting him tag along and escaping doing paperwork. I returned the favor and realized I needed to hike with someone like he needed to have a fun afternoon off.

 

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Once I departed and he headed back in the notch to walk back to the campsite, my legs ached. I hobbled the 1.5 miles to the Full Goose Lean-To and was greeted by some familiar faces: Cranberry, Uncle Sauce, Wet Foot, and her dog, Arry. I had met them at the Little Red Hen and decided to camp for the night. A little bit later Bard and Chips walked up and had done the notch together and also decided to hike on to the next shelter.

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Tigger, the caretaker who came through the notch with me

Day 24: Full Goose Lean-To to Trident Col Campsite, 14.5 miles

I woke up at a decent hour not wanting to get up. I didn’t sleep well because I had unknowingly consumed some caffeine that was leftover from a Mio drink I had earlier. I forced myself out of my nice, warm sleeping bag because I was going to be entering New Hampshire, baby!

I headed off for the day solo. Chanting “New Hampshire, New Hampshire” as I left the others. The colder temperatures kept the cloud coverage lingering until the sun could fully come out. I had no view but only clouds when I crossed through the Mahoosuc Range, which was tough but fun that included technical climbs with scrambles, boards, ladders, and iron rungs.

Wet Foot and Arry had caught up and were leap frogging me at this point. We ended up hiking the rest of the day together, which was nice to have company and it be another female hiker! It was great to have someone take a photo of me when I crossed into New Hampshire. We headed for the Gentian Shelter for lunch, which seemed to take forever to get to. It was a beautiful area once we got there and we were definitely happy to reach camp a few hours later. I can’t believe I walked 282 miles to get there!

Day 24: Full Goose Lean-To to Trident Col Campsite, 14.5 miles

We woke up at 5am to hike and booked it to town to stay at the Barn. A quaint little place that has a big, open room with lots of twin beds. We ate at the Chinese Buffet, which was a must, Mr. Pizza, and ice cream. It was a great town stay and now for the Whites!

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