Day 26: Gorham to Imp Campsite, 8 miles
Despite the weather, I still headed out to beat the rain. I quickly made it to the Rattle River shelter and decided to push on. It was calling for storms and was starting to rain. I passed many NoBo hikers headed for town and told them about the Chinese Buffet.
I made it to the Imp campsite around noon and at that point, it had stopped raining. The same caretaker, Tigger, had switched to Imp because he is the Eastern Rotator, which allows him to work at three different locations in the area. It was nice to see a friendly face, especially because no one else had showed up due to the forecast weather. I also discovered I had lost one of my Crocs during the day. I messaged some hikers behind me in hopes they would find it for me when they got back on the trail.
Day 27: Imp Campsite to Rattle River Hostel, 13.7 miles
I got a late start to the morning hoping the fog would clear up. I was headed for the Carters and they were quite the climb up and down. My legs seemed to become sore from all the pushing myself up and stepping up over large boulders.
Coming down Carter Dome and seeing the Carter Notch Hut was a welcomed sight. It was my first Hut and was a little unsure about how things worked like water, food, bathroom, and did I need to bring my own toilet paper. The answer to that question is no. I had a quick snack and replenished on water and headed to tackle the Wildcats. The Wildcats were tough and the climb down into Pinkham was hard on the knees. I had wanted to push further to Osgood but my body was fighting me. I didn’t want to stealth alone and was just pissed at the climb down. I called Rattle River to see if they had availability and I could catch their 5 o’clock shuttle. I had an hour and 15 minutes to get down a steep climb. When I reached level ground, I thought I had nearly made it but I still had another mile to go and about 20 minutes to meet my ride. I started to run with my pack on and just made it to the lodge in time for the shuttle, feeling relieved to shower and sleep in a bed again.
Rattle River was a different experience. I was happy to have made it back in town and see all my trail friends that are 20 miles away now. You have to shower before you can enter the hostel and there is a mudroom for your pack. It was a much-needed rest.
Day 28: Pinkham Notch to Lake of the Clouds Hut, 14.9 miles
I left for the trail in an annoyed state because someone tried to tell me I was attempting too many miles in the Whites.
The climb to Osgood was not bad, it was what came after it that was hard. The steep climb up Mt. Madison was having me feel a certain way until I got above treeline and I got my first views of the surrounding mountains. I climbed up and over several little peaks before reaching Madison and then it was a steep rocky climb down to the hut. I had a cinnamon cake and lunch. I also asked the workers their opinion about the chance of rain showers. They said if they were me they would push on.
Mt. Washington was interesting. You could hear and smell the trolley way before you could see due to the cloud coverage. Reaching the summit by setting little mile timelines I was disappointed there was a line to wait for a summit picture.
I raced down to the hut to see if I could do work for stay and thankfully they said yes! I ran into Pinecone, who I met in Andover, and we checked out the Dungeon. It smelled a little odd and had a chill to it.
The only bad thing about work for stay was that you had to wait until the Croo got to eat after the guests, so we didn’t get to eat till around 8-8:30. After we ate and hung out with the Croo, we had to do our work, which was organizing the game bin, books, and washing dishes. We also had to wait for lights out at 9:30 to be able to go to bed.
Day 29: Lake of the Clouds Hut to Ethan Pond, 14 miles
I woke up around 4:55 and fell back asleep until 5:30 and was woken from my dream from the sound of air releasing from an air mattress. I tuned in closer and heard lots of other packing up noises. I sat up and got to work. The hut itself was surrounded by clouds.
I was able to pack up and get myself ready to go around 7. I spoke to some of the guests about the journey. I was going to hike out with Pinecone and her friend Produce Princess. We left and started walking in the clouds and I could barely see the next cairn. I quickly pulled ahead and did not see them again.
On my journey to the Mizpah Hut, I found an abandoned sneaker. I thought I’d return the favor of losing my Croc by helping this guy out. I carried the shoe in my hand by the laces for 1.5 miles. My Croc had journeyed from Imp to the Nauman tent site thanks to the caretaker, so I was happy to be able to get it back.
Approaching the hut, I saw Wild Card and Coulter were inside. I thought they were way ahead of me and I’d never see them again. I handed over the shoe to the Hut girls and grabbed some leftover oatmeal. Then I headed next door to the Nauman tentsite to grab my shoe, which was sitting on the porch. I hung out for a bit and then decided to push on.
I thoroughly enjoyed my walk and the views. I talked to some Sobo hikers and I also fell a couple of times. When I start to get tired my body lets me know by rolling my ankles and falling. I didn’t get hurt though but a few new bruises. I lazily walked into the campsite ready for a rest. Wild Card and Coulter were here. I also met some new SoBos, Gretchen and Fruitboot. Gretchen offered to help me figure out a way home. I also talked to two super nice NOBOs, Papa John and Boots. It was nice to be in the company of so many people.
Day 30: Ethan Pond to Garfield Ridge Campsite, 14.5 miles
I started to pack up and realized I didn’t know where my Garmin was. I packed up everything and it was nowhere to be found. I knew I sent my waypoint to my dad and remember leaving it in my Croc and heading down to the pond for water. I nearly cried telling and asking people where it could be. I searched through my pack and it was all the way at the bottom. I felt so relieved.
I set off for the Zealand Hut for some extra breakfast. It was delicious and I got to hang out with some fellow hikers. I even got to see my first bear of this trip digging in the compost pile.
The rest of the day was mild in terrain compared to how it has been. My legs finally felt like they could handle the climbs. I got to the Galehead Hut for a late lunch and their potato dill soup and a baked good. I hung out for about an hour as FruitBoot and McDouble07, another guy from the group, walked in.
I left to do the final 2.7 to Garfield Ridge, which wasn’t a bad walk at all. The camping area was packed due to a large group. I enjoyed their community-style cooking area because it brings people together. I sat and got to know Fruitboot and McDouble07 better and discovered they have a tramily of 6. One of their tramily members has their parents following them in their RV and picks up other hikers for resupply. They said I could hitch a ride back into town with them. More Swedish fish and some ice cream woo! Hoping for a restful night sleeping in the shelter.