Now the game begins

Hikers Welcome Hostel, Glencliff, NH, AT NOBO mile 1,786.6, Sunday June 15, 2014 — The dull gray morning mist finally dissolved as the sun stripped away the fog by late afternoon.

The joy of this metamorphosis overwhelmed my soul as I stumbled down the lower shoulder of the mountain on my way to the Hikers Welcome hostel.

Dear sun, It’s been awhile. Thought you might have been a goner. Glad you’re still with us.

Still, the clouds swirled to frame spectacular scenery from the summit of Mt. Cube. Otherwise, there’s just dull green.

Tomorrow this hike gets really real, if it can be put that way. Moosilauke is the first territorial defense the White Mountains mount against intruders from the south. Mordor lies somewhere beyond.

The south side of the mountain is unspectacular. The north side is a hand-over-hand rock scramble up a waterfall. Terrible? Nope. We’re gonna slack pack the whole ten miles and 4,800 ft. That means a light load and a whole lot more agility than normal.

We’ll also reverse course hiking from north to south meaning we get to climb the gawd awful rocks rather than descend. Up is always easier and less hazardous, believe me.

Best of all, the weather forecast is severe clear. (Sunny for Nonaviators.)

Hikers Welcome is a pretty basic facility staffed by some very helpful and friendly folks including a young woman trail named Nectar who I met on my third day hiking in Shenandoah Park, and again in the Smokies. She hails from New Mexico, so imagine my surprise finding her here.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventure. Same time. Same station.






Not a stream. This is the trail!


Free Ice cream!

Hexacuba Shelter, NH, AT NOBO mile 1,771.8, Saturday June 14, 2014 — Hexa who? what? Simple.

The Hexacuba Shelter is a hexagonal shaped shelter located on Mt. Cube. That’s the story.

This shelter features told to me years ago by Bob Schwarz and Bert Porter told me about hiking in the White Mountains. The place is unique, and it’s special to be here.

The day started with a treat. Bill Ackerly, who lives trailside, has been befriending passing hikers for decades. Like the cookie lady, Bill has an affinity for the dirty, tired itinerants drifting past his door.

The lucky ones are invited to a game of croquet. Warning: Bill is good and has home court advantage.

Tomorrow it’s a short hike to a small hostel. The following day the serious challenges begin starting with 4,802 ft. Mt. Moosilauke. Not a hike. It’s a climb.

The genius trail designers have been helping us practice. The photo is Warren testing the rebar ladder.

Note: I’ve refrained from scatalogical and privy humor so far. The privy at Trapper John left no choice. .





Aquatic Event

Trapper John Shelter, NH, AT NOBO mile 1759.7, Friday June 13, 2014 — “Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.” I could hear the coxswain in my head calling the cadence as I slopped my way through the second half of the day.

Larry dropped us off at the trailhead at precisely 8:30 am. and we started our climb out of Hanover. The first half of the day was pleasantly cool and dry. The other half was the opposite.

Just past noon the sky opened up, and as one would expect, the trail became a water course. I landed on my backside four times in the mud. The hiking was head down and pump it out. Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.

One pleasant surprise. The mountain on which this shelter is built is shaped in the trail guide like a witch’s hat. That usually means talus or ugly rock slides. There’s even a warning in the guide suggesting precipitous terrain in the area.

Well Friday the thirteenth must be a lucky day. Not only did the rain stop, the whole mountain was dirt! Whoopee.

For some time, we’ve been walking past the infrastructure used to harvest Maple sap from which syrup is made. Thought you’d like to see what that’s all about.

Trapper John was a real person, a doctor from Maine after whom the character in “MASH” was named. He was a prominent member of the Dartmouth Outing Club. The fireplace in front of the shelter is from a cabin formerly located there.





Up, up and away

The Dumont’s, Grantham, NH, Friday June 13, 2014 — It’s Friday the 13th with rain in the forecast all day. A lucky day and time for some hiking.

Our wonderful stay with my cousin Debbi and her husband Larry must end before we eat them out of house and home! They’ve been so gracious it’s hard to leave. Last night we joked of hiking in a circle just so we could return. Thanks guys. You’re the best!

We used our time for R&R, that is resupply and reconnaissance. The resupply part is obvious. Nothing new.

For our reconnaissance mission, I rented a car again from Enterprise. We drove northward to peek at the trail, view the mountains from the opposite end of the telescope (bottom of the hill) and check out a couple of the hostels.

We also arranged to slack the “Wildcats” while we were in Gorham. All of this will become clear as it unfolds over time, so stay tuned.


Breaking News: Liebster Award Nomination

Write in Front of Me

liebster-award-main1Thanks first of all to Rockin’ for this unexpected and humbling honor!  Rockin’ has, I believe, the most cutting edge, practical blog out there when it comes to backpacking and the outdoors.  Jam packed with incredible photography and blog entries that take you out of your day-to-day and to wherever she is in the wild, “Lady On A Rock” is a unique, informative, beautiful blog.  Gear reviews are not merely interesting here; they are practical  reports which allow the reader to evaluate whether the same gear would work for them.  Reports from the field on her journeys bring fun and excitement to life.  You really feel like you’re hiking right alongside her and it’s a refreshing read.  There are very few writers whose posts I really look forward to reading, and this is one!

In keeping with the rules…

#1 –  My answers to Rockin’s questions.

Favorite outdoor guidebook?


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The Penultimate State

Hanover, NH, AT NOBO mile 1742.6, Tuesday June 10, 2014 — Only one more state after New Hampshire. Progress? You bet.

I wish I’d known it was commencement weekend. Expectations of a slumbering college town awaiting next September turned into the reality of a quaint New England town chockablock with newly minted masters and mistresses of the universe, hovered over by doting parents proud of their trophy children. They jammed the streets, restaurants and Starbucks.

What’s a hiker to do?

Crashing this party were two hikers definitely in need of a town stop. Judging from the down-nosed glances from the folks uniformed in pink pollo shirts, puddy-colored walking shorts and shod in docksiders, they wished we were people more like them.

We stashed our gear at the Dartmouth Outing Club to avoid schlepping it around all day, and to make ourselves a bit more presentable.

In the end, both we and the other people survived the encounter. In fact, Swayed and I were in gelato heaven having discovered an ice cream parlor on our way to the local (fashion) outfitter.

The outfitter sells North Face to students. Full stop. End of story. We were as out of place in there as we might have been at a country club.

When we arrived the recommended restaurant, guess what? It was closed – on a day when hot and cold customers were lined up around the corner. Stuff being closed has been the backstory of this hike. I just thought luck would change after Memorial Day. Note the fresh shirt.

At the end of the day my cousin and her husband snatched us to the friendly confines of their lovely home and a dinner, following shower, at a nearby restaurant. Thanks cuz!



New WordPress App

Please accept my apology. Since it’s last update, the app has acted strangely. The last post self-published without contents – all of which have been lost. I will attempt to recreate it when I can.

High Octane Hiking

Winturri Shelter, Vt. AT NOBO mile 1,716.9, Saturday June 7, 2014 — I’ve been eating everything in sight.

Thursday night at Pico Camp, I ate two entrées for dinner plus a couple of chocolate bars. Yesterday, I ate a Reuben sandwich for lunch at noon, a bowl of thick beef stew for late lunch at 1:30 pm. Those two were followed by two more meals, ending with shepherds pie with a pint of Guinness around 7 o’clock.

The breakfast I scarfed down this morning would have embarrassed Paul Bunyan. We’re talking high calorie, high octane hiker fuel here.

I’m burning calories at a huge rate. The constant ups and downs just add to the demand. Without high calorie intake, I’d be out of gas in no time.

I’m attaching photos of various feed bags I’ve observed lately.

Yesterday we ate lunch at the Yellow Deli. This place is like a movie set for the early 1970s. The throw-back decor fit the psychedelic decade like a tight penny. It reminded me of a place in Aspen my wife and I used to frequent in that same decade. The affiliated hostel is noted for its fundamentalist Christian proselytizing.

Today’s hike diverted to the east from the Long Trail at Maine Junction. We could sense the drop in attention to the trail immediately. We plan to be out of Vermont early Monday morning.