Day 121 12.8 Miles
Started the day off with a little bit of downhill away from my stealth campsite for the night along Beckett Brook. We missed the Omelet Man close to Port Moonshine Rd. The Omelet has been making hikers omelets since May and I believe he took the day off for his son or something. Oh well, he still left us bananas hanging in the tree. Didn’t go far today so I took my time and I also stopped at the Greenhouse Restaurant 0.2W off trail up the road along with Alter Ego and Symba. At first I wasn’t going to spend any money but what the heck I needed the extra calories. It was a really fun time and the bartender/waiter was a big funny dude that told us many jokes as we were eating. Looks like he has seen many hikers in the past. Tough Cookie and Spice Girl joined us a little bit later and joined the conversation. Awesome lunch and well worth the stop. The rest of the miles down into Glencliff, NH were quite easy with one or two small ups and down arriving into the Hikers Welcome Hostel in town. I grabbed an extra long sleeve Patagonia capilene shirt for the mountains ahead to keep as warm as possible, restocked a few ounces of alcohol for my stove, and then walked the extra mile into Jeffers Brooks Shelter for the night. Lots of Nobos camping for the night in anticipation of climbing Mt Moosilauke tomorrow. The climb is from 1300′ up to 4802′ in 4.6 miles. Hope it goes smoothly and the views are beautiful since it is solar eclipse day as well.
Day 120 15.3 Miles
Today marks 4 months of being on the trail! What a doozy of a day too. Lots of hard climbing. The terrain is getting ALOT harder and rockier in most places closer to the summit and I haven’t even reached the Whites yet. The first climb today was up to Smarts mountain where there is a lookout and a cabin ontop. The climb was steep toward the top with some rebar in sections and exposed crystalline granite faces similar to New York. When I got to the top I had some lunch then descended down into South Jacobs Creek for climb number two for the day…Mt Cube. I was thinking pretty hard on stopping short of the summit at Hexacube Shelter but I was ready to just get past this mountain. The climb wasn’t as bad as Smarts Mtn. When I got to the top of Mt Cube I was met by a group of Harvard soon to be freshman group of about 10 out for a college orientation. I feel kind of sad for the leaders of the group. Talked to the leaders for a bit then proceeded to descend off the mountain into a Bracket Brook where I found a stealth campsite 250 yards downstream. Threw down the pack and called it a night. Only going to push about 12 miles tomorrow into Glencliff, NH to stay at the Hiker Welcome Hostel. The topo profile doesn’t look as grueling. Then I look at the topo profile for Whites and think holy crap. Hopefully it won’t be too bad. The anticipation is killing me.
Day 119 16.7 Miles
Rain for most of the day. Oh joy. Norm dropped me off near the Greens around 7 and then I walked to Lous Bakery again for some breakfast. I didn’t say this in the last day but thanks Norm for taking me in for two nights and for the wonderful hospitality. I will have to pay it forward in the future.
After Lous I hit the trail in the rain. I’m still asking myself why I didn’t just wait it out for a bit in town. Got to the first shelter from Hanover, Velvet Rocks and saw Symba and Alter Ego two of my good friends on the trail. We conversed for about an hour until the rain let up and then kept walking north. I felt pretty strong after taking a zero. The rain kept coming down after climbing Moose Mountain and even up and over Holts Ledge (talkikg about a precipitous dropoff). Arrived to Trapper Johns Shelter for the night and ran into Spice Girl and Tough Cookie who I hadn’t seen since before Benington, VT. It was good to see them again and they seemed to be in good spirits. Made a jambalaya type dinner for the night then tried to burrow down into my sleeping bag to get dry. Hope the weather clears up tomorrow. Today’s weather will definitely cool things off in the Whites before I arrive.
Day 117 and 118 Nero to Zero
It absolutely poured last night as I was staying in the backyard of a trail angel. My tent leaked in a few spots but it wasn’t to bad. Slept in fairly late which felt wonderful and got some trail magic as soon as I left. Got into Hanover, NH around mid afternoon and tried to scope out what to do in this college (Dartmouth) town since I had several hours to kill before my fiend picked me up. I headed down to Lou’s Bakery to pick up my free donut and then headed down Main Street to pick up my free slice of pizza from the local pizzeria. Why can’t every town do this?! Ended up walking back up to “The Greens” where I sat and chilled for some time before getting hungry again. I walked back to the pizzeria and some more food with Timeless and others. Most of the thru hikers I’d been hiking in the past couple days were all there. After the pizza I walked down back to the bridge that I crossed earlier to wait for Norm at the college swimming hole on the Connecticut River. He finally arrived around 5 and drove an hour back to his house in Danville which is in northeast VT. We had spaghetti for dinner and caught up on life and the trail since I hadn’t seen him for several years. Called the night pretty earlier on a nice comfy bed. Ahhh I don’t have to hike tomorrow.
Didn’t really wake up until around 10 or so. Norm had to telework until 4 so I helped myself to breakfast, dried out my tent and clothes, and watched a little bit of TV. I haven’t missed much there. I can’t believe people watch this stuff for hours. Eventually Norms daughter Melanie and her friend Laura showed up. We chatted for several minutes until I went back to take a nap. I was feeling quite tired, plus that’s what zeroes are for. After the nap we all headed to the grocery store for my resupply and to also grab dinner for the night. We ended up making a delicious dinner of marinated chicken, mashed potatoes, steamed zucchini, and a salad. Best home cooked meal I’ve had in months. Thank you guys for making such an awesome dinner and I also enjoyed taking part in the cooking. After dinner I packed my backpack for tomorrow and then called it a night early. Have an early morning tomorrow.
Day 116 20.6 Miles
Wow, told myself I was never going to do another 20 miler after the last one but because of no water at the proposed shelter I was going to stay at last night I had to push an extra 3.3 Miles just before dark to Elm Street right before Norwich, VT. My feet were aching after this one. The beginning of the day consisted of many ups and downs kind of like parts of Connecticut after leaving the Red Barn in Woodstock, VT. Thanks Daniel for letting me stay there, you are the man. Saw a pretty good size SoBo bubble before getting to my lunch spot at Thistle Hill Shelter. Timeless and Alter Ego joined for a little bit while I was eating my PB tortilla wrap, which is the usual these days. Crossed into West Hartford, VT where there was only a few houses, a blue barn, another emporium where hikers can stay, and a major bridge where hikers and others jump off into the River below. I kept pushing on to Happy Hill Shelter but there was no water and had to keep going. Luckily after I got on to Elm Street I called the first person on the trail angel list and she allowed me to plant my tent down after I watered her tomato plants. After that I totally crashed. Looking forward to the nero and Zero coming up in the next couple of days in Hanover, NH!
Day 115 14 Miles
Started late and took my time and it was nice. Caught up with Alter Ego at the lookout and had lunch along with Timeless as well. The views were stunning and the weather was perfect. I stayed around for a couple hours and met some locals and petted their dog. The last few miles were quite gentle getting down into the turn off for Woodstock, VT. Walked an extra 0.5 mile downhill to get water at Winturi Shelter. When I got to Woodstock me and Alter Ego walked over to the Edge Farm and split a blueberry crisp pie with a huge carton of chocolate milk for about $10. The blueberry Pie was made earlier in the day and the blueberries were grown from the farm close to the store. It was such a tasteful treat at the end of the day. After gorging ourselves with pie and milk Timeless, Alter Ego, and I headed down the street to stay at Daniels place which is in a loft of an old red barn. It beats having to find a stealth campsite just before dark plus there was a shower and running water from a well. Wonder how many hikers in the past have stayed here. Pretty cool spot that is not even in the AWOL Guidebook.
Day 114 10 Miles
Did not really get good sound sleep last night due to the Yellow Deli being located during in front of a club and it was a Saturday night. I heard people yelling, sirens going off and so many other noises throughout the night it was hard to sleep. I missed the peace and quiet of the woods. The folks at the Yellow Deli provided all of the hikers an egg casserole dish for breakfast around 8. During breakfast I heard a thru hiker (didn’t get his name) talk about his FBI days and how the government can track your cell phone and other invasion of privacy topics. It was engaging. After breakfast I grabbed all of my gear and food and headed to take “The Bus” back to the trailhead. I missed it by by a couple minutes so I had to sit in the station for an hour or so. Got back on the trail around 1030 and met Scribbles who I hadn’t seen for some time. Took my time to get to the shelter only 10 miles down the trail. So my plans have changed. I was originally going to get into Hanover, NH in 2.5 days but because I have friend who can only pick me up on Wednesday after work I will be getting there in 3.5 days. So I’ve got all the time in the world. I think this will be good plan before hitting the Whites for my psyche and body. I’m considering even taking a zero in Hanover. The next few days should be fairly easy in mileage.
Day 113 10.3 Miles
Today was a pretty short day hiking over Copper Lodge Shelter Mountain and then down into Rutland, VT. Got a quick hitch from an older gentleman who has been working over in Palestine and Israel trying to help with nonviolent resistance for younger teens. Pretty interesting car ride. Got into Rutland and checked into the Yellow Deli Hostel in downtown area. The place is pretty clean and is kept up pretty nicely for being a donation based Hostel. I walked a block across the street to the Price Chopper to resupply for the next 3 days and even grabbed a huge sandwich in the grocery store and sat for a couple hours, refilling the soda. Came back to the hostel and made some phone calls and just chilled for some time to get off the feet. Got my new shoes today hope they get me to Maine. I also crossed the 1700 mark!
Day 112 21.4 Miles
Didn’t realize I’d gone so far until I did the math later. Reason being now is that I will have an easy day getting into Rutland, VT for a stay at the Hiker Hostel run by the Twelve Tribes. There was a lot more up and down than expected today especially crossing the highway getting into Rutland for the first time. Rock scramble and then straight up climb after that. The terrain is definitely getting harder but it is also getting much more beautiful. I crossed a corner on the trail and then hit a huge section full of spruce trees that smelled heavenly. And it lasted a good while. The deciduous trees are definitely being outcompeted with the confers and I don’t mind. It’s a nice change in scenery after broad leaves for 1600 miles. I stopped several times today to collect water which slowed me down. Didn’t get into the shelter tonight until around 630 which is kind of late for me. Saw an older guy who I hadn’t seen since NC who’s been slackpacking this whole time, i didn’t even care to ask if he still was. I’ve only got one major climb in the morning then it’s all downhill into Rutland. Hoping I get an easy 8 mile hitch into town. Had a new dinner of rice pilaf, tuna, and a packet of mayo (haha) that used 2 oz of my fuel. Didn’t realize until I got into the field that it wasn’t the 5 minute box of rice pilaf. Bummer. If was still alright. Most food out here is delicious when you are hungry. Looking forward to getting a real meal in town too. At the very end of he day I crossed the Katahdin 500 mile mark to go. I felt pretty proud of myself I’d have to say.
Day 111 18.3 Miles
Made an omelet and pancake for breakfast with added bowl of fruit loops cereal. Real food tastes pretty good. Got my gear packed up and ready to go by 830 when the shuttle headed back to the trail. I could have stayed another night at the hostel but Katahdin is calling my name. Speaking of my name. I don’t know if you can do this on the trail but I have changed my trailname. I’m no longer Whippersnapper. Im kind of tired of it and when explained to others it comes across too wimpy. So without further ado my new name is Red Hot. For one I wear a red hot chili pepper bandana, I have red hair, I do sometimes get fiery about certain topics with people on the trail, I move pretty fast on the trail according to some, and it has a much tougher ring to the name. There are my reasons I hope you don’t mind. Red Hot…I like it a lot more.
Today overall wasn’t too bad and I felt very energized after my hostel stay. My right foot wasn’t giving me any issues with the arch support but at the end of the day my feet feel much more tired than usual. I think new pair of shoes will greatly help. Bromely, Peru Peak, and Styles Peak were the names of the major climbs for the day. After lunch it was smooth sailing into a stealth campsite off trail before Little Rock Shelter and Tenting Area. Lots of Nobos on the trail have told me that they are tired on the trail. It has finally set in for some. As for me I’m feeling pretty good with new socks and a new trailname.