Monday, September 11, 2006


Hikers Welcome Hostel, Glencliff NH
Mile 1774

There are no mountains I've ever seen that rear up quite like the Whites. Four thousand feet straight up from the valley floor of a thousand feet, an uninterrupted run in four trail miles. A day in the Whites will see the typical through-hiker gain more than ten thousand feet of altitude. Everest veterans have quit in the middle of the Whites. Needless to say, mileages in this area are not great, with 10-16 miles per day being the maximum for most people.

But the sheer beauty. The tops of the highest mountains of this range are lifeless as the surface of the moon, then you plunge through krummholtz to spruce forest and then to a northern deciduous forest. And back again. I think I'm going to like it here.

I do not know how long it will take me to get through the Whites. If we get bad weather, I could be stuck at an AMC hut for days (which is OK, as they are well-provisioned). On the other side, if I get good weather, the Whites could be done in ten to twelve days. Currently the weather is good, but a little chilly. Chilly is good. Chilly means you walk a lot faster. Walking faster means you get to the next hut faster, and in the hut there is coffee.

Regardless, it looks more and more likely that I will flip up to Katahdin from somewhere in Maine, so that I do not face a closure of the mountain before I finish. As an added benefit, flipping allows me to say goodbye to all the people I have hiked with (as well as allowing me more solitude towards the end of this trip, which is something I need).

For the rest of today, all I have to do is eat, wash, wash, wash, and call home. And eat a few more times. Life can be so simple sometimes.

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