New Hampshire, The Granite State, has 161 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Most of these miles fall within the White Mountain National Forest. For NOBO thru-hikers like me, NH begins a major challenge that tests one’s endurance beyond mileage and hours: in New Hampshire and continuing into Maine, rugged and steep terrain becomes more intense and true alpine conditions exist on mountain summits and along mountain ridges. The trail travels across 17 of the 48 four-thousand footers of New Hampshire, including 6,288-foot Mount Washington, the highest point on the AT north of Clingmans Dome, Tennessee.
The first 44 miles of the AT in NH does not start out exceptionally difficult. Within a mile of the Vermont/New Hampshire border the thru-hiker will travel through Hanover, NH. Hanover is the home to Dartmouth College and a friendly town to thru-hikers. The trail walks right through Main Street, Hanover and just about every resupply need can be serviced in this community – trail food, gear, medical, dining, laundromat, showers, overnight accommodations and even veterinary services. I plan to stop in Hanover for a major resupply but then hike a few more miles to Velvet Rocks Shelter for the night.
15 miles north of Velvet Rocks Shelter is Trapper John Shelter, named for Trapper John McKintire of M.A.S.H. fame – this fictional character was presented as a Dartmouth alum.
Twelve more miles down the trail, the hiker will come to Hexacuba Shelter, an eight-sided shelter with, appropriately, Penta Privy, a five-sided outhouse – likely the only one on the AT. This shelter and privy are 0.3 miles off the trail itself and my plan right now is not to pitch my tent there, but it might be unique enough for me to take a snack break and visit this unique accommodation.
Coming down from the Hexacuba area there are two possible town trips (neither do I plan to visit unless a need requires) – 5 miles from Hexacuba is Wentworth, NH which is 5 miles east of the AT; and Warren, NH (another 5 miles down the trail from Wentworth) is nestled 4 miles east of the trail. I plan to hike down to Jeffers Brook Shelter (5.5 miles past Wentworth) for the night. This camp is right at the beginning of the “Whites.” More information on the Whites coming up on Hike It Forward.
Hexacuba Shelter http://www.trailjournals.com/photos.cfm?id=195690