Mount Washington

Beaker Over Mount Washington

7/21/17 Destination: The Barn Hostel, Gorham, NH   15.0 miles today

Beaker in fog at Mt Washington

Climbing Mt. Washington in the fog

The thru hikers were up and out of the dining room by 6:30 AM when the paying guests were awakened by the croo at he Lakes of the Clouds Hut. Beaker waited until breakfast was completed and then ate the leftovers. He purposely did not get started hiking until 9:30 in hopes that the mist would burn off the summit of Mt. Washington. Unsuccessful, he climbed the 1.5 miles to the summit in a heavy fog. When he reached the summit, he was assaulted by many tourists arriving in cars, buses, and the cog railroad. He didn’t hang around long at the summit. “Of course, as soon as I left the summit, the fog dissipated and left the summit in full sun.”   

Beaker arrived at the Madison Spring Hut around 2:00 PM and had soup and baked goods for lunch again. Then he climbed to the summit of Mt. Madison – another incredibly steep climb up a boulder field. Finally, after the summit of Mt. Madison, he began to descend – a drop of 3000 ft over the next seven miles. Eventually, he reached Pinkham Notch a little after 7:00 PM , totally spent. He called and booked a bunk in the Barn Hostel in Gorham. There, he was amazed to reconnect with Antman (hadn’t seen him since Franklin, NC), Ramsey Bolton, Hummingbird (hadn’t seen him since Partnership Shelter in Southern Virginia); and got a text from Sitting Bull and Hoops who were just a few hours behind him and were planning to hike to Pinkham Notch yet that evening. Unfortunately, he’s pretty much given up on catching 1st Sgt before Katahdin.

7/22/17 Destination: Imp Campsite, NH   13.4 miles today


Carter Notch Hut from Wildcat Peak A

Beaker was back on the trail at 8 am,  with only a 13.4-mile hike planned to the Imp Campsite; but, it was going to be a tough 13 miles! He had to cross the four Wildcat peaks and Carter Mountain range and it involved a lot of climbing. A LOT of climbing. The mountains were so steep that Beaker collapsed his hiking poles and put them in his pack so that he had his hands free for climbing. Today’s path didn’t go above treeline. The weather was somewhat cloudy; but, no rain. The trail descended off the last Wildcat peak down to the Carter Notch Hut 1200 ft below and then climbed 1500 ft straight back up. Beaker was able to take a break at the hut and have his last lunch of soup and baked goods before leaving the Whites. He struggled up and over Carter Dome, down through Zeta Pass and back up and over South, Middle, and North Carter Mountains.

Beaker in Kilt Above Tree line

Beaker above tree line in his kilt

Then came the descent off North Carter. It was the steepest descent Beaker experienced yet on the trail. There were vertical sections where he had to sit down and slide – not so easy, especially since he hikes in a kilt! “It’s the first time I’ve felt skittish  hiking. I’m glad I wasn’t doing it in the rain.”

He eventually made it to Imp Campsite – pretty full of hikers. He heard from Sitting Bull and  Hoops who stealth camped on the approach trail to the shelter. He will pass them on his way out of camp in the morning.

Carter Notch Photo from
Categories: Appalachian Trail, Beaker, Lakes of the Clouds Hut, Mount Katahdin, Mount Madison, Mount Washington, Thru-Hike, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beaker Hiking the Whites

Beaker the chemist from West Virginia continues his NOBO hike of the Appalachian Trail.

7/18/17 – Destination: Galehead Hut 14.1 miles today

Beaker, Above Tree LineBeaker woke up this morning at The Notch Hostel in North Woodstock, New Hampshire with 373 miles of trail before reaching Mount Katahdin. It was a beautiful day on the trail. Sitting Bull and Hoops had to wait for packages at the post office, so Beaker left on the 7:45 AM shuttle to the trailhead. It took him two hours to climb the 2.3 miles to Franconia Ridge. As he neared the top of the ridge, the trees began to thin out. He finally broke out of the tree line for the first time to a spectacular vista. “The ridge stretched out in front of me, with the AT running along the spine. It was rugged and beautiful. The White Mountains are the toughest hiking we’ve done on the trail; but, the views are spectacular.”


Galehead Hut

Beaker had hopes of staying in the Huts along the trail in the White Mountains. The huts are manned by “croos” of college age kids. They also allow a couple of thru hikers to “work for stay” every night. In exchange for cabin chores, thru hikers get to eat leftover food and are allowed to sleep on the floor. There is a bit of an art to getting chosen for work for stay. If you arrive too early in the day, they send you on your way. If you arrive too late, they’ve already filled the spots. Beaker arrived too late at the Galehead Hut. The head of the croo did tell him about a nice stealth spot nearby. Beaker joined six others in their tents.  

7/19/17 Destination: Crawford Notch Campground, NH  14.6 today

Another beautiful day. Beaker was up and hiking by 7:30. His hike began with a near vertical climb to the summit of South Twin Mountain but he was rewarded with one of the most incredible views in the Whites. “In all directions, all I could see was row upon row of mountains. Mount Washington…was especially prominent on the horizon.

Around noon, Beaker arrived at Zealand Falls Hut and stopped in for a bowl of soup and some baked goods. The rest of the afternoon was spent on a painful descent each step pounding on his sore knees into Crawford Notch. Beaker realized that he was extremely tired, even though he had only hiked 14.6 miles. Mileage drastically slows down in the Whites.

He arrived with Jailbird, another graybeard hiker that Beaker has been hiking around with the past couple of days. They found out that the whole area was part of a state park and camping was forbidden. They were able to hitch a ride to a nearby campground. Discovering the camp had single room cabins, they chose actual beds, electricity, and a roof.  

7/20/17 Destination: Lakes of the Clouds Hut, NH     11.1 miles today

Beaker.Lakes of the Clouds

Lakes of the Clouds Hut

Jailbird and Beaker awoke at 5:00 and were ready to leave by 6 am.  The problem was that they were 3.3 miles from the trailhead and on a country road. The owner of the campground came out and said he’d run them up to the trailhead. They were on the trail by 7:00 and started climbing immediately. It was a typical White Mountain climb – long and steep, with several portions of hand over hand climbing. At least, the weather was beautiful and the views were incredible.

Beaker reached the Mitzpah Spring Hut around 11 am and bought lunch. The next goal was the summit of Mt Pierce. The trees dropped away just before the summit and exposed the stark beauty of the alpine environment.  Beaker arrived at the Lakes of the Clouds Hut at 2 pm. It is located about 1.5 miles and 1200 ft below the summit of Mt. Washington. But it is another 7 miles to Madison Hut and there was nowhere to camp in between. Beaker decided to stay and inquired about work for stay; The woman at the desk said that he could pay $10 and sleep on the floor of the dining room. So, that’s what he did.

Photo Galehead:
Other Photos from Beaker’s blog:




Categories: Appalachian Trail, Beaker, Galehead Hut, Lakes of the Clouds Hut, Mount Washington, The Whites, Thru-Hike, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Scarfoot – So Close!

Scarfot's Office Space

Scarfot’s Office Space

Scarfoot is a thru-hiker that does not provide his real name in his journal, but his real life before the trail was based in Boston, Massachusetts, where he worked at an investment firm. He decided to exchange his cubical for the canopy of the Appalachian Trail. This choice was not an impulsive decision, but rather one of advanced planning and preparation.

Scarfoot began by losing 50 pounds and addressing several other physical challenges. The Bostonian found himself with major allergies: tree, grass and weed pollen, mold, dust mites, dog and cat – pretty hard to avoid such things on the trail while occasionally staying in hostels/cheap hotels. He also discovered that he was allergic to bees and wasps. So Scarfoot found some allergy treatments – four shots at a time. Scarfoot also struggled with planter fasciitis causing severe heal pain and making hiking very difficult. He attempted to counter this challenge with custom orthotics and Strassburg socks (a sock designed to be worn at night that keeps the plantar fascia in a stretched position, helping to increase flexibility in the morning).

[Just a quick aside – according to the Mayo Clinic, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your very first steps in the morning. Once your foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases. It is particularly common in runners, people who are overweight, and those who wear shoes with inadequate support. ]

Scarfoot was also concerned about some emotional issues. He suffered from panic attacks and found that sleeping alone in the woods and major heights caused times of intense angst. This is quite a challenge for those considering a thru-hike of the AT. He purchased custom-fitted ear plugs for sleeping. In addition, Scarfoot is married to Ellie who expressed concern with his adventure. Although supportive of her husband, she worried for his safety. So, Scarfoot took a wilderness first-aid course and purchased SPOT, a Satellite GPS Messenger, used by many hikers to reach emergency responders, check-in with family or friends, share GPS coordinates and track the route of the adventure – all at the push of a button and at the cost of about $150.

Atop Mount Madison

Atop Mount Madison

Scarfoot researched trail gear for three years and was attracted to the ultralight approach to long- distance hiking. He organized and reorganized his summer pack until he reached a backpack weight of only 10 pounds (My pack weight varied but I think my lightest burden was 25 pounds).

Hikes of preparation were also part of Scarfoot’s three-year training program. Year one included a four-day hike in Massachusetts; year two embraced a ten-day hike from the Hudson River, New York to the Massachusetts Turnpike just above Upper Goose Pond (about 145 miles); and during year he three logged a 135-mile, 7-day hike through most of Vermont.

Scarfoot was ready. His last day at work April 6th and he was on the trail on April 10. He hiked the 8.8 mile approach trail from Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia on April 9th and began his actual AT miles from Springer Mountain on Sunday the 10th. All the training and preparation enable Scarfoot to make very good time hiking though the Appalachian Trail.

Then came this surprising post on Day 140 of his adventure, August 27th,

“Well this is it. No summit photo. No finish…. The trail becomes very technical with big boulders above tree line. Very dangerous and not what I signed up for. One more mile of very nasty trail remained then the ‘tablelands’. In the meantime it follows a ridge with shear drops behind and both sides in places. I could do it physically but would have hated every moment of it. I got what I wanted out of this. I was in it for the hike and that last 2.3 miles was mountain climbing to me not hiking. At the hostel met a woman who broke 4 ribs yesterday on Baxter. Seams I made the right choice at least for me.”

With 2.3 miles left to complete the journey, Scarfoot turns around. Over half way up Mount Katahdin, his hike was over. I continue to look for another post that shares a successful return and climb to the brown sign, but nothing appears.

scarfootI personally found the climb out of Palmerton, Pennsylvania a much more technical climb than Katahdin and yet Scarfoot journals (on June 6, 2016), “Rocks getting worse and lasting longer between breaks. Got stuck in the middle of a 40 person Korean hiking club on the rockiest toughest climb yet over the superfund site. Real rock scramble.”

I also wondered what his experience was over the Whites and into the first 100 miles of Maine. I wondered how he responded over Mount Washington, another nice climb on the trail. He simply mentions on August 3, “Was warm, sunny and practically no wind so fantastic weather.” Two days later (August 5), he climbs Mount Madison and descends into Pinkham Notch. His comments: Tough day for 13 miles. Two 2000 foot climbs plus the smaller ones. Very steep. The last down was incredible. Easily the hardest steepest down so far.

I also checked his journal on August 8th, the day he reached Mahoosuc Notch (one of the most difficult miles on the trail). He had completed the Notch and the major climb up Mahoosuc Arm by noon. The notch only took Scarfoot 1 hour and 45 minutes to navigate, compared to my 3 hours and 20 minutes. He noted, “The arm was very steep. Took 9 hours to do 12 miles today.”

I feel so badly for Scarfoot. He was so close and he conquered so much. He made the decision that he felt best and I admire him for his convictions. May he realize that he is indeed a thru-hiker. The sign is not the goal – the journey is the reward. He shared that he walked away from the trail with what he wanted – the true meaning of Hike Your Own Hike (HYOH).

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Mahoosuc Notch, Massachusetts, Mount Katahdin, Mount Madison, Mount Washington, Scarfoot, The Whites, Thru-Hike, Uncategorized, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Update on the 2016 Thru-Hikers

Wow, how the start of a new school year takes time. I have been so focused on the start of school with teacher orientation, student schedules, and administrative details that my blog had to take second place for a bit.

Let me catch you up on some of the thru-hikers still active on the Appalachian Trail. Fat Hen and Rooster Talon are in Vermont; Dulcigal has flip flopped and has just completed the White Mountains in New Hampshire; and Big Cypress (of the Two Peas) is back on the trail with his youngest son at his side and Moonbeam providing trail support.

fat hen in Vermont Cabin

Fat Hen and Rooster Talon

Fat Hen and Rooster Talon – Dan and Beckie reported in on August 22 from the Yellow Deli Hostel in Rutland, Vermont. They posted on their 5 month anniversary on the trail. Beckie’s parents met them on the trail for a gear exchange, sending home the summer gear and loading up for the colder weather in the Whites and the wilderness of Maine. Cold weather gear adds weight to the pack but it is imperative for a comfortable hike through the northern states. In addition to the needed gear, they enjoyed some good food, a Chinese buffet, a gift of banana bread and chocolate cookies from home. They were headed out in high spirits to enter New Hampshire and the challenges of the White Mountains, including ever changing weather atop Mount Washington. Today on the summit of Mount Washington – 52 degrees, 30 mph winds, fog with 100% humidity, visibility 1/16 of a mile.

Dulci on Mt Washingtom

Dulci on Mt Washingtom

Dulcigal – Karla decided to flip flop her thru-hike attempt. She left Delaware Water Gap, a small community located on the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey on August 11. She took a bus ride to New York City and then transferred buses for a five hour ride to New Hampshire. Her last post, August 27, finds her almost completing the White Mountains and looking forward to the grand state of Maine. She experienced the thrill and the adversity of the Whites. Here is a portion of her August 25th journal,

“I started off from Crawford Notch getting into Webster Cliffs and Mt. Webster. It was a beautiful morning with some winds but nothing serious. As I was climbing, the weather began to turn for the worse. When I reached the cliffs, I was faced with 70+ mph winds, dark clouds, and rain. The wind was blowing me into the mountain and not off the mountain, which was good! I was having to stay low to the trail to keep from being blown away. I was not properly dressed either. My hands and body were frozen. I finally made it down the mountain to the Mizpah Hut. The caregiver was kind enough to allow me to stay there for the night as a work-for-stay…I was very thankful to be inside out of the cold and wind! I found out after getting there that I somehow missed the “memo” about a storm coming through the area. I wondered why I didn’t see many hikers that day.”

Moonbeam and Big Cypress

Moonbeam and Big Cypress

Big Cypress – The Two Peas (Big Cypress and Moonbeam) began their thru-hike on February 14. Unfortunately, on June 27 Moonbeam experienced a serious fall resulting in a broken femur. They had just entered the state of Vermont when the accident occurred. Moonbeam had to be air lifted to a hospital in Albany, New York and surgery was performed to correct the severe break. After these many weeks off, Big Cypress has decided to complete the hike. On August 26, he arrived back on the trail with his youngest son, Shawn. Moonbeam will be providing trail support as her boys make their way north toward Katahdin. I am so glad to see the return of the Two Peas in just a slightly different pod. I will keep your posted as the hike continues.

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Dulcigal, Fat Hen, Hiking, Maine, Mount Washington, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rooster Talon, The Whites, Thru-Hike, Two Peas, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

January on Mount Washington

HikeItForward-Final-MediumJanuary is over and for the east coast it was filled with cold temperatures and several inches of White Christmas weather. I have grown over the years to tire of winter weather very quickly. After a day of frolicking in the snow and freezing my nose together with every breath, I am ready for spring and the flowers that reflect the renewal of the warmer season.

I have the responsibility in my school system to call off school due to inclement weather and during January my school in Ohio cancelled school twice and operated on a two-hour delay schedule on two additional dates. The wind-chill factor on those days was well below zero. For the protection of the students that have to stand at a bus stop and for teens driving in the darkness of early morning, the hours allow the sun to wake up and provide better visibility and a rise in temperature.

20140826-115040.jpgWhen I step outside and get blasted by a shot of arctic air, my mind almost always runs to Mount Washington and the weather that confronts the Whites in New Hampshire on a daily basis. When I climbed Mount Washington during my thru-hike in 2014 it was a beautiful day with blue skies dotted with white cumulus clouds. The temperature that August 26th day was a low of 49 degrees and a high of 61. The cool breeze that day was only 23 mph with gusts up to 41. I really enjoyed the climb, the view, and the weather.

January is a little different on the summit. The average high this January was 15 degrees and the average low was 0.8 degrees above zero. The hottest day on top of Mount Washington was 35 degrees but the low was a chilly -22 degrees (no wind-chill factor considered). The average wind speed during the month was 44.5 mph and the fastest recorded wind was 127 mph. This makes Ohio seem pretty mild. The total snow and ice for the month was 40.6 inches!

If you think this sounds brutal, the January of 2015 was even more severe: the average high was 11.2 degrees with the hottest day rising to 39 degrees; the average low temperature for the month was -8.9 degrees with the coldest day plummeting to -34 degrees; there was 63 inches of snow and ice; the  wind speed averaged 49.1 mph and the fastest day hit 129 mph.

888Okay, that’s two pretty cold winters in a row. I went back seven years and came to the conclusion that Mount Washington is a place of consistently cold January’s. Over the past seven years (2010 – 2016) the average high temperature was 13.8 degrees; the average low temperature was -2.7 with an average snow and ice fall of 38.9 inches. The wind is always brisk on the summit with the average wind speed during the month of January of 44.8 mph and the fastest day of wind speed averaging 122 mph.

Climbing up the south side of the mountain from the Lake of the Clouds there is a big yellow sign that tries to communicate the sobriety of the dangers ahead. The sign reads, “Stop. The area ahead has the worst weather in America. Many have died there from exposure, even in the summer. Turn back now if the weather is bad.” If the weather is favorable or if you ignore the sign and arrive at the 897summit another sign posted on the side of the weather station states, “The highest wind ever observed by man was recorded here. From 1932 to 1937 the Mt. Washington Observatory was operated in the summit stage office then occupying this site. In a great storm April 12, 1934 the crews instruments measured a wind velocity of 231 miles per hour.”

The next time the temperatures begin to drop or the cold wind stings your face, count your blessings that your house was not built on top of Mount Washington!

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Mount Washington, New Hampshire, The Whites, Thru-Hike | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Quick Post – Check out USA Today!

My picture made it into today’s copy of USA Today!! Check out this link and scroll to the fourth picture!! My photo of RaceWalker and I on top of Mount Washington, NH. I have never been in a national publication before. I am pretty excited.


Categories: Appalachian Trail, Mount Washington, Thru-Hike | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

Cold on the Trail

HikeItForward-Final-MediumIt was a rather cold morning for a hike today. Actually a walk in the cold is not bad (unless the north wind blows in your face and makes your nostrils stick together), but stopping can be really uncomfortable. As long as I am dressed properly, my body generates plenty of warmth while I’m moving. In fact, most of the time I am sweating down my back because of the heat that’s caught by the backpack. But once I stop, take off my pack, and grab something to eat, the cold air begins to do a number on my perspiration. The reality of the outside temperature and the wind chill begins to communicate with the central nervous system sending unkind and frosty messages to my brain.

With the prediction of cold temperatures and even snow on Tuesday, I am glad that I am not hiking the Appalachian Trail today. Springer Mountain and Blood Mountain, GA (mile 30) both predicted lows of 30, 18, 28 degrees during the next three nights. I will gladly wait another 33 days before beginning my trek.

I checked just a few spots along the early part of the trail: I am rather amazed at how similar the temperature are across the board and how close they are to Ohio’s predictions : Springboro – 27, 16, 30 degrees for the next three nights.

Franklin, NC (mile 110) – temperatures on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – 36, 18, 25 degrees

Hot Springs, NC (273 miles from Springer) – temperatures on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – 30, 21, 28 degrees

Erwin, TN (mile 345) – temperatures on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – 32, 19, 27 degrees

Damascus VA (470 miles from the southern terminus) – temperatures on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – 27, 12, 19 degrees.

The lows for the next three nights at Harpers Ferry (mile marker 1,016 – the traditional half-way point), WV look like 23, 21, and 19 degrees.

Twin Creek SnowAll of these spots are showing snow on Tuesday… this could be quite an adventure in a tent!

But take courage – this afternoon on Mount Washington the temperature was -7.2°F, the wind was blowing at 54 mph taking the wind chill to -42.2°F. And Mount Katahdin, ME will drop to 3, 16, & 16 degrees the next three days with white stuff on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

There are lots of thru-hikers on the trail today. Please remember them as you crawl under your warm blankets this week. If it snows on Tuesday say a prayer for the brave adventurers called thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail. If you want a couple of names to remember, Sarah (trail name “Ent”) – she started on March 16th and is really struggling to continue. Ent is from new England and I “met” Sarah on her blog – – I really hope she can make it; and Steve from Kentucky (trail name HifiGuy) – I am not sure when he leaves but it’s one day this week. Steve is a friend of my son who lives in GA.

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Backpack, Damascus, Georgia, Harpers Ferry, Hiking, Hot Springs, Local Hikes, Mount Katahdin, Mount Washington, North Carolina, Springer Mountain, Thru-Hike, Trail, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

Row, Row, Row My Boat

HikeItForward-Final-MediumI am in the mindset of an athlete training for the “Games.” I hadn’t been on my rowing machine for many months because I was hiking every chance I could and thought that the exercise of the hills was keeping me in shape. Anyway, I jumped on the rowing machine a couple of days ago and was shocked at how quickly I was out of breath and how fast my heart was beating when I hit 1000 meters. From there, I jumped on the bathroom scales and was aghast at the final number looking at me in face. The reality hit me full bore – I was out of shape with only 7 weeks remaining before attempting the biggest physical challenge of my life. Healthy diet and physical exercise…. here I come.

Rowing MachineI was able to hike to work and back today – the temperatures were great and the air felt good on my face. My BuilderBar lunch provided that needed power for the afternoon meetings and the hike home. The morning commute was cool yet peaceful – it was dark but the car traffic was minimal; the 5:00 pm trek was very windy but close to 60 degrees. The wind was stiff and challenged me to fight in a balance tug-of-war. As I walked toward home I could not help but think of the positive impact of the strong breeze on the muddy conditions of the trails at the MetroParks. While winning in the struggle against Mr. North Wind to make forward progress, I wondered what it will be like on top of Mount Washington. Today (Monday) the wind speed is only 30.8 mph taking the temperature of 10.4 degrees F to a wind-chill of -12 degrees F. I am loving the spring feeling of Ohio.

I hope to pick up some hiking shoes at REI this evening before I go for my boat ride (rowing machine style). I am heading out as soon as I post this blog. I am determined to try on shoes until the store closes or I find a comfortable fit that might just last 2200 miles.

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Mount Washington, REI, Rowing Machine, Thru-Hike, Trail | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Huts in New Hampshire Part 2

HikeItForward-Final-MediumToday’s blog completes the look at the huts in New Hampshire. Although I do not plan to sleep at the huts ($124 per night), they sure will be great stopping places and landmarks along the way. The last blog took a look at the first three huts: Lonesome Lake Hut, Greenleaf Hut and Galehead Hut. Let’s continue our virtual hike in the mountains of NH.

Zealand Falls Hut

Zealand Falls Hut

The Zealand Falls Hut (NOBO mile 1832) is the fourth hut in the system over the Whites. This hut can accommodate 36 people in two coed bunkrooms.  It was completed in 1932 along with Galehead Hut and like the Lonesome Lake Hut, it is popular as a “family” hut due to its low altitude and relatively easy approach climb. It also has the lowest sleeping capacity of all the huts (36), but it is located in Zealand Notch at an elevation of only 2,700 feet.

Mizpah Hut

Mizpah Hut

Mizpah Springs Hut (15 miles north of Zealand Falls Hut) is the newest hut in the system (built in 1964). Materials were brought in by helicopter for its construction and the building was designed to withstand 200 mph winds. It sits on Mount Pierce at 3,800 feet and can facilitate 60 people in coed bunkrooms making it the second largest hut in the system.

Lake of the Clouds

Lake of the Clouds

The highest, largest, and most popular hut in the system is Lakes of the Clouds Hut (mile 1851). It started as a shelter constructed in 1901 in response to the deaths of two hikers caught in a storm on their way to the top of Mount Washington. Fourteen years later it was rebuilt as a hut, and has since been renovated at least five times – the latest in 2005. The hut is the largest of the chain providing bunks for 96 guests. Because of its size and popularity, it is also known as “Lakes of the Crowds” and is nestled in the southern shoulder of Mount Washington at 5,050 feet.

Madison Springs

Madison Springs

Madison Spring Hut, the seventh in the chain, is not only the oldest hut in the series and the oldest hut ion the Appalachian Trail but the oldest hut in the United States  built in 1888. The original hut was expanded many times, however, in 1940, a fire destroyed much of the hut. The following year it was rebuilt and re-opened. The hut was extensively rehabilitated in the fall of 2010 and early 2011. It is the second highest hut in the chain (4800 ft), and sleeps the third highest number of guests (52) in two large coed bunkrooms. It is generally considered the most difficult of the full-service huts to access, based on distance and elevation required to reach it. It is located in the col (or pass) between Mount Madison and Mount Adams. In the photo it is Mount Adams that looms above the hut.

Carter Hut

Carter Notch Hut

The last hut along this trek in the Appalachian Trail is Carter Notch Hut (mile 1873). It was established in 1904 as a simple log cabin; the building was rebuilt as a hut in 1914, making the current hut the oldest building in the hut chain. There are two small ponds located nearby, as well as a tremendous boulder field. Both are results of an 1869 landslide that ravaged nearby Carter Dome’s north slopes. It stands at an elevation of 3,288 feet and can accommodate 40 people in two bunkhouses.

Photo Zealand Falls:

Photo Mizpah:

Photo Lake of the Clouds:

Photo Madison Springs:

Photo Carter Notch:

Resources for information:


Categories: Appalachian Trail, Backpack, Hiking, Mount Washington, New Hampshire, Shelter, The Whites, Thru-Hike, Trail | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

AT in New Hampshire – The “Whites”


The highlight of the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire is the ruggedly beautiful White Mountains. The panoramic scenery is so breathtaking that it attracts more backcountry visitors than any other part of the Trail. The steep ascents and descents often require the use of the hiker’s hands and, occasionally, the seat of the adventurer’s pants.

Much of this section of the AT is above timberline, where the temperature may change very suddenly; snow is possible in any season. Snow falls on Mt. Washington during every month of the year – high winds and dense fog are common. The White Mountains section of the AT stretches 117 miles from Glencliff, NH (just south of Jeffers Brook Shelter) to the Maine-New Hampshire state line.

Mt Mousilauke -4802 ft.

Mt Mousilauke -4802 ft.

Just to give you a quick idea of the mountains that must be crossed a list might be impressive: Mt Mousilauke (NOBO mile 1792),  Mt Wolf, South Kinsman and then North Kinsman a mile and a half later,  Mt Lincoln and Mt Lafayette, Mt Garfield, the summit of  South Twin, Mt Guyot,  Mt Zealand, Whitewall Mountain, Mt Webster, Mt Jackosn, Mt Pierce, Mt Eisenhower, Mt Franklin,  Mount Monroe, Mt. Washington, Mt Jefferson, Mt Adams, Mt Madison, North Carter Mountain, and Mt Moriah (NOBO mile 1881). That’s 23 mountains in 89 miles…that’s a lot of ups and downs (MUDs and PUDs)…that’s a lot of challenge…that’s a lot of climbing….I am so excited – bring it on! I count at least 11 Presidents I have to walk over and 3 other great patriots (Lafayette, Webster, Franklin).

Mt Moriah - 4049 ft.

Mt Moriah – 4049 ft.

The last mountain in the Whites is Mount Moriah. This is so appropriate. After I have hiked over 22 mountains I will come to a biblical reminder. The first 22 will only be possible because of a faithful God giving me the strength I need to summit these challenges. Mount Moriah will be a place of thankfulness and rejoicing for His provision. It was at Mount Moriah in the Old Testament that God provided Abraham with a ram to sacrifice in place of his son, Isaac. It was on Mount Moriah that Solomon built the Temple, the meeting place between man and God. I know it is not the same Mount Moriah, but the symbolism will be significant for me and I hope that my worship of the Provider will be sweet on the top of Mount Moriah.

Photo of Mt Mousilauke:

Photo of Mt Moriah:

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Backpack, Hiking, Mount Washington, Mt Moriah, Mt. Mousilauke, New Hampshire, The Whites, Thru-Hike, Trail | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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