What is this blog about?

My name is Lori. In August, 2014, I plan to hike the Camino de Santiago trail. Feel free to join me on my adventure by following me on this blog.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Me, Sparky, Longstride, and Silvergirl finished the White Mountains yesterday. We feel very accomplished, but a bit beat up. Today we are taking a zero at the White Mountain Lodge & Hostel. It's a great place to celebrate not getting killed in the Whites!
For many thru hikers, the Whites becomes their favorite section. The views are spectacular, and the feeling of accomplishment is great when you succeed getting through each tough climb. We had awesome weather for this entire section, which is almost unheard of. I can't imaging doing some of those climbs in inclement weather. I loved the views, but this was definitely not a favorite section for me. Some of the days were confidence builders, but some were true confidence breakers. I knew it was going to be tough, but I had no idea just how dangerous it would be. Our mileage was cut in half and our exhaustion doubled. 

All four of us stayed at the Lake of the clouds hut, as there weren't other camping options, other than hiking out of our way off trail to get to. This hut is the highest in elevation, and just over a mile before the summit of Mt. Washington. Longstride and Silvergirl got the last two work-for-stay slots, and Sparky and I payed $10 to stay in the "dungeon". This is an emergency shelter that is always open due to dangerous weather conditions at any given time. People who get stuck on the mountain can go there for shelter. It is a rock building with an iron door, connected to the huts basement. It was musty down there and smelled bad. I got permission to just sleep inside the hut on the floor. I was afraid whatever the smell was in there would be bad for my asthma. All other hikers followed suit, except for Sparky. He stayed in the dungeon alone, by choice, and the hut floor was littered by hikers by 9:30pm. 
The next morning, we made it to the summit of Mt. Washington by 8 am. It was a little windy, and 40°. Pretty much the best weather this peak ever gets. 

We were on a ridge above tree line most of this day. Our final hurdle of the day was Mt. Madison. I hiked with a woman in the Shenendoahs who broke her foot on this mountain, and it ended her thru hike. I thought of "talks A lot" quite a bit on this day. We had lunch at the Madison Hut, then started up Madison. 

The climb up was only 0.5 miles up from the ridge line we were on. The climb down the other side was 3 miles and 3000 feet of steep boulders. The mountain is like a huge pile of rocks, nothing else. The rocks are large enough the make each step down tough. It took 3.5 hours to do the last 3 miles. Everyone was in a lot of pain by the end. We made it to a crowded campsite where we all crammed onto one tent platform. 

It was a cozy night. We had contemplated taking a short day the next day, and decided we would get off trail for lunch, and then hike on. Our friend Squatch met us after hiking five miles the next day to Pinkham Notch. We visited Wing Wing (who Sparky and I stayed with a few nights prior) She works at the Pinkham visitor center.  She offered up her home again, and I told her we had decided to hike on. On the way to lunch with Squatch, everyone decided to nix the plan to move on, and take Wing Wing up on her offer. We were still so tired from the previous day. 
We had another great night at Zig Zag and Wing Wings home! I am so lucky to have made such great friends! We had good food, laughs, and enjoyed watching Squatch's film he made on the AT last year. It gave us the boost in morale we all needed at this time. 
We felt much better the next day and climbed the wildcats and finished the Presidential range. 
We only had 8 miles to hike to Gorham yesterday, so we took our time. It was nice to have the anxiety of the Whites off our shoulders, and just enjoy the last day through them. On the peak of Mt Moriah, we could actually see Maine! We had lunch at the last shelter in the whites, the Rattle River Shelter. There was a nice swimming hole where we all soaked our feet and knees in the cold water. This will always be a great memory. 

The hostel was a short, nice hike past the shelter, and is right on the trail. Everyone is catching up on their journal, eating real food, and enjoying a comfy bed. Next up: Maine!

Miles hiked: 1885.9
Miles to go: 298.3


  1. Lori,
    We met you & Sparky coming off of South Twin, we walked together for a while and chatted. It was nice meeting you folks and as you can see, we have found your blog. Nice to hear you survived the Whites; the weather has been extraordinary. Too bad that the LOC experience puts such a damper on the Southern Presidentials. I haven't been on Madison, but you have surely created an ugly picture in my mind with 3 hours for the last 3-1/2 mi.
    We just came off of Moriah ourselves on the Rattle River Trail. It is pretty sweet on that last stretch through the area with the shelter along the river. I hope that you guys really get to enjoy the Mahoosucs, it is a favorite area of mine which I have yet to fully explore. Did you find the old plane wreck just off the summit of Mt Success? I guess that I will have to stay tuned to see where you next come off the trail; Bethel? Andover? or as far as Rangely?

    Lost Dad & Son

  2. Rock on Lori! I am so proud of you!

  3. Sounds like you have crossed another HUGE challenge off your list! You are in the home stretch now! Keep up the good (really, amazing!) work!