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How To Fit 240 Hours Into 10 Days-A Trilogy

Part II
Back to the Whites

While my fellow RumRunner friends returned to their kennels for a well desrved rest Saturday night after the reception, I dragged my tired body (actually drove) across Nova Scotia to pick up my daughter in Wolfville, ferrying her to Halifax--arriving around 11:00pm, already an hour past this old man's bedtime.

My evening was still unfinished, knowing the Dipper would be picking me up Sunday morning at 6:00am for an early departure for the US of A, and some hikeing in the White Mountains, I had to START packing my gear. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

It was well after midnight before I had the required gear and food into my backpack and crawled off to bed. Still fired up from the fun of the day and having an excited anticipation of getting back to Mt. Washington I didn't go to sleep for at least an hour.

Brrrriiiinnnnnggg-For the second morning in a row my brain was rattled with a bell screaming in my ear. This time it was the Dipper on his cell phone in my driveway (6:10am) asking me if I had slept in. I immediately said no, I just had the lights on low and was all ready---then tore around the house to prove I wasn't still asleep.

We were off, coffee at Timmies, breakfast at Sussex, NB, MickieD's, arriving in Gorham, New Hampshire, at 5:00pm.

We found Hiker's Paridise, an old house turned into a Hostel, checked in after being quizzed on 'I bet you can't guess where this picture is taken?' by the owner-proud of his mountain picture in the lobby. Dipper Bruce won the one upmanship by telling him it was in Poland-Gotcha. Talk about ramshackle---broken doors, ripped screens, tippy floor, TV on top of fridge in kitchen. The cutlery included 15 spoons, 2 forks and a couple butter knives. There were many and various plates, none that matched. Lots of pots---all 1 1/2 liters, and a couple teflon frying pans, with no teflon left.


The 5 people staying that night were a mix and match, 2 Bruce's that drove 1,000kms from Canada, a single girl that just flew in from Kanasas to hike mountains, an older man from Honululu (ran 42 marathons in past 15 years), originally from Massachuscists, who flies home each year to watch the leaves change, and an Ivy Leaguer who just came up from New York on his motorcycle to do a bit of touring.

Early Monday morning the two Brucies headed to the Pinkham Notch AMC Hostel at the base of Mt. Washington, spending 1/2 hour looking throught the Boutique, checking maps/weather, etc. The day was not perfect for going onto Washington, looking like it was pretty fogged in at 5,000 feet but we decided to go anyway.

Bruce had never been up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail and we really enjoyed the maendering trail (2,000 feet elevation in 2 miles) up to Hermit Lake, at the base of the Ravine Headwall. (This is where you see the pictures of the spring skiing).

Saw a helicoptor bringing in supplies and taking out garbage--never hovered over 15 seconds.---neat.

Looking up the Headwall the fog (rain?) still hung over the table land at the base of the cone to the summit. Probably would not have been a good day to go to the top if that had been our original plan (already been on top numerous times) as you wouldn't see anything. Having already decided that we wanted to do a loop south over the plateau and down Davis Trail we decided to go. It was, and always will be, a slog up the Headwall, picking up 2,000 feet in a little over a mile. We were in the fog for the entire trip along the plateau, going from cairn to cairn to follow the trail. After we headed down Boot Spur we were out of the pee soup and into the sun again.

Off we go to Franconia and the Pinestead Farm Lodge and proprietor Robert Sherburne where Gonzos have spent many nights over the past 12 years on our many sojourns into the Whites.

Robert was glad to see us and scolded us for not being down lately. Actually probably missed having someone to talk to. Especially mentioned Chris Hollebone?

After a quiet night in the Loon Room, meeting an older (even than me) couple from Vermont who where on their 18th year there, it was early to bed, and early to rise.

Tuesday morning we headed to Lafayette Trailhead to do the best dayhike in the White Mountains--Up Falling waters (3 miles, 3,000 feet) to Mt Haystack, across the Franconia Ridge (well above tree line with sunny views for miles in all directions), clamoring over Mt. Lincoln, to the peak of Lafayette (5, 273 feet), and then straight down to the Greenleaf AMC Hut for a bowl of Tomato Bisque-Yummmm. Down the Bridal Path Trail, back to our car, and back to the Farm for a beef stew. Yummm again. Met about 15 people still in the mountains--nice.

Still the very best hike, good climb, beautifull waterfalls, astoundingviews on the ridge, mile high peak(if you stand on your tippies and reach), chance to stop at a hut, and a nice pedestrian hike out, tough enough but restfull.

Wednesday morning it was good bye to the farm and back to Gorham where we headed north into the woods to do a slackpack hike of the Mahossuc Notch, said to be the toughest mile in the Appalacian Trail.

After a 10 mile dirt drive to a side trail and a 50 minute hike into the Notch, we were off, Dipper carrying about 8 pounds in his small day pack while I had just a bum bag with H2O and rainjacket. Last year we hiked this 1 mile section with full 35 pound packs as part of 3 days on the trail-It took 2 full hours, having to remove packs at times to get over, under, or through the large boulders (size of houses) in the Notch.

The Notch is 1 mile long, and straight up granite face on both sides, about 30 feet wide at the bottom. Over the past million years the rocks have fallen down, filling the bottom with large and small rocks, large holes and fissures. IT IS TOUGH GOING.

Hiking the Notch with basically no gear and sneakers was a hoot. You had to be VERY careful, but it was a ball crawling through the caves, holes, etc.

We met a guy just starting out south on the Appalachian Trail-almost 2,000 miles to go. He will have a hard time-he was at least 50 pounds over weight earning the trail name FatBoySlim (what he is now and what he will be when/if he finishes.) He had way too much gear, and it was packed (or actually not packed) all over the place, stuff hanging everywhere. Hope he doesn't find this section so tough that it breaks him--it is NOT the place to start-- Our guess was he could take up to 4 hours to cover the mile distance at the speed he was making his way through the rocks. He may still be there! We'll never know.

We hopped, skipped, jumped, crawled, climbed, dug, and wormed back to our car, drove the remaining 4 hours to Bangor, a real Motel, 2 innings of the ball game and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Thursday was up late, 6:30am, (Viking would be going crazy), on the I-9, breakfast at BigStop in Calais-new tradition?-cross the border, finnally a Timmies, lunch in Sackville, NB, and home to our kennels around supper time.

Just in time to get gear cleaned and repacked to head to Cape Chignecto the next day.

Pictures to be forthcoming whenever I get them out of the camera.-Wish I had a digital-then again wish I had a GPS-then again wish I wasn't old!



THE Sungod