The White Mountains National Forest is the what the AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club, or more familiarly known to thru-hikers as the Appalachian Money Club) call the most accessible mountains in eastern America. On the trail, it’s known to Northbounders as their first formidable challenge since the Smokies and for Southbounders, it symbolizes our passage from the sharp ups and downs of Maine and New Hampshire into the gently loping beauty of Vermont.
The Presidential Range is the pride and joy of the Whites featuring Mount Madison, Mount Adams, Mount Jefferson, and Mount Washington, just to name the first 4 we went over on the Presidential Ridge. This ridge is over ten miles of alpine hiking, above tree line, generally above 4,000 ft. Mount Washington stands at a staggering 6,000+ ft with an observation tower and a cog railroad system for tourists.
Which brings us to another wonderful AT tradition: Mooning the Cog.
I did it. Two nights later at the shelter with a bunch of other guys we’ve been hiking off and on with, nobody else had!
I reserve bragging rights, but for the sake of my mom and dad, I won’t post the picture 😛
Anyway, the views on the Ridge are breath-taking.
The stacks of rocks are called “cairns”. They serve as trail markers when white blazes aren’t possible. The entire ridge is a pile of rocks like this that you climb over. The actual trail can be difficult to discern, so you follow the bigger piles of rocks. However, the trail crews got creative with the white blazes from time to time.
Because of the extended period of time hikers spend on the ridge line where camping is forbidden (and frankly impossible), the AMC has a system of huts spaced throughout the trail. For $125 per person, you can stay in a bunk with a thin excuse for a mattress and receive breakfast, dinner, and potable water (but not a shower!). It’s fairly clear where this “nonprofit organization” got its nickname. We did not deign to stay in these money pits. But we did hit them up around 9 o’clock in the morning when possible for the extra pancakes they give out to thru-hikers for free!
The most popular place in the Whites is Franconia Ridge. The north end of the ridge begins with Mount Lafayette with Mount Lincoln on the other side. It’s lousy with tourists, but you can see why.
Mount Moosilauke is the southern most mountain in the Whites National Forest on the AT, located just east of Lincoln, New Hampshire. It also happens to be the 2nd steepest climb in the entire National Forest (second only to a trail that goes up Mount Washington). But a marvelous cascading waterfall helps take your mind off the burn.
We got into Hanover, NH on Sunday morning (7/19/15) to meet Zach’s mom and his Aunt Jenkie (spelling?) and to absolutely demolish the brunch buffet at Everything But Anchovies restaurant. Today we are heading out on the trail, which actually goes directly through the town. Zach’s mom will be hiking with us for 4 days until Killington, VT.
The trail crosses the New Hampshire border in Hanover, which means….
TWO STATES DOWN!
Gotta get hiking, more details to come later.