July 31, 2010 2:48 am
“I never expected to make friends out here. Thought I’d be alone.” Brookie said earlier to night. I replied with the same “Totally me niether. Thought I’d be alone.” We both reflected on our little crew, Flora, Fauna, Walker and each other. How fond we had all grown of each other in such a short time and well somewhat unexpectedly.
Brookie is done hiking the trail. It was his plan all along to only do Maine through the Whites. He actually finished a few days back. We had been separated since the Presidentials.
I was planning on taking my time getting into Hanover, New Hampshire when I ran into Walker. He told me that Brookie was done hiking, getting ready to make his big move west and was going to stop in Hanover to catch the gang for one last goodbye.
I contemplated my plan for an easy stroll into Hanover vs a 19 mile day followed by a 16 early to try and catch Brookie. I pushed hard and made it. We had laughs and fun, beers and memories.
Brookie said 2 things that will always stick with me. First he said “Chip, there’s something about you that puts people at ease.” Not sure I have ever heard that before, not sure It’s even true but I like it:)
Second Brookie says he was afraid of heights like me. Says he started climbing (cliffs not just hiking) to overcome his fear of heights. He does winter climbing. Ice and serious climbing including Katadihn in winter. My first reaction was a laugh and yeah I’ll NEVER!!! He went on to describe a winter morning climb.
Brookie described getting up before first light, watching the colors of the snow change as the light broke. He described making breakfast atop a snow covered mountain. Watching the light of the sun as it trickled in on the slope. The colors of the snow as they changed from dark hues of purple’s and blues creeping out of the shadows into deep oranges. The oranges grew into bright reds and yellows as the sun rose over the mountain.
I had hardly ever heard such an amazing description and thoughts of overcoming my own fears to experience something so incredible swept over me. We shall see.
Dan is a warm friendly person who makes you smile and laugh. He had challenged me to expand my boundaries and grow as a person and that’s why I am out here.
Here’s to you Dan. I hope your move west is everything you hope for and more. Thank you for your friendship and for your inspiration. I am truly grateful. Enjoy the journey!
July 30, 2010 3:52 am
Location: Mt. Moosilauke White Mountains National Forest
Moosilauke is the last big mountain in the Whites. It was a bit of a tough hike, very steep at times but the weather was great and it was nothing I couldn’t handle at this point in the trip.
The peak was above tree line and very, very windy but absolutely gorgeous. It was well worth the work and made me a little sad to clear such an amazing and incredible section of the trail. I will definitely be back to hike these mountains again!
July 29, 2010 12:55 am
Just before leaving for this hike I wrote in a letter to a friend the following:
“I believe that it is experiences that are among lifes most precious commodities”
I have long believed that the material things we accumulate in life, all of our “things” and “stuff” mean very little.
The time I have spent with friends and family the past few days, the friends I have made and even strangers I have met since beginning this hike I believe more now than ever experiences are truly lifes most precious commodities and I will continue on this journey and in life pursuing those precious commodities I call experiences.
July 29, 2010 12:45 am
Thank you everyone. I have received emails, phone calls, texts and word through the grape vine of your support, following of this journal and encouragement. Your feedback has been incredible!
You are all so great. I am truly lucky to have you in my life. You are all with me every step of the way!!!
July 29, 2010 12:30 am
Had to throw in a photo of me and my baby sister:)
July 29, 2010 12:26 am
My little sister and her now fiancee Brian were in CT for a visit and had planned to catch me somewhere along the trail for a visit.
They met me ay Kinsman’s Notch just the other side of the Kinsmans Mountains at Franconia Notch. New Hampshire. They had a hotel reserved in North Woodstock.
Just after showing up Erin flashed her brand new engagement ring. Apparently Brian had proposed to her the night before at Crawford Notch sitting on a rock in a stream.
I am very happy for them and wish them all the best!
We had lunch and then went back to the hotel to hang out and catch up. We spent the rest of the day and night talking. It was a great time!!!
July 27, 2010 2:24 am
Location: North Woodstock & Lincoln, New Hampshire
Zach & Rene are 2 long time friends of mine I had not seen in almost 10 years. We had been talking about trying to meet up when I passed somewhere near Franconia Notch since long before I started this hike. They had been vacationing in the area for years and knew how beautiful it is.
As I got closer to Franconia Notch we were able to coordinate a day to meet up and they reserved a cabin near the Notch for 2 nights.
They brought along their Sheltie dog Katie whom I got along well with:)
We had such an amazing time hanging out and talking. We talked about everything catching up on old times and new. They provided some intellectually stimulating conversations as well as some great laughs. It was exactly what I needed to keep going on this long journey.
It was so great to see them. I am very thankful they spent the time and money to make this happen. I am very, very lucky to have such incredible friends in my life!!! I have definite plans to come back to this area with them and do some more hiking.
July 25, 2010 5:24 am
Location: Lincoln, New Hampshire
While in Lincoln waiting to meet up with some old friends I decided to catch a movie. Inception looked good and the timing was right. 6$ for a matinee, if only NYC could be so cheap!
I really enjoyed the film. It was much better than Leonardio Decaprio’s last film Shutter Island. It was a beautifuly layered complex mind puzzle. Just the mental food my brain was craving. I am very glad I took the time out to watch it.
July 25, 2010 3:23 am
Location: Lincoln, New Hampshire
I have had little problem hitch hiking into towns from the trail. Many people who live near the trail are hikers themselves or have family and friends who have hiked the trail.
My hitch into Lincoln was an interesting one. The guy who picked me up had several bumper stickers touting gun rights and various other right wing organizations. I can put aside politics and be truly grateful for the favor of a ride so I got in.
The man who stopped to pick me up was wearing a mechanics uniform. He was sipping on a Budwiser and smelled pretty strongly of beer. One first words after his hello were “You know there are a lot of similarities between being a hiker and the shape you have to be in to be a trained and efficient killer out there on the battlefield. To be able to kill you know.” He continued on “You really have to be in great shape to be a good killer”
Now…I’m kinda thinking though that’s not exactly the first thing you come out with when meeting a stranger. I can be a little bit of a ball buster so I think I know when someone is just having fun with me or being honest. I think this guy really enjoyed talking about killing. Needless to say when he pulled over to stop and buy more beer despite my luck with hitching so far I became a little on edge.
I played it cool but thoughts of a Pulp Fiction back basement kind of scene ran through my head. I frantically started looking for details, the make and model of the car I was in, anything I could take note of should I need to make a police report at some time.
He got back and we drove on to the Hiker hostel. Everything went ok and there was nothing to worry about but I still think it was a strange way to start a conversation!
July 24, 2010 3:58 am
Location: Franconia Ridge Franconia Notch State Park White Mountains National Forest
I had heard since I started the trail in Maine how “scary” and “terrifying” the Whites were. Being somewhat afraid of heights and having had the crap scared out of me at Katadihn I was a little more than nervous about the Whites. I had already hiked the biggest mountains Washington and the Presidential range and didn’t find any situation there too scary.
I had guessed everyone must be talking about the upcoming narrow Franconia Ridge. It was the only major section I had left, it must have been the “scary part”
I set out early in the morning hoping to make the cross over the exposed ridge in good weather. I hiked to the top of Garefield Mountain and the view was spectacular. I looked at a ridge across the way and thought to myself “wow the top of that looks thin and scary” not realizing that was the Franconia Ridge I was headed for.
I made my way down Garefield and through some woods. As the trail turned towards the mountains I had seen earlier I put 2 & 2 together and realized that ridge I spotted earlier was Franconia. I pressed on preparing myself for the worst.
As I climbed the first side of the AT leading up to the ridge, the boulders grew large and it was a bit of work but nothing scary. I came up over the top and as I looked at the crossing i thought it didn’t look so scary.
It was incredibly and powerfully beautiful but never scary. Sure it was high but never too thin or to technical. I really, really enjoyed this hike. I’m not sure where the “scary” part of the whites is but this definitely was not it.