Tag Archives: New Hampshire

June 23, Day 15, 21.5 miles, Vermont Appalachian Trail

I got an early start this morning to work my way into Hanover. The rain started around 4 and made it a tough morning to leave the comfort of the shelter despite a leaky roof. But I wanted food and wanted to get a solid mileage in today to back up that I can do the 40 mile days back to back.

In town the gloominess persisted. I went to a diner, Lou’s Restaurant and Bakery, where I had eaten 6 years ago when I came through. I pulled off my poncho to keep from looking too homeless inside and rolled it up and put it in my pack. I was dripping wet, shorts absolutely soaking and shoes squeaking with each step. While I wandered around looking for an outlet to charge my phone another customer asked if she could lend me her towel to dry off. It was very thoughtful of her and I told her thanks but I would just be getting drenched in another hour so I declined the offer. Continue reading June 23, Day 15, 21.5 miles, Vermont Appalachian Trail

Mitzpah Hut, Day 11, 14.8 miles

Last night when I arrived at Osgood Tentsite I was relieved to see several other groups camping as well. On the way in signs had warned me of issues with bears in the area and 6 years ago when I stayed here bears had raided several food bags as I slept. The park had installed bear boxes which would eliminate the concern for losing my food but the threat of waking up to a bear sniffing the chocolate buried in my mustache was still very real. But when I walked up it turns out bears weren’t the wildlife to be concerned with but rather a large moose foraging in the surrounding brush.

Continue reading Mitzpah Hut, Day 11, 14.8 miles

White Mountain Lodge and Hostel, Day 9, 28.2 miles

As I was hiking up Speck Mountain around dusk last night, I started looking for campsites on the slopes of the mountain. My standards for a campsite are very, very low. But I was quickly realizing that tonight I would have to drop even my lowest standards. The shelter was still 2 miles away over a decent climb, my tendinitis was worsening and the sun had already set. I managed to find a spot off the trail that gently sloped downward. I was too tired to care anymore. Exhaustion overpowered my rational thinking and I began to set up camp. Continue reading White Mountain Lodge and Hostel, Day 9, 28.2 miles

Speck Pond Lean-to, Day 8, 31.9 miles

It was nice to once again have a shelter to myself for the night and enjoyed a good night’s sleep despite temps dropping down to the low 30s. My vapor barrier worked but the warmth of my sleep system made me resistant to getting up. I got hiking probably around 530 but I couldn’t know with having my phone battery dead. The sky was clear for the time being but I knew rain was forecast. I would enjoy the dry weather for now. Continue reading Speck Pond Lean-to, Day 8, 31.9 miles

Woodstock Stage Road 10/2, 462.7


I did my first slack pack with my bud from Dartmouth, Andrew Mertens, today. Slack packing is essentially day hiking, carrying only that which I need for the day, water, food, rain gear. With a pack weighing about seven or eight pounds, we flew, doing twenty-one miles in less than seven hours. And the best part was that I got to return back to Hanover for a warm shower, and I crossed another state line!

We ran much of the hike and the rain held off for most of the day.

When we finished, we realized we were a couple miles from the road we originally planned on hitting. Realizing neither of us had cell reception, Andrew walked to a house nearby to borrow their phone. For twenty minutes I sat in the dark in the drizzling rain thinking my friend had been murdered by Vermont hicks.

When I saw a bobbing headlamp on the road coming toward me I shouted “Andrew?”….no response. I stand up, ready to run back onto the trail. “Andrew!”


Meanwhile the family had been offering him apple pie with their wood furnace warming him up and I had been imagining all the horrible things the man with a chain saw had done to him.

Andrew’s friend Nancy spent her Friday evening driving out to Woodstock, Vermont to pick us up and brought both of us dinner! found us soon enough and we were all standing in the polite people’s house eating warm apple pie and ice cream. I love trail magic!

Can you imagine how hard it was to get out of Andrew’s car the next day and continue my trek in the Vermont mud and rain?

Hanover, NH 441.8, 9/30

I have walked all the way from North Maine to stumble upon my best friend from high school’s college campus. The trail literally follows the streets through the Dartmouth campus and downtown Hanover.

With my phone battery dead, I pulled into a pizza shop to contemplate the issue of not having an address, phone number, or even a phone. With my longest day yet of nearly 24 miles of hiking, you would think I had enough time to think over options on discovering my friend’s address. Yet ten hours since I started and I had not even begun to think of the predicament. All that ran through my mind for ten hours was pizza, ice cream, salad, tap water, and toilets.

So with a thru-hiker special of a free slice of pizza, Ramunto’s Brick and Brew was the obvious choice. So still after a massive quantity of cheese, sauce, dough, and root beer, my best idea was calling my mom on a pay phone to ask her what to do.

I walked around the town for a few minutes and stumbled upon a North face outfitter where a warrantied pair of shoes were waiting for me. Getting ready to leave, I asked an employee if he happened to know where a pay phone in town was. He happily let me borrow the store phone instead and after getting my friend’s parents’ phone number and making an unanswered call to their house, I was thinking of other options.

Packing up the shoes and heading out I thought I might as well ask “You wouldn’t happen to have a Blackberry would you?”

When I heard him say, “actually…” I thought he was messing with me. But he pulled out his Blackberry and I used his battery in my phone to call my friend. “Andrew! Dude! Address?!”

He responded, “You’re in Hanover? Where?” And then said “Stay there!”

I was so happy to see him run through that door. It was just absolutely awesome to hike for that long with no one I could even call an acquaintance to see an old friend.

I have hiked for almost six weeks and yet this little taste of home has been sitting in Hanover this entire time. Telling old stories and remembering bad decisions we made and stupid things we did in high school has helped me see the process I have been through. And the great thing about all this change is that home is still there.

I said early in college that home will never be the same since I left to live somewhere else. I thought that in school but home is in fact always the same. When someone leaves, or pets die, friends move away, traditions change, home is still there. Home is always there because it is not physical. And now that I know that I can carry home with me, not in a tent, not in a shelter, but in the comfort and contentedness created by RVA.