Connecticut River to Maine border
New Hampshire

Here´s how
you can write
to me during
my hike

The journal of Andy Linger ... thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 1997

Back to August 22

August 23—Panarchy House; Hanover, NH (Day 133 ~ milepoint 1717.6)
The lightening display I could see in the river valley was fantastic. There were some loud bangs, but fortunately there wasn't any strong winds or heavy rains nearby. I never got wet like I thought I would, although there were periods of moderate rains. I was on the trail by 6 a.m., eager to get into Hanover before the post office closed. The morning was cloudy and foggy, but cleared up by the time I reached the Connecticut River. As I crossed the river on the busy road, I couldn't believe I was in New Hampshire. I'm amazed by the fact that I've been through twelve states with only two to do. I met several other hikers in town and ended up staying at the Panarchy House which was close to everything. The town is home to Dartmouth College, which also hosts the Gathering which I will be going to in October. I hi the grocery store to get a pizza and some brats for dinner. Six of us were there that night, and that evening Kampfire showed up at the house looking for some people to party with. Several of us piled in his van and headed over to the Foley House to round up some more hikers. We headed over to Tabard and piled into the basement to share more horror stories about the trail to the north. Several southhbounders were there, and told us about the hiker who died in the Whites from either a seizure or hypothermia (Mt. Washington had several days of winds in the 60-90 mph range last week). Late that night we stumbled out of the place and walked back to wherever we were staying and called it a night.—Andy

August 24—Velvet Rocks Shelter (Day 134 ~ milepoint 1719.3)
This morning I woke up later and debated whether I wanted to stay in town another day. Half the hikers I met were already gone, and the other half were victims of Town Suck (half a dozen have been here for over five days). The weather was nice, and I ended up leaving town around 5 p.m. I arrived at the shelter and caught up on my journal entries and frantically tried to eat several pounds of food overburdening my pack (and back). At dusk, five "members" of the Swiss Family showed up, not sucked into Hanover for the night like I thought.—Andy

August 25—Trapper John Shelter (Day 135 ~ milepoint 1734.7)
Last night we were all joking about the fact that no one in town would say hi to us. A couple hikers even took count. Passed 38 people down Main Street, got eye contact from 13 people, and a "hi" from three. The highlight of the day was reaching Holts Ledge. In the spring, it's a nesting site for peregrine falcons. After the birds are gone, the fence comes down, and hikers can walk up to the ledge. I met Dave, a man familiar with the area, and he gave me a little orientation on the surrounding mountains. I reached the shelter shortly thereafter to find a church group of 15 girls and three section hikers. A little later, the "Swiss Family" showed up with eight hikers, and then Keebler and Weeble arrived. It was a full house tonight. Eight of us were crammed in the shelter, and a tent city was set up behind. It was fun to see a group this big again, the biggest I've probably seen since the Smokies.—Andy

August 26—"Atwell Hilton" (Day 136 ~ milepoint 1753.4)
Today brought climbs over two mountains, Smarts Mountain and Cube Mountain. The views from the summits were quite impressive. Smarts is topped with a firetower and offered panoramic views of Vermont and the White Mountains. That evening, I arrived at the Atwell Hilton to see Texas Tapeworm, B.S.U.R. and Beetle (a southbounder) enjoying hotdogs, chips, and some beer, countesy of Dizzy B. She usually leaves some water at the road crossing and often comes to the campsite to party with hikers. The night brought clear skies instead of the rain we thought was going to come in that night. —Andy

August 27—Jeffers Brook Shelter (Day 137 ~ milepoint 1762.4)
The morning was cloudy, and I finally found the will to leave around 10 a.m. I reached the P.O. in Glencliff to find it closed until 2 p.m. I made some phone calls and talked to other hikers while waiting to pick up my winter gear. Tomorrow I enter the world famous White Mountains of New Hampshire (also one of the world's most crowded). The terrain will be some of the most strenuous and exhausting on the trip, but it will also have some of the most majestic views and incredible scenery I will see on the entire trail. My one wish going through the Whites is that the weather cooperates. I stayed at the shelter that night with Keebler & Weeble, B.S.U.R., Texas Tapeworm, and Phoenix. It rained again, but it felt great to be in the shelter.—Andy

August 28—Kinsman Notch, Cascade Lodge B&B (Day 138 ~ milepoint 1771.4)
The morning started out with rain, but fortunately stopped early enough to let us get out by 9 a.m. The 4,000 foot climb up to the summit of Mt. Moosilauke was long, but not terribly steep. At the top, the train climbed above timberline for the first time. The Franconia Ridge was off to the left, Vermont behind us, and Glencliff to the left. Unfortunately, the views from in the cloudbank and fog gave us views up to 10 feet. There were a dozen of us up on the summit briefly to take photos and then hike on to dip into the trees again to escape the wind. As we left the summit, the sun magically appeared, lighting up small patches of the ground and surrounding trees. I was glad to see this after days of clouds. I reached Beaver Brook Shelter along with Keebler & Weeble, and Phoenix. They were staying the night, and I originally was, but it was only 1 p.m. The sun poked through several more times, but the surrounding fog never did let up. Seeing that it probably wouldn't rain over the next couple of hours, I decided to descend off the mountain and go into North Woodstock for the night. The descent off Moosilauke was intense. The two mile descent dropped almost 3,000 feet, and one small misstep could have spelled disaster. There were many sections that had iron railings drilled into rocks and wooded steps cemented into the rocks. The first gigantic rock I encountered with the steps dropped over 30 feet, and if you slipped, you would splash into Beaver Brook and tumble your way into Kinsman Notch (I don't think that would be very fun). The rocks were wet, the skies grey, and I became nervous in several places, but I took my time and actually enjoyed the descent (even though I snapped in half my favorite hiking stick I found in New York). During my hitch to the post office, I noticed Kampfire's van parked nearby, and decided to stay at the Cascade Lodge for $15 instead of the hostel I was originally planning on in nearby Lincoln. That evening, several
of us headed to the brewery & pub next door to have some fun and take our minds off hiking.—Andy

August 29—Kinsman Pond Shelter (Day 139 ~ milepoint 1782.4)
I heard more bad news about my tent today. My parents still haven't received it even though it was a month ago when I sent it home. I could go out $100 and buy one, or maybe try to find a place that rents them, but the more I think about it, the less concerned I become. The weather is supposed to improve starting tomorrow, and if the weather turns bad, I can go to a hut early in the day and work-for-stay. If worse comes to worse, I can use my small tarp and the couple of garbage bags I have to survive the night. At 7 a.m. this morning, Kampfire took several of us back to the trail under cloudy skies again. Chaz, Bull, and Just Bill caught up to me during the scrambles over rocks that were several feet high. The climbing was slow going, but was actually kind of fund after months of boring switchbacks. Occasionally, a small patch of blue sky would appear, and we all would stop in our tracks to enjoy the brief view before the clouds rolled in above our heads again. After several hours of exhausting climbs through mud, around trees, and over huge boulders, we arrived at the summit of Kinsman Mountain to see a horizon dotted with sunlight and clouds rolling over the mountains. The Franconia Ridge was visible across the valley with clouds rolling over the summits. We arrived at Kinsman Pond Shelter just before the rain started. Phoenix, Keebler & Weeble showed up a little drenched from the rain. The forecast posted by the caretaker called for clearing skies tomorrow. We all hope this holds true.—Andy

August 30—Greenleaf AMC Hut (Day 140 ~ milepoint 1793.3)
This morning brought more of the same - fog and drizzle. The hike down to Franconia Notch brought on and off rain, making some of the rocks very slick. I have to admit though, looking at some of the dayhikers was kind of amusing. Some had their legs totally covered in mud from slipping off bog bridges, and others had gigantic splotches of mud on their shirts from slipping. When I reached Franconia Notch, I hiked a mile off the trail to meet Kampfire in the parking lot. Back at the Cascade Lodge, he offered to take some of my food supply off my back to make the climbing a little easier (he was doing the same for a group following behind me). As I rested waiting for him to arrive, small patches of blue sky poked through the angry grey skies. The forecast posted on the caretaker's tent I read back at the campsite called for more clouds and rain today, (the forecast calling for sun keeps getting pushed back each day), so I wasn't expecting much. I hiked back to the AT and started the long climb up Franconia Ridge. About halfway up the mountain, something miraculous happened. The skies started to clear and the trees lit up from the sun. The steep, long climb suddenly became much more enjoyable. Tonight there still was a chance of rain and thunderstorms, so I stopped by Liberty Spring Tentsite to see if he could tell me what the terrain was like ahead. I found out the ridge had tenting places sheltered from the wind, and I figured my tarp and garbage bags should get me through the night (the tentsites were full, with 30 people there). I continued up to the top and finally reached ridgeline. The trail took a sharp left and headed up to Mt. Lafayette. I climbed above timberline and was stunned by the views. The windward slopes were shrouded in fog with an occasionaly view of the mountains. I climbed down this morning and the freeway below. However, to the east I could see forever. As I continued towards Mt. Lafayette, I climbed into the fog and the views disappeared
. It only lasted about 20 minutes, but the brief views I got made my day much better. After another two miles of hiking on the ridge (seemed more like 10 miles) I arrived at the summit of Lafayette. The wind was blowing pretty good, and visibility was low. I took the side trail that led to Greenleaf Hut. I arrived at the hut (similar to Bascom Lodge I stayed at in Mass. - but called huts here in the Whites). I arrived a little before 8 p.m. with nightfall approaching and a light mist. The 1,039 foot drop on the mile side trail littered with boulders made my feet feel like ground meat. The heavy fog made the descent seem endless, but I eventually arrived, exhausted and desperate for food. I went inside to find 45 guests chatting at the tables and the kids playing cards and boardgames. I met the croo and they saw my condition and pointed to the food leftovers. A couple hours after devouring a plateful of green beans and corn, chicken breasts, a loaf of bread, tons of soup, and washing it down with plenty of water, I felt much better. I startled several of the guests when I told them when I started the trail, and a little later it was almost 10 p.m. and I called it a night.—Andy

August 31—Galehead AMC Hut (Day 141 ~ milepoint 1799.9)
This morning I devoured the extra food left by the guests after their breakfasts. I worked off my stay by sweeping, mopping, cleaning bathrooms, and eating (composting food leftovers). I finally got out of the place by 10:30 and started the climb to the top. The weatehr was mostly cloudy, and it was hard to see the surrounding terrain through the haze during the day. The entire day was straight up, then straight down, then strai... I think you get the point. The terrain was difficult, with the entire length nothing but large boulders I had to climb up or around. It was kind of fun, as I felt like I was on a giant jungle gym. Void, a caretaker at one of the tentsites, met up with me and told me about the terrain ahead. I reached what looked like a waterfall and saw three people with their packs off with two looking straight down the rock path. The third person was scrambling up and down the rocks trying to tell if this was actually the trail or not. Yes it was, and one small slip and I'd be doing somersaults down the 50 degree slope. Hours later, and after only seven miles, I got sucked into another hut. (It's Void's fault, he knows half the croo and encouraged me to go there.) I figured I'd stay here or risk camping in possible rain somewhere down the trail. Again, I was the only thru-hiker here (only two can usually work-for-stay at a hut), so I'll see what kind of work they dish at me tomorrow morning.—Andy

September 1—Campsite, Crawford Notch (Day 142 ~ milepoint 1814.0)
After working off my stay this morning, I headed out at 10:30 to find another day of fog and drizzle. There weren't many views today until I arrived at Zealand Falls Hut. As I left after a long break, the clouds and fog started to dissipate, revealing a valley I didn't know existed. I arrived at Ethan Pond to find the sun dropping behind the mountain and knew it was time to shell out $5 and stay, or head towards Crawford Notch. I arrived near the notch and found a campsite to stay for the night. —Andy

September 2—Lakes of the Clouds AMC Hut (Day 143 ~ milepoint 1825.3)
This morning I was up early to begin the climb onto the Presidentials. The skies again started to get hazy and cloud up. By the time I reached Mt. Webster, the haze came in, obscurring most of the surrounding mountains. At this time I was feeling lousy again because I have yet to see a cloudless sky for more than an hour (then again, it's not raining). I reached Mizpah Hut and met up with Forrest Fire, Bones, Bull, Just Bill, and Chaz. We all took advantage of the $1 all-you-can-eat breakfast leftovers and enjoyed taking a break while our stomachs settled. When I left, the haze started to fade, and the cloudbase started to rise. The views were outstanding from here to Lakes. Occasionally, the sun would shine through, dotting the landscape with light. I could see the summit of Mt. Washington for the first time today. It was quite a sight to see it get closer with every step. The day was much better than I expected - I could see something today. I arrived at Lakes of the Clouds AMC Hut with the other five hikers and we checked in, The infamous "Dungeon" was full, so a bunch of us were put in the overflow room (this hut can hold over 90 people). During the late afternoon, they even had a helicopter airlift (usually only done three times a year), and we assisted them in clearning the net of supplies and reloading it with empty propane containers. It was quite a sight seeing the chopper get as close as it did to the hut. A little later, when the guests were finished with dinner, the six of us and Largo polished off the leftovers. Before the lights were turned out at 9:30, we played some cards, went outside for a brief glimpse of the Milky Way before the clouds came in, and hoped for a nice day tomorrow.—Andy

September 3—Madison Springs AMC Hut (Day 144 ~ milepoint 1832.5)
When I woke this morning I could hear rain pattering against the side of the building. When we mowed down the leftovers, we could hear the roar of the wind against the side of the building. As the morning progressed, hikers started to filter out the door, dressed in raingear and winter layers. Four thru-hikers decided to take the foul weather route by Tuckerman's Ravine into Pinkham Notch. I couldn't decide what I wanted to do today. I was tempted to blow the day off, hoping tomorrow would be better, but it could very well be like today - or worse. I was almost ready to take the foul weather route, but I figured after summiting Mt. Washington, the winds wouldn't be as strong, and the weather would improve. After changing my mind several times, I finally found myself walking out the door. As I opened the door, I could feel the blast of cold air hitting me. I had my rainsuit on for the second time since starting the trip (the last time was in the Smokies for less than an hour), since the umbrello-matic obviously wouldn't work here. During my ascent of Mt. Washington, something I didn't expect happened. The sun came out for several seconds, lighting up the fog racing up the mountain. I became optomistic about the weather, hoping the fog would dissipate and expose the partly cloudy skies above when I descended Mt. Washington. When I arrived at the top, I was greated with 10 foot visibility and 50 mph winds. As I approached the summit building my pack cover blew off but I was able to grab it before it blew away. I went inside and was amazed. There was a water fountain in front of me, heat was flowing out of vents, the bathrooms had hot water, and there were telephones (not bad for 6,288 feet!). I met several others I was with at Lakes, and we sat at one of the tables near the snack bar. I found it difficult to leave, looking outside at the 50 mph winds blowing across the summit. Chef was looking at the weather board when I came in and told me the needle h
it 60 when I almost lost my pack cover. I finally left and started my trek down after climbing the rockpile that marked the official summit. Visibility was poor, and the winds were still strong several hundred feet below the summit. Temperatures were in the 30's, and I don't want to know what the wind chill was. About halfway to the hut, the winds picked up to the 55-70 mph range. My hiking sticks were now off to my side to keep me from falling over. It started to rain on and off, making the rocks slick and really fun. Much of the terrain consisted of large boulders I had to climb up or down off and sharp rocks that were difficult to step over. The winds continued to build, and the visbility made it difficult to see the cairns marking the trail. Finally, at 5 p.m., I made it to Madison Hut to find Forrest Fire and Chef busy with a game of Scrabble. Largo showed up a little later, with a bad look in his face. The temperature in the hut was in the mid-40's, and everyone had blankets wrapped around them for warmth. Of course the most difficult part of the day was scarfing down the leftover fish and soup. Today was some of the worst weather hiking I have ever done. For the first half, I almost enjoyed it. It was fun talking to the other hikers that passed by, watching them get tossed about from the winds. It's 9 p.m., I'm the last one up, so I'm calling it a night.—Andy

September 4—Hiker's Paradise; Gorham, NH (Day 145 ~ milepoint 1840.1)
When I woke up this morning, I could see my breath again, reminding me of how cold it is in here. Outside, more of the same - clouds and fog. The 8 a.m. forecast gave a pretty grim outlook. Mt. Washington set a record low of 27 degrees this morning with a trace of snow. Today didn't look much more promising. After doing the chores, I left to climb Mt. Madison. The summit provided more 60 mph winds, this time with frost and very slick rocks. As I descended the ridge below timberline hours later, the fog finally turned to overhead clouds, and the sun came out. The last mile of the Presidentials was wonderful. I looked up towards Mt. Madison and saw nothing but clouds, and looked down seeing nothing but sun. Several miles later, I arrived at Pinkham Notch Visitor's Center, meeting up with Largo, Forrest Fire, and Chef. I got sucked in to their plan and took the ride to Hiker's Paradise in Gorham. Dinner that night consisted of a hamburger, kielbasa, and all-you-can-eat salad, beans, and mashed potatoes. Finally, at 11 p.m., we all got to sleep.—Andy

September 5—North Carter Mountain (Day 146 ~ milepoint 1851.3)
This morning, I looked outside expecting to see clouds. Instead, I was surprised to find blue skies - the first clear skies since Vermont. After pounding down 2 eggs, toast, potatoes, and four plate-size pancakes, it was time to pack up and hit the trail. Upon arriving at Pinkham Notch, we were greeted with stiff winds and clear skies. The steep climb up Wildcat Mountain offered views of Maine and the Presidentials. Again, Mt. Washington was visible (it may not be cloudy, but it's probably blowing 80 mph up there). I sat up there by the gondola building with Forrest Fire and Chef, getting my first real look at the Presidentials, for over an hour. Later that day, I arrived at the summit of Carter Dome to cook dinner with Forrest and Chef. As I went on during the evening, I could see the setting sun light up the clouds behind the trees. Shortly after sunset, I arrived at the summit of North Carter Mountain. At 4,539 feet, I was able to see the Presidentials grow blacker and blacker until they were nothing more than a silhouette with the sky above gleaming with stars. After staring at the surrounding horizon dotted with flickering city lights dozens of miles away, the strong winds were still angrily blowing, and I jumped into my sleeping bag. The Milky Way was alive, dancing with satellites racing across the sky and a couple of shooting stars. With such a show, I found it difficult to get to sleep.—Andy

September 6—Hiker's Paradise; Gorham, NH (Day 147 ~ milepoint 1860.9)
I watched sunrise from my bag this morning patiently waiting for the sun to defrost everything that became damp with dew. The summit of Mt. Washington was again visible, not shrouded in clouds. Within record time I was up and hiking before numerous body parts had the chance to freeze. The descent off the mountain was almost vertical. I had to crawl my way down 500 feet of rock faces and ledges. In doing so I busted another hiking stick (I taked to a section hiker who broke his here too - after hiking with it for over 25 years), but fortunately broke nothing else. Again, the sky clouded up today as I worked my way towards Gorham. I arrived at the road and hitched back to Hiker's Paradise. It was the same routine here as last time - shower and laundry, relax and chat, pig out at dinner until digestive system reaches point of explosion, watch a movie (okay, so they didn't play one last time I was here), and go to bed.—Andy

Continue reading my journal

Georgia-North Carolina | North Carolina-Tennessee | Southwest Virginia | Central Virginia | N. Virginia-W. Va.-Maryland
Pennsylvania | New Jersey-New York | Connecticut-Massachusetts | Vermont | New Hampshire | Maine | After the Hike

An Interactive Website for Appalachian Trail Thru-hikers
Send comments or report problems to:

Sponsored by the Center for Appalachian Trail Studies
© 1997 Dan Bruce. All rights reserved.