The only thing between me and the top of Mount Katahdin are the White Mountains, the 100 Mile Wilderness and the Mahoosuc Notch! That’s all? That is plenty, and it is not going to be easy!
First up The Whites. They cover 1/4 of the state of New Hampshire and a small portion of Western Maine. They are the most rugged mountains in New England. Mount Washington is 6,288 ft, the highest peak in the Northeastern U.S. And has the fastest surface wind gust (231 m/s) in the world. There are 48 peaks over 4,000 ft. known as the Four Thousand Footers! I will slow down my miles to 8-10 per day as I go through the Whites. The weather is unpredictable and dangerous at times.
This is the section of the AT running between Abol Bridge, just south of Baxter State Park and Monson Maine. It is the wildest section of the trail and one of the most challenging. Once you enterthe wilderness, there is only one way out for one hundred miles.
This is the toughest mile on the trail with conditions that are not for the faint of heart. There are ten peaks and I am told this section is slow, hard and just plain scary!
When I start the Whites I will have hiked around 1800 miles, and hopefully I will be physically and mentally ready for the challenge. I have talked to a lot of SOBO’s (South Bound Hikers) that started at Katahdin and they all just smile and say, “just enjoy”. I think I am going to take that advice.
Hiked into Manchester Center Vermont last night and I really love this town. It is a popular ski town but is a nice stop for hikers. I stayed at the popular hostel, “Green Mountain House” on Richville Rd. After coming off the trail I got a ride into town and Jeff Taussig (owner of the hostel) picked me up and introduced me to the other 15 hikers that were staying the night. The hostel was the nicest one that I have visited on the trail. The house is clean and for $25 you get a shower, bed, wifi, free sodas, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and breakfast! It was nice to spend the evening with Southbound hikers and hear about The Whites, and the Hundred Mile Wilderness. It is 538 miles to Katahdin from here and the hiking is becoming extremely challenging! I am feeling very strong and was surprised that my ankle is fine this morning after taking a nasty roll on a slick rock last night as I hiked across a stream. My goal is to stay strong and healthy for the next 48 days. I hiked across Stratton Mountain (3936 ft) and Bromley Mountain (3269), yesterday and the tower at the top of Stratton Mountain offered a beautiful 360 view of Vermont. This was the spot that inspired Benton MacKaye to propose the creation of the Appalachian Trail. Views are getting better and temps getting cooler. Katahdin is getting closer!
Hostel Owner, Jeff Taussig
I hiked into Cheshire MA a few days ago and met two trail Angels (Marie, has a camper at a local campground and allows hikers to stay the night), and her friend Rob (has a van called Casper, and helps hikers with shuttles). These Trail Angels love helping hikers and offered to give me and three other hikers a ride to the campground and to a restaurant in town for dinner. All four of us were so excited about a shower, dinner and a night in a camper…we thought we were at the Hilton! We all pulled out our sleeping bags, I slept on the sofa, Flatliner slept on the floor and Chevy Chaf and Legs slept on bunks. There were other folks in the campground for the night and a nice couple next to us had a campfire, and when I told them that I love country music, they pulled out their computer with playlists and speakers and played my favorite tunes! I drifted off to sleep that night with the sound of George Strait singing Amarillo By Morning! Life is good on the trail!