Today was our first day in the Presidential Mountain range….aptly named as the summits are all named after presidents. We began the day hitching out from the hostel in Gorham. It took 20 minutes to get picked for the first leg and then got picked up by the second car, who was passing by our trailhead very quickly. On the way to the trailhead we saw a moose.
The first section of trail was not too difficult, but was odd in that it had none of the typical white blazes that mark the trail. Trusting our map and orientation, we stayed on the trail and it ended up being correct. Just odd to go on the trail for miles without seeing the white blaze that we have grown so accustomed to seeing every couple hundred feet.
The weather was really wonderful for being up in the high mountains, and we could see a good distance from the summit of Mount Washington. The summit was filled with tourists who had drove up or took the cog railway. There is a cafeteria at the top serving chili dogs and pizza. It is a bit surreal having walked a few hundred miles and buying food such as this at the summit.
We met up with Cueball, Steel, Flint, Emily and Jake at the Lake of The Clouds Hut. Seven of us southbounders. The folks at the hut were kind enough to give us all work-for-stay.
The huts are run by the AMC club and charge $ 100-200 per night. They are essentially lodges with bunks that have a common room for dinner and breakfast. There are several in the White Mountains. Thru-hikers are offered work-for-stay on a “first come first served” basis. The work is typically washing dishes & sweeping. We gave a short talk on hiking the AT to the guests and then did some dishes. In exchange, we could sleep on the floor of the dining hall and get the leftovers from dinner. Since we were above treeline and camping is not allowed above tree line, this was a very good opportunity for a thru-hiker who is walking by one of the huts between 4 and 6 pm. Earlier in the day, we also received half of a whipped cream pie at another one of the huts, just for mentioning that we are thru-hikers and asking if they had any leftovers. Most thru-hikers carry less food through this section of the trail, knowing that food can be had at the huts, and this helps save pack weight in an area with a lot of steep climbs.
Daily Distance: 14.6
Trip Distance: 334.0