This 2-day, 1 night trip is led by AMC Worcester Chapter, our leaders are Walt and Wendy, 7 participants including leaders. Very grateful to wander in mother mountain's arms and just relax. We entered from Lincoln Woods Trailhead, stayed at 13 Falls Tentsite, exited at Gale River Trailhead. Total milage is about 16 miles.
The Lincoln Woods Trail and Franconia Trail that lead to the tentsite are very flat and peaceful. Part of it was originally a railway track. We could still see some traces of people's life here 150 years ago, such as metal materials half buried in the ground.
There are fair amount of streams to cross on this traverse. Some rocks in the middle of streams are wobbly. We took extra caution each time. 9 tent pits are scattered away from each other on the 13 Falls Tentsite, each pit fits 2 one person tents or 1 bigger tent, first come first serve. All pits were full by about 6pm on Monday night. Number 13 means tentsite No. 13 not because there are 13 waterfalls around.
The tentsite caretaker's tent looks very nice! His name is Skyler, lives here for 10 days, then 2 days off, then back again. Each time, he carries up 70lb of fresh food, AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club) pays for his food. He said there's nothing better than living in the woods. There are many waterfalls around the tentsite for sure, each one has a personality of its own. The middle one looks like a lady's scarf isn't it. So pretty! The pounding sound cleans one's heart.
We have designated place to cook, at least 100 yards away from tents. The bear safety guide can be found on Forest Serve website here. Food and stuff with a smell must be stored in bear boxes. At about 8pm, it was already hard to keep eyes open, time to crawl inside. My little tent is actually very spacious. It is not too bad to be short. Each morning, Skyler receives weather updates from Mt. Washington Observatory by 7am. Hikers plan the day according to the weather.
The next day, we traveled from the tentsite through Tween Brook Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, then Gale River Trail, passing by AMC Galehead hut. It did rain intensively for 10 minutes while we enjoyed hearty bread and soup cooked by sweet hut staff. Lucky on that, or we'll be soaked inside out. When the rain stopped, the mountains were covered by silk like clouds. Were the gentle clouds lovingly massaging mountain's crisp green faces? I tucked the camera away from here, just enjoyed the last 4-ish miles before saying goodbye to the rocks, trees, birds, flowers, chipmunks...... What a trip. Thanks to our patient and knowledgeable leaders and supportive teammates. What's next? Hmmmmm......
In the middle of May, Appalachian Trail MA section volunteers gathered at Father Tom's Campsite. I camped there the night before. That night I met "Trapz", a north bound AT hiker. She's very toll and strong, started her hike in Georgia in late February. We had a nice short conversation and said bye to each other the next morning. The event went on and we had a lot of pizza feeding volunteers and passing by AT hikers.
On June 3rd, I stayed at the Notch Hostel, as usual, ready for a hike the next day. In the bunk room, a tall girl asked, "Are you from Massachusetts?" What the......! Trapz! This was insane. I couldn't believe it. Of course we chatted a little more, then decided that we may hike together on her final day on AT, summiting Mt. Katahdin. Oh her hiking buddy Patty, who didn't stay at the hostel, was one of those who enjoyed pizza at the volunteer event.
To save money and hangout with hikers, I stayed at AT Lodge in Millinocket, ME. It is very cozy, clean with many beds to choose from. There were already two south bound (SOBO) hikers ready to take off the next morning. One of them is a cancer survivor, always want to do this trail, finally retired to fulfill his dream. Trapz's mom and Patty's whole family came to the lodge as well, ready to witness and accompany the hikers' big summit day! It's very impressive how supportive the families are.
The gate of Baxter State Park opens at 6am. There were already 40 cars in line by then. Trapz and Patty were both there waiting at trail head. I started climbing 30 minutes earlier while they wait for their families. Sure, both of them passed me when I was 1 hour in. They've been practicing for 4 month on the trail. There was no picture taken on the way to the summit. The trail is very very steep. Some huge boulders have metal bars mounted on so hikers can grab onto the bars and pull themselves up. As a short person, it was harder but manageable. A small portion above tree line is on a narrow ridge with steep cliff on both sides. It took quite a moment to work up some courage to go through it. Once you get to the plateau at the last portion, it was much easier and flatter to walk to the top. The plan was that Trapz and Patty summit and take pictures first, then come down to meet their families who hike a bit slower, and hike up again with them.
Patty's sister passed me as well. But eventually we made it to the summit. Katahdin is breath taking. Works can not express the feeling. Many north bound (NOBO) AT hikers were gathering by the sign, crying, laughing, shouting, goofing around...... So proud of everyone. Oh there's a young boy hiked up with his dad. Wow.
This was my first time meeting everyone else but Trapz. Somehow everyone looked and felt so familiar. Proud of the hikers, very much respect to their families. Together, we descended the mountain, crackered jokes, talked about life, asked the two hikers a million questions about their journey. Wish the mountain was taller so we would have time for more questions. Back to the trailhead, surprisingly it was not hard to say goodbye. A light hug then we were on our way home. Maybe we all knew that we would meet again somewhere someday. Trapz said, "Yun, let new know when you are hiking the AT! I'll join you, as well!"
I stayed one more night at the lodge. The following morning, 11 SOBO hikers started their journey. It was so tempting to just take off with them. So tempting. Best wishes to the hikes! Have an amazing trip to Georgia on foot, and make lifetime friends! Time to go home, hauling one NOBO hiker to his uncle's house, might as well.
Been trying to winter hike earlier this year. Didn't make it. Scared like a new born chicken. Hopefully it would happen this winter. But, summer is here. Time to throw myself into the embracement of the White Mountains if she's willing to take me in.
Day 1. It rained pretty hard...after I started the hike at the foot of Mt. Washington. This was supposed to be an easy out and back route on AT from Pinkham Notch to Mt. Washington Auto Rd. The rain got heavier from drizzle to downpour. Well, too late to turn around. Let's practice on this short hike. Rain jacket on me, rain cover on the pack. Then what... There is a sign on the left - Raymond Path, 1.8 miles. The maps shows that this path leads a loop back to starting point. Plenty of daylight left. Let's try it. 2-mile became 6. There was no one around maybe because of the rain. So I started to talk to the birds and talk my ears off. It was a little scary, too. Every black colored item felt like a bear.
There are always surprises on unfamiliar trails. Raymond Path ends at Huntington Ravine Trail, then connect to Tuckerman Ravine Trail, then back to Pinkham Notch. It was that short part of Huntington that really showed the force of mother earth. The current in streams were very strong due to the rain, and there were several streams to cross to get to the other side of trail. So I pulled the pants up, stayed low, held on to the rocks, and stepped into the water. It was knee high and really cold. My feet became num for a while. "practice makes perfect," as Steve, the Mountain Wonderer bookstore owner, said after hearing this little adventure. The stream crossing made falling into a hole between roots not a big deal. One big mistake was assuming that the map was waterproof. It tore itself apart in the rain. Now we know...
As usual, the night was spent at the Notch Hostel. "...owner Serena Ryan co-founded the hostel in 2015". Here you'll meet so many outdoors people and Appalachian Trail hikers. Everyone has his/her own stories to tell. Guests hangout in the kitchen, in the living room, out on the porch, around campfire, sharing the mountains with each other. Maybe you'll meet life long friends here, too. During AT hiker season, talking to the hikers full fills the entire day. So much to learn from everyone.
The next morning, sun decided to shine through the clouds. Grandpa toad got out to get some Vitamin D. The water drops made themselves visible in thin fogs and they dance in light beams. Hello sun, long time no see!
As the elevation gets higher, trees grow shorter. Gradually the clouds are down there. Oh here's Greenleaf Hut! You can stay here for the night, enjoy the hospitality, the nutritious food, and of course the sunset, painting the colors in the sky and in the hearts.
On top of Mt. Lafayette, I forgot how to speak both in Chinese and English. Is it real? Is it a dream? How did I get here? What are those cotton candies above, around, and below? Thank you White Mountains! Thank you for taking me in, for taking everyone no matter who we are, no matter how we human think of each other.
Diapensia, alpine flowers above treeline. They are so little yet so strong, live through the snow, the storms, gust of the wind... wish I could be like you, little one. And also jealous that you are so close to the cotton candies every day. Well, thank you for your encouragement. See you again soon!
Weekend passed by so fast. Bye White Mountains, bye mushrooms, bye beloved Notch Hostel. Every one working here is like the alpine diapensia, beautiful and resilient, Serena, Kelly, Tricia, and Molly. Cheers to you all, take care, and see you soon!
This trip was in Douglas State Forest, MA. Aiming for beginner backpackers. The terrain is flat, easily walking in and out. We get to test our current gears to see if we want to keep them or make a change under guidance of the two leaders. Can you see the little toad among the brownish leaves?
Joe taught us how to find firewood. So we did find a ton of dry stock for the campfire. It smelled so good, also kept bugs away.
This was also little J's first backpacking trip. His family came to the campsite when we were setting up tent. He was running around us beginner adults, so we took over role of his playmate and his parents could have some alone time : ) So proud of this guy. For the sake of having fun, he brought marshmallows and sleeping company.
In the quietness of the forest, watching water to boil is such a fun thing! Before bed we've learned hanging food and smelly stuff, including tooth paste, so the critters especially mice wouldn't get to them at night. On the way out the next morning, we found this cute creatures. Still don't know what they are. It's ok. So very grateful for this trip to enjoy time among trees and more trees!
Top of Gunstock Mountain (left) and Piper Mountain (right). The leaders picked such a nice loop, lots of beautiful views along the way. Leaders: Peggy Qvicklund and Eva Das (80 years old!).
We found lots of trilliums along the way. Ava (white hair, in blue long sleeve shirt, second from right in picture) is over 80 years old now, finished NH 4000 footers in her 70s and still bagging peaks. First met her at The Notch Hostel, North Woodstock, NH. She's such an inspiration for all of us.
Summits In Solidarity for the support of Serena Ryan, owner of The Notch Hostel. In "2020 Notch owner Serena Ryan and employee Philip Carcia co-founded Summits in Solidarity, a racial justice initiative among hikers in the Northeastern US and beyond." Please check out the hostel when you are planning trips to the White Mountains!
The Appalachian Trail Massachusetts Committee gathered most of the AT volunteers on this warm day to summarize the work done last year and discuss the trail work to be finished this year. It was held at Father Tom Campsite in Cheshire, MA. Volunteers were then divided into 4 discussion groups: trail work, boundary maintenance, natural resource monitoring, and cabin maintenance. It was such a good time around kind people.
Father Tom Campsite was finished in 2019 for AT hikers. The trail goes right through town of Cheshire. There are also free bikes for hikers to go to get resupplies. What a wonderful place to hangout. Gratitude to all volunteers and leaders.
AT-MA committee Leaders and volunteers. Picture from Cheshire Appalachian Trail Committee.