Monday, December 14, 2009

New Hampshire/Maine – 2009 – Part 4

Location: Harvard Cabin, Mount Washington, NH, USA

This morning, I woke up early to leave Sunday River. Issac, unfortunately, slept in, which made my leaving difficult. I didn’t want to just bail, as he had been so nice to me. Luckily, when he did wake up, he helped me carry my bags to a nearby fork in the road. Before we reached the fork, though, a local ski instructor stopped and gave me a lift into Bethel. He dropped me at a gas station on Highway 2, which leads towards Mount Washington. I searched for a ride, but everyone was headed the opposite direction. So, after an hour or so of that, I started walking. Along the way, a lady saw me from another highway and waited for me in the off ramp, as I approached. She was nice enough to give me a ride to West Bethel, which was about six miles away, and up a big hill. I was thankful because my gear was HEAVY. She dropped me at the West Bethel post office. I went in and chatted with the old guys who were hanging out there, although it was really hard to understand their accents. Eventually, one of them decided that since he had nothing better to do he would drive me all the way to Gorham, NH, which was about 20 miles away. I couldn’t believe it. 30 minutes and lots of conversation later, I was at the Gorham gas station. This particular gas station is known for being easy to hitch a ride to Mount Washington – not today. I was so close, I could see it, but no one was heading my direction. I waited almost two hours and asked at least 60 people, but no one was headed towards the trailhead. Finally, a guy with a beard walked up to me and offered a ride. He talked about climbing with me the whole way there, as I fended off the advances of his giant dog. Eventually, I arrived at Pinkham Notch and was ready to do some climbing.

Figure 1: My gear, in front of one of the many beautiful gas stations in the North East.

I went into the Appalachian Mountain Club’s shop at the trailhead and first had some soup – I was starving. Then, I sorted out my gear, as I would only need minimal kit for my limited time on the mountain, this time. I stashed all my spare gear in the employees living shacks, and took off. It was a slog up to Harvard Cabin, coupled with minor route confusion. Eventually, I made it and it was great. Wood stove, 80 degrees Fahrenheit, benches, other people. Good times.

Figure 2: The great scenery.

Figure 3: On the trail, at last.

Figure 4: The interior of Harvard Cabin.

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