July 23, 1998

7/23/98 Pinkham Notch

14.6 miles (1843.1 total)

Pandemonium seemed to fill every corner of the hut yesterday. Trying to find a quiet spot to write or read was impossible. Just too many kids. Last night after dinner, Adriene offered us AYCE ravioli, salad, soup, corn and bread for $5 each. We hesitated, so she made it $5 for both of us. We gladly took it. Even though we both had eaten dinner, we ate more than anyone else of the crew on the work-for-stay hikers.

Lake of the Clouds Hut, which holds over 100 paying guests

Later in the evening, the crew invited us to join them for chai (hot sweet tea with milk). Talked with Alison and Karen for awhile about the hike. After watching the sunset, the clouds came in extremely fast. It even started to sprinkle as we got ready for bed. At first, I thought the dungeon would be cold and drafty. But once we shut the door and got in our sleeping bags, I actually got warm enough to unzip the bag a little bit.

Woke up to overcast skies and cooler temperatures. Left the hut about 8am, hoping to get to Mount Washington when the snack bar opened at 9am. A pretty easy, steady climb. It was very hard to take a picture of the peak without a building in the background. While eating a sandwich, we watched the cog railway train arrive. Yesterday the wind had been so fierce but this morning was relatively calm. As we left the summit, the temperature was dropping, the wind picking up speed and the rain started.

The explorer atop Mount Washington

The trail was pretty nice in places, almost like a sidewalk. At one point, we had sleet and snow flurries. About a mile from Madison Hut, the rain really started to come down, along with some strong winds. Billy Goat and I decided to get the AYCE soup to help warm us up. We stayed over an hour till the rain stopped but we really didn’t get warm. The climb up Mount Madison was very difficult because there really wasn’t a trail, just a lot of boulder hopping. Our problems started soon after the summit. Seems the soup gave us incredible gas. It hurt so bad I thought I was giving birth. All afternoon, we farted.

More rain making the trail even that more treacherous

Our plan was to pass Osgood tentsite and head directly for Pinkham Notch. But our going over the rocks was very slow, sometimes only a mile per hour. When we reached the campsite, we found it full anyway. The register was in the privy but it didn’t look like northbounders had signed in.

The last 5 miles were down and flat. Ended up getting to the Visitor Center by 6:30pm. A long time AT hiker, Lone Wolf, was there waiting for a southbounder. While "the barn" was our first choice, "Hikers’ Paradise" would come and get us.

Bruce drove us into Gorham, all the while giving us a running commentary on the towns’ businesses like restaurants. The hostel is really two upstairs apartments at the Colonial Comfort Inn. Mostly southbounders in residence. The surprise came when I found out the Dutch couples I’d met outside of Hanover were sharing the apartment they had assigned to us.

Billy Goat and I showered and headed out for food and beer. But not several blocks from the hostel we got caught in a downpour. We sat it out on a bench of another motel. Had a "stomper", 192 square inches of pizza, and desert at Mr. Pizza. Billy Goat later had a pint of Ben and Jerry’s but could still eat more. Talked to the Dutch about another walk in Europe that leads to the church at Santiago de Compostello in Spain. Sounds like another adventure to add to my list. I went to bed late while Billy Goat fell asleep on the couch watching TV.