Day 45: Hanover, NH to Little Residence in Lyme, NH (17.4 mi)
Gregg (trail angel host) gave us a ride to Hanover where we had gotten off the trail yesterday and we continued walking through the town to the co-op where we used the bathrooms and Fresh Feet got coffee. We realized that Fresh Feet forgot the toiletries bag at Gregg’s House! Noooooo! Luckily, Gregg came back and picked him up and drove him back and forth to get it, while I did some catching up on the blog at the co-op. This put us starting 1.5 hrs later than we wanted, but temps are cool here (60s), so it’s ok.
We hit the trail finally at about 9:30 am. We started off with very gentle terrain. Some climbing, some down, some flat, but all pretty nice for the first 8-9 miles.
After 3 mile road we had our first climb up Moose Mountain. It was actually a nice climb, not too steep. The next climb after Goose Pond was steeper and longer than each of us thought it would be. Our heavy packs made us extra tired. Cliff energy chews helped us climb.
On the way down (which was much easier), we saw some Chicken of the Woods mushroom (which we’ve seen a lot), but decided to harvest some because we knew we would be able to cook it tonight in a kitchen. Our friend Chelsea Little, from RMBL (Crested Butte, CO) grew up just outside of Lyme, NH and was able to pick us up at the road crossing to Lyme!
We got to her parent’s home and took hot showers and prepared the fungi for dinner. It felt SO GOOD to sit down at a table and eat a family dinner. We had some good conversation and laughs and our hearts and bellies were once again totally full.
It was so fun to see Chelsea again! It had probably been close to 10 years! She lives in Switzerland now and just happened to be in the area today so our timing couldn’t have worked out better!
We set up our sleeping bags on the biggest most beautiful screened in porch on the back of a beautiful farmhouse built in 1830! Stayed up until about 10, so tomorrow won’t be a super early start.
Day 46: Little Residence in Lyme, NH to Beckett Brook stealth camping (14.5 mi)
We slept in! I didn’t get up until 7:15, it was amazing! We got ready and the Littles dropped us off at the trail head around 8:15. I noticed my reservoir for my Hydrapak was leaking and my pack was totally soaked. About 0.3 L had leaked out, but there was no obvious puncture in the bladder. It was seeping through the seam that holds the bladder together. Such a bummer! I transferred most of my water into my smoothie blender bottle and decided to give Hydrapak a call from the top of the mountain to see about a free replacement.
We began the gentle climb up Smarts Mountain, then it began to get steeper. The Littles told us that the last 0.6 of Smarts Mtn was very steep and covered with large slabs of rocks without much foot hold.
We got to a section that was like that, and seemed like maybe a summit, but I knew it wasn’t that difficult compared to what we’ve been climbing. Fresh Feet thought we were at the summit when we got to a nice overlook, but it turned out to only be about halfway and we still had 2.1 mi left to get to the summit.
It was pretty steep towards the summit, but it seemed like the people who maintain the trail (Dartmouth Outing Club) have done a nice job of putting in rock stairs or rebar holds into the rocks. They even built wooden steps over some of the rock slab that was too difficult to walk up. This helped tremendously because even though we had perfect weather, the rocks were all wet and slippery and totally smooth without any foot holds.
We arrived at the summit, finally, and climbed the fire tower for some spectacular views all around. Fresh Feet went to get more water and we drank our afternoon smoothies while chit chatting with some day hikers.
We pressed on and descended with another NoBo-er we hadn’t met yet, On Step. The descent was gentle and smooth with a few mud/swamp sections. At the bottom of the descent there was a beautiful brook and other hikers were swimming in it. We got water and decided to summit Mt. Cube and stealth camp at the bottom instead of calling it a day at Hexacuba Shelter. It felt too early to be done and we had good weather today, so we decided to push on even though we were pretty tired.
Mt. Cube was a great climb and in some ways more challenging than Smarts Mtn. There were a few small rock scramble parts and another false summit! It had a rocky summit (and false summit) and a lot of views. We were pretty tired at the summit and were ready to get to camp.
The descent was a little trickier than what we’ve had lately, and reminded me of some of the trickier descents we‘ve had in the past. We finally got to the brook where we had read there were some tent sites and someone had already set up their tent on the shore and there didn’t really seem to be a good place to set up our tent. I got on Guthook and read the comments and someone had posted a few years ago that there were good tent spots 200 yds downstream from the trail crossing. We checked it out and sure enough it was a beautiful spot to tent.
We splashed off our bodies in the brook, made dinner (Lentils and Rice), hung our clothes up, bear bagged, set up tent, and called it a night. Tomorrow is supposed
to be rainy starting at about 4:00 pm, so hoping to get our short day (12.4 mi) done before the rain. We will stay in a shelter at the base of Mt. Moosilauke, which is the first of the White Mountains. As of today, the forecast looks clear for Thursday, so we will summit Thursday and probably encounter some slippery rocks from the Wednesday rain. We’ve had a nice dry stretch and I’m beyond grateful for it.
Day 47: Beckett Brook stealth camping to Jeffers Brook Shelter (12.4 mi)
Today was a relatively easy and short day, but my morning was plagued with uterus cramping. My period never came today and the cramps subsided, which means it will likely come full on tomorrow on our first White Mountain, Mt. Moosilauke (biggest mountain yet at nearly 5k feet).
The forecast said it was going to rain this afternoon and we got a few small drops on us as we arrived to the shelter, just in time. There was no service at the shelter, so there was no way of telling if tomorrow is still clear of rain for our summit and steep descent down Moosilauke.
We foraged Chicken of the Woods again and added it to our beans and rice meal!
The shelter and camping area is pretty crowded tonight because of the rain and the big mountain (Moosilauke). The cigarette smoking right outside the shelter is quite bothersome to me. I’m the only female. Feels strange.