What a great experience!
I've almost made it all the way through the Whites and have enjoyed almost ever moment of it! I say almost because I fell TWICE in one day! The first fall was the most epic. I fell about 10-12 feet down a giant rock slab on the trail. I thought to myself... "what fun is it always making good decisions... why not make a bad one?" so I decided to step where there was absolutely NO foothold and well, what do you know, I am barrel rolling into a cartwheel (with no hands) ultimately giving myself the most brutal dead leg on a rock and scraping up my hands a bit. Could have been worse. Wish I had a camera so you could have seen this stunt. Thankfully I did not mess up any of my gear.
... UNTIL my second fall! Which was WEAK! I literally slipped a little and sat down, only to look over and see my trekking pole cranked over a rock, literally broken on half! Thankfully REI is going to send me a new pair for free! Woot! Props to REI.
I enjoyed staying in the huts through the mountains. The huts are essentially a cabin like building that has bunk rooms and you pay an expensive amount of money to stay there. Thru-hikers essentially come up to the huts and ask to do a "work for stay" this means we work for about 30 minutes to and hour and get to sleep inside on the floor and eat the leftovers after meals. A great experience. The "croo" at each hut cooks, cleans and performs skits and educational programs for the guests. Some of the skits are quite funny. I stayed at the Madison, Lakes of the Clouds, Zealand and Galehead Huts.
I got into Madison after getting caught in a horrific lightening and wind storm. I ended up having to take a side trail around the summit of Madison (to prevent from freezing and dying), but left my pack at the hut the next morning and ran back over the summit to where I left off and then climbed back over the summit to pick up my pack at the hut to continue hiking. I am not a hardcore "purist" but I would like to have done the whole trail and not left a mile off!
I got an amazing sunset at Lakes of the Clouds Hut after going over Mount Washington on an excellent day! I was very fortunate! 6,288 feet to the top of Mt. Washington! The highest recorded wind speed was recorded up there at 231mph! It was only 40mph with gusts at 80mph when I was up there. I could only imagine that speed!
Hmmm, other things... Well I did a little extra mileage one day. I was going from the Zealand Hut to the Galehead Hut over about 6.9 miles. I left late and was taking my time. The blazes for the AT are ambiguous at times and somewhat unreliable through the Whites. I went wrong when I tried to go from memory and remembered seeing Guyot Shelter in between where I needed to go and where I started. If I had payed closer attention (mind you nothing like this had happened up to this point) I would have realized that the shelter was in fact .8 miles OFF the trail not actually in line with the trail. Therefore, when I saw the sign for the shelter I rolled that way, passed it (patting myself on the back for making good time) walked over Bond Mtn, then BondcliffMtn until it started to become time where I figured I would be at the Hut... Well, the couple that I met that had a map informed me that I was in fact on a blue blaze trail instead of a white, and that apparently I had walked OVER 3 MILES on a side trail!!! I was furious! I literally almost ran back over the mountains I had trudged over earlier frantically trying to make it to the hut in time to catch scraps from dinner. I wasn't even that frustrated about adding over 6 miles to my "easy" day, but was more upset at the fact that I might not get dinner! But, all is well because I made it in time for dinner! Hooray! I did about 13+ miles in a little less than 6 hours. Not bad considering how rough the terrain is, and that I seriously walked over at least 4 extra mountain tops. You know you have been hiking for a while when you can't tell the difference between walking over a couple "peaks" and walking over entire mountains... Good times!
I am compiling a master list of animals that I have seen and I hope to get the blog set up some way so you can see this growing list. It's been cool. Some new things I've seen have been the dark-eyed junco, common raven, White Admiral butterfly, and red-eyed vireo.
I have acquired some atrociously short shorts that shame my black running short (for those of you that are familiar with the sheer awesomeness of those shorts) and believe that I will be comfortably rocking these for quite some time in the heat on the trail. I am sure that some photo will probably leak out at some point, but please contain your enthusiasm and fan mail when they do.
I will be arriving in Hanover NH in approximately 4-5 days, so if you would like to send a letter or post card to the PO for me to read, please feel free to do so. I will post later stops in case anyone is interested in writing in the future. It is nice to hear about home and familiar things. The zip-code for Hanover, NH is 03755. You can address them to Josh Seehorn and say C/O General Delivery. Also please write "please hold for AT hiker" if you do! That goes for any future PO or address! Thanks to everyone who may take the time to write!
So on a more muscly note, my goal is to not let my arms become shrimpy and my legs be enormous, so I decided I would curl rocks as I walk! I didn't know what to do with my hands when my trekking pole broke, so I figured I would carry rock dumbbells! The best part is that I can just throw them down when I am tired of carrying them!
I wish I could write more, but alas, this post comes from my iPhone and my fingers are weary from typing! I apologize for the lack of photos, but it is not very easy with the phone. Suspense! Photos will come soon enough. Thanks for taking the time to read and keep up with my trip and I hope to write again soon!
Oh, listening to worship music and praising Jesus on a mountain top is a must do for any believer. Very powerful and wonderful!
Prayer and praise!
Amplexus "Lexus" SOBO '11
PS- welcome back to the US Rachel Bartlett! Unless something has changed, I believe you should have returned from your mission trip to Africa! I've been praying for you!
Posted 12th July 2011 by Josh Seehorn