Gorham, almost to Maine

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I am the walrus, coo coo cuchoo.

We made it through the white mountain national forest! All sorts of people have been warning us about the difficulty of the whites for several months, and boy were they right. This has been the most strenuous section of trail we have encountered yet, and the drop in our daily mileage reflects that. However, with the increased difficulty came increased beauty, and the views from above treeline have been exquisite.

This park is unique in that it contains a system of fully staffed huts that provide shelter for hikers, and a nice place to eat and spend the night. They are basically very expensive cabins, but thru-hikers have a chance to do a work for stay each night. Kat and snorlax and I took advantage of this option, and hopped from hut to hut. We washed dishes, swept the bunkrooms, scoured pans, and stacked firewood, in exchange for a dry place to sleep and leftover food.

I was told I should expect to lose five pounds through the whites, but due to the hospitality of hut staff, and the generosity of day and section hikers, I think I came through about five pounds heavier, with an extra day and a half of food.

Once we got to Gotham, we reconnected with hustle, flow, tinder, and birch. The whites are over, but we have been told that the section from here to Andover is the toughest of the whole trail. Whatever, I have my crew with me. We’ll be in Maine in two days. Bring it on!

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New Hampshire: Into the Whites

Kat and I are a few days into New Hampshire, and are just a short distance from the southern edge of the White Mountain National Forest. We were delayed slightly in Hanover, at first by the amazing food and generous people, later by Kat’s cold, but we’re feeling good and are ready to take on our biggest challenge yet. The park begins with a technical climb and descent over Mt. Moosilauke, which we will be tackling today.

Last night we stayed at the Hikers Welcome Hostel in Glencliff, which was an interesting experience. This is a converted house and yard that has modern amenities disguised behind a rustic appearance. After completing our resupply, we joined the other hikers in enjoying the hostel’s expansive DVD collection, watching The Inlaws, Beer fest, and Super Troopers.

With that last dose of civilization, we head back into the wilderness. From here on, accessible towns become fewer and farther between, and the definition of town must be broadened. Today is our five month hike-iversary, and we hope to finish in 30 days. Wish us luck, here we go!

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End of Vermont

Hey everybody. Kat and I, and the rest of the rough riders are staying with a cool guy named Warren, about a mile and a half shy of the New Hampshire border. Since last update we climbed Mt Killington, which is a big resort mountain in Vermont, and for the adventure we decided to “sky-blaze”, taking a free-for-hikers ride down their gondola.

After taking care of some chores at the outfitter, and picking up an amazing mail drop (thanks mom) we got picked up by Hustle and Flow’s family friends. Lee and Anna put us up for the night, and fed us expertly. After an awesome nearo, we got back on trail and continued to push forward.

The other highlight of this stretch was celebrating Tinder’s birthday at the Lookout cabin, of which I inexplicably have no pictures. This was a cool private cabin that’s open to hikers, and the unique feature is an observation deck on the roof. We shared the birthday cake that we hiked out, and stayed up for the best star watching of the trip to date.

Today we will probably spend the day taking a culinary tour of Hanover, and doing our chores. More to come. Two states left!!

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Camp cooking

It’s official, I have peaked. The culinary masterpiece of my life has been created, and it has taken the form of an enormous sandwich.

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To recreate this work of art, start with half of an artisan loaf of four cheese bread from the bakery section of your grocery store. Lay the bottom slice on a sheet of aluminum foil and add:

- one layer of cracker barrel aged reserve Cheddar cheese
– one layer of bridgeford pepperoni
– one layer of deli ham
– another layer of pepperoni
– another layer of cheddar cheese
– a layer of chopped green pepper

And finish with the top slice of bread, coated with a Frank’s hot sauce packet.  Wrap that sucker in two layers of foil to allow for even heating, “panini press” it flat with a rock, or rock-like object, and place directly on coals, flipping and rotating frequently.

I wanted to come up with an original name for this sandwich, and since it is large, and since my name is macgyver, I call it the “Big Mac”. I have to do some research to make sure that isn’t already copyrighted, but I think I should be fine.

In other news, Vermont is shaping up to be a beautiful state. The mud has persisted, but rodent problems have diminished. There have been some spectacular views from fire towers, from which we caught a sunset and sunrise. The only complaints I have are the combination of rainy weather, and the density of people on this section of trail. In addition to the large Nobo bubble, there are now Sobos, Long Trail hikers, section hikers, and several large college freshman orientation groups to contend with for shelter space. It makes me wonder about conditions for thru-hikers next year, with the normal increase in hiker numbers, and the potential mainstream popularity increase of the trails with two big hiking movies coming out.

But we are hiking with our buddies, and the other folks in our bubble are great as well. Ultimately, I am still having a blast, and would trade this muddy, buggy, exhausting experience for anything. We are just shy of killington, VT, and soon we will only have two states to go. I’m pumped, let’s do this!!

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Vermont, a tale of mice and mud

We are down to our last three states! Mount Graylock was a spectacular way to end Massachusetts, but the temperature dropped on us, drastically. It was close to 40 degrees up on the mountain, and it tested all of us with our summer gear. We should be picking up our cold weather stuff again in a week or so.

Vermont is cool so far, with some nice views, and decent weather. Unfortunately, the trail has largely turned to mud. And chipmunks and mice have been rampant. At the first shelter, almost everyone had holes chewed in their food bags.

We took our first hotel night in a long time, stopping in Bennington, VT. Sorting out our resupply, and pushing on today, after binging on internet access.

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Massachusetts

We made it to Massachusetts! All six of the ruff ryders are hiking together now, and we’re having fun. Since Salisbury, we did some road walking, and stayed at the east mountain retreat center, where visitors practice a vow of silence. There we celebrated Odysseus’ birthday with a pizza party.

After that, we got sucked into Upper Goose Pond Cabin for two days. This is a free cabin that houses 14 hikers on bunks, and many more on the floors or in tents, and provides free pancake breakfast. They also have canoes and kayaks for the pond, and board games and puzzles to pass time. We holed up there for the rain, and lived almost like people for a time.

Once we finally escaped the comforts of the cabin, we hiked into Dalton to tent in Tom Levardi’s back yard. Last night we hitched to the Old Country Buffet, and got our money’s worth. Tomorrow we start the mountains, beginning with Graylock.

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Introduction

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Hi, my name is Macgyver, but you might also know me as Macaroni, Mac, or Terminator. I’m a smelly thru-hikers who has hiked 1495.3 miles of the Appalachian Trail, currently in the town of Salisbury, CT.

I enjoy:
Long walks in the woods
Showers
Doing laundry
Roofs
And food

My dislikes include:
Long walks in the woods
Mosquitoes
Rain
Mosquitoes
Chaffing
And mosquitoes

But really, the bugs have gotten so much worse in the last week and a half. It’s nice getting back into some mountains after so much time on flattish ground, but these bloodsuckers make it almost not worth it.

It’s been a while, so here’s a quick recap. New Jersey was way more beautiful than I expected. We saw tons of wildlife there. New York offered some cool views, and two of the most amazing zeroes I have taken. We got some awesome trail magic and support from up and coming trail angels (thanks Scott and Kath!) Connecticut has had some more cool trail magic, cute little towns, and pretty trails, but lots of mosquitoes.

More updates soon.

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