15 – New Hampshire

New Hampshire hosts about 151 miles of the Appalachian Trail, beginning when one crosses the Connecticut River into Hanover.  Shortly thereafter the trail enters the White Mountains, and covers  portions of the Presidential Range and New Hampshire’s final tough mountains, the Wildcats.

There is a lot of scenic beauty on the AT in this state, but it can be dreadful in bad weather as much of the trail lies above treeline.  It can be miserable hiking some of these ridgelines when the weather turns blustery, cold and wet.

In New Hampshire, the Appalachian Mountain Club (or AMC) maintains about 120 miles of the trail, and in much of this section, hikers are not permitted to camp except at designated sites (many of which require an overnight fee) or they may stay at AMC huts.  These huts are NOT rustic; registered guests pay around $90 per night to stay.  They have bunkrooms, private rooms, toilets and sinks (no showers), and the cost includes dinner and breakfast.  Most thru-hikers avoid these huts due to the high cost, unless they can arrange “work-for-stay” (or WFS), a simple arrangement whereby the hiker provides a couple hours of work (such as washing dishes) in exchange for leftover meals and a spot to sleep on the floor of the common dining room.  We managed WFS twice; once we were refused as we hadn’t hiked far enough that day (BAH!!! In sideways rain and 50 mph winds, isn’t 7.1 miles enough when that’s all you can do in ten hours?).  Many thru-hikers strongly detest the AMC for controlling the accommodations along the AT here.  While the AMC maintains that the huts serve the purpose of minimizing impact on the environment, many feel that AMC’s real purpose of the huts is a revenue source for the AMC.  Judge for yourself, but one can easily see that structures of such magnitude make permanent scars on the landscape.  Simple lean-tos and tent platforms serve hikers quite well elsewhere (and don’t cost hikers $90 per night!).  Then again, without the folks at Zealand Falls Hut, what would we have done when CLiCK! reinjured her ankle?  The staff there let her ice it with a bag of frozen peas, and we met Barry there, who gave us a long ride to a town and back so CLiCK! could get an aircast and continue hiking. Whether one likes the philosophy or not, there are some good people working at and staying at the AMC huts!

We re-met Scott and June in New Hampshire; we originally met them in Tennessee where they were section-hiking.  We met and became friends with fellow thru-hiker Chainsaw, who had started around the same time as us back in March.  We hiked for several days with Chainsaw, out of New Hampshire and through a good portion of Maine.

We did not see any moose in New Hampshire, though their evidence was everywhere.  I did encounter the Moosilauke Monster, however, and survived to talk about it!

Enjoy these pictures – remember, you can click on a picture to enlarge it, and scroll left and right through the full-size pictures in the collection.


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