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  1. #1

    Default Throw me your thoughts for Hanover, NH NoBo for Two Weeks

    Needing to start compiling info for 2019's 2 week trip starting out in Hanover, NH(Dartmouth College).
    Here's pretty much all I got so far, correct me if I'm wrong.

    When: August 30th thru September 15th

    Where: Hanover, NH NoBo ..... Grafton Notch, ME??? That would be 175 miles

    Who: Myself and a hiking buddy. Both in better than average but not peak physical condition.

    How:
    To Trail: Fly into Boston, and take the Dartmouth Bus to Lebanon, NH. Uber from Leb to Hanover
    To home: Grafton to Portland: Unknown but can get a shuttle if need be. Fly out of Portland, ME back to Nashville, TN.

    My unknowns:
    Is my time of year spot on? Accommodations/ sleeping locations in the whites. Curious about my daily mileage...Surely 11 MPD is manageable compared to my average MPD thus far on the trail. I do understand to expect less miles per day which is why I have decreased my MPD from 20 to 11.5
    Last edited by Gambit McCrae; 10-31-2018 at 14:40.

  2. #2
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    Your pretty much locked in to using designated sites. We can argue about stealth sites later, but better plan on using the shelters and tent platforms provided for your comfort and convivence, to say nothing about minimizing impact to this heavily used area. At the very least it gives you a base line.

    In most sections, you'll only want to go from shelter to shelter or designated tent site, which are typically 10-11 miles apart. These are spaced to be doable in a day by the average hiker. And in most cases, it will take all day. You might want to splurge on a stay at an AMC hut. Mid week after labor day you might get lucky and score a couple of bunks at Lake of the Clouds. Just give them your credit card and don't think about it

    Oh Boy, you plan to start on Labor Day weekend, the busiest weekend in the White Mountains. The trail is already full of thru hikers and add in a 1,000+ weekenders, it gets a little tight for camping spots, which are at a premium at the best of times.

    If there is anyway you can postpone for a few days, do it. You can thank me later. The trail quiets down significantly after LDW, just you and the thru hikers. Sat/Sun are the peak days.

    BTW, if you get to Gorham and think NH was hard, you ain't see nothing yet. The next 30 miles to Grafton notch are insane. There are 4 shelters and an improved tent site (privy, water) in those few miles for a reason. 4 days to do that section is common for non-thru hikers.

    You can get a bus from Gorham back to Logan airport, which would be the easiest way back home. There's no easy way out of Grafton - and no cell service. You got to remember to make the call before descending old Spec. A shuttle from there to Portland would be big bucks. It would be quicker/cheaper to get a shuttle back to Gorham and bus to Boston from there, even if it means spending the night. One of the hostels in Andover (a couple of days hike north from Grafton Notch) service that area.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Actually, you an hitch back to Gorham from Grafton Notch without too much trouble. There are always a lot of day hikers at the parking lot and most of them will be going out to Route 2 and once on RT2, there's a lot of traffic going to Gorham (nearest Walmart).
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    As said above, logistically it would be easier to end in Gorham. That would be 11-12 hiking days. Based on your other posts, you can probably go from 20mpd to 14-15mpd. I did am older and likely slower and I did Gorham to Lincoln in 6 days which is 12.5 per day last July. You will do better than 11.5. My longest day was 21.2 (slackpack over wildcats on first day) and shortest was 7.8 (Pinkham to Madison Spring Hut in crappy weather)

    Plan on staying at the Notch hostel, they are great. You can take advantage of their slack packing options.

    Another idea if you are set on Grafton Notch, would be to arrange a shuttle from Gorham and then hike back to it and catch the bus back to Boston. Rattle river hostel might do that, or Eric knows someone who does.

  5. #5

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    Although I will be starting LDW I will be starting in Hanover, and so LDW will not technically be spent in the whites.

    I have no set plans as of now. That's why I wanted to post so that I can kinda get a feel for what is realistic and what is not.

    If folks are confident in the 15 miles per day, allowing 1 zero per week would put me at 210 miles for the trip, which looks like ME17- Oquossoc, Maine would be 208 miles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    Although I will be starting LDW I will be starting in Hanover, and so LDW will not technically be spent in the whites.

    I have no set plans as of now. That's why I wanted to post so that I can kinda get a feel for what is realistic and what is not.

    If folks are confident in the 15 miles per day, allowing 1 zero per week would put me at 210 miles for the trip, which looks like ME17- Oquossoc, Maine would be 208 miles.
    from hanover to franconia notch you can do 20 per day without much difficulty. perhaps more until you get to glencliff if you're ok with pushing it a bit.yes there are two majorly difficult spots along there but theyre short and everything else around is not terrible. consistent hard doesnt start until youre most of the way to franconia notch.

    franconia notch to grafton will be up and down, but probably never 20 per day. 15 or 16 some days, 11 or 12 others. to me the biggest difference is trying to squeeze out 1 more mile or 2 is way harder than it is anywhere else.





    after rangeley it gets tough again.

  7. #7

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    Hanover IS the last stop on the Dartmouth bus from Boston; no need for an Uber from Lebanon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tiptoe View Post
    Hanover IS the last stop on the Dartmouth bus from Boston; no need for an Uber from Lebanon.
    Yep, it will drop you off at the Hanover Inn at the Hanover green.
    -My feet are my only carriage so I've got to push on through-

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    I've done as little as 7 miles and as many as 15 through New Hampshire. It really depends on how you're feeling. I thought the 12 miles from Gorham to Gentian Pond were fairly easy, especially compared to the next 18 miles. There are sections that are a very nice walks, like along Ethan Pond to Zealand Hut. But, then there are sections like Garfield Ridge trail and South Twin. Franconia Ridge us a nice walk, but South Kinsman from Rt 112 is a long, and in places, very steep climb with no views. I talked to through hikers that over-estimatedtheir abilities and under-estimated the difficulty of the section. I'd plan on 10 miles a day and be very flexible about what you can, or want to do.

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    Even though you are starting in Hanover, it will be busy. While it might not be "in the Whites", its still a very popular section of trail. Your likely end points for Sat/Sun will be at popular destination. All part of the adventure I guess.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    If folks are confident in the 15 miles per day, allowing 1 zero per week would put me at 210 miles for the trip, which looks like ME17- Oquossoc, Maine would be 208 miles.
    It's been said a million times on WB including a few times by myself, that once you get into the Whites and Southern ME there's nothing anywhere else on the AT that's comparable from a difficulty standpoint. Most of the Whites and Southern ME are a combination of very steep ascents and descents many of which are actually more rock scrambles than actual hiking (i.e. normal walking).

    For me personally, I can average 2.5 to 3 mph on most of the terrain of the AT, but I averaged 1.25 - 1.5 mph through the aforementioned part of the AT. Now I will say that I'm getting a bit older and slower so perhaps if I had hit that stuff when I was a bit younger and faster I could have done a little better. Nonetheless, I think I still would have had to drop the mileage down some.

    So anyway, my advice would be to curb your mileage expectations a bit. I have read a lot of your posts on here and I know you like to suffer (), so take my advice for what it's worth. You may even want to consider breaking the section into multiple pieces so you can see how your progress is going and adjust accordingly. I know as a fellow section hiker that this is irritating to do, but there's a lot of shuttlers up there and if you have the cash the logistics aren't a big deal.

    Also, if you have the money the huts are really nice. If you can string a few together you can even dump the pack and just carry a day pack with lunches and clothes. I did Crawford to Pinkham notches this way and it was awesome.
    JMT - 2013

  12. #12

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    Been thinking about this thread some more...

    Are my 2 options thru the whites to either shuck out big bucks every night and stay in the hut or to take a big elevation hit to go off trail to campsites?

    Is there not tenting options along the AT through here due to terrain?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    Are my 2 options thru the whites to either shuck out big bucks every night and stay in the hut or to take a big elevation hit to go off trail to campsites?
    Is there not tenting options along the AT through here due to terrain?
    1) Correct -- those are your two main options.
    2) Correct -- due to terrain, there are NOT a lot of tenting options directly on The Trail.

    The rules are spelled out here:
    https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/whi...34&recid=74405
    "Camping and fires are prohibited
    -Within 200 feet of trails...
    -In the alpine zone - where the trees are 8 feet or less."

    One could go below tree line and camp outside of designated camping areas, but it would probably be better to just go to those and save the time of looking for an ideal spot. Some of those campsites do not require a big elevation hit. There are also a few shelter along the way.

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    I'm researching the same section for early July next year-Hanover to Gorham--and will be taking my hammock instead of a tent. I don't know what you use for shelter, but I've been advised by several who have done this section that it's much *easier* to find a place to hang than a tenting spot. Phil who does the sectionhiker.com blog advises the same thing. He cites Skurka as his source of advice.

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    You can get through the Whites just staying at pay campsites and not spend big bucks, unless $10 pp is big bucks to you

    As I said earlier in the thread, 15mpd is doable, especially for an experienced 30 year old. I am 49 and and I averaged about 12.5 in iffy weather.

    Make sure you plan it so you go from Mizpah tentsite to Osgood tentsite and you will be fine. That will be a hard 15 mile day over Washington, but will set you up to avoid the huts. I don't remember any camping right off the trail in that stretch. Hopefully you will have better weather than I did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    Been thinking about this thread some more...

    Are my 2 options thru the whites to either shuck out big bucks every night and stay in the hut or to take a big elevation hit to go off trail to campsites?

    Is there not tenting options along the AT through here due to terrain?
    thats really only true of the presidential range. a quick glance at the distances between designated campsites/shelters/etc shows this, regulation on where one can disperse camp aside.
    so one night where your choice is a hut or a big descent. it may even be possible to plan around that, though its tough

  17. #17

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    There have always been legal tenting options to get through the whites except for one stretch. FYI, the referenced backcountry camping regulations (follow the link and download the 3 page brochure) are either intentionally confusing or just plain confusing. The second page lays out Leave no Trace concepts that you should follow they are not regulations they are recommendations. The third page covers the actual regulations and the actual restrictions are far less extensive then the LNT regs.

    From Glencliff, Beaver Brook Shelter, Eliza Brook Shelter, Kinsman Pond Shelter, Liberty Tentsite Garfield Shelter, Ethan Pond Shelter, Nauman tentsite gets you to near Mt Pierce. The stretch from Nauman tentsite to Mt Adams is a problem, the best option is split it up by staying at the AMC Hut at Lake of the Crowds, the other options are less good but doable. The next best is go up over Washington and take the Jewell trail. About 1 mile off the AT and a 1000 foot drop is a primitive camping spot. The softwoods are high enough that a tent can be placed under the trees. There is water coming down off the slope onto the trail just before treeline. Its not a great spot but out of the weather. The next day head over to the RMC Perch campsite or take a chance for the Valley Way tentsite. After that its a run down the Osgood trail to the Osgood tentsite and then most folks take a zero at Pinkham. Once you leave Pinkham the bigger hassle is water. There is no water on the Wildcats and the Carters so you need to tank up before you get on top of the ridges and there are legal dry camp spots on occasion along the ridge, worse case is folks make it to Carter Notch and then drop down 19 mile brook trail to legal spots on either side of the trail. Next day is Imp Shelter and the day after you are in at RT 2.

    The hassle is if you add up the days and look at the distances, most folks want to do the whites in less time and they can get out of synch with the tentsites. If you can get some car support getting a ride up Washington and slacking the ridge can really make for a nice break.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 11-28-2018 at 19:06.

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    Getting 200 feet off the trail along the AT is nearly impossible. There are a lot of other trails in the White Mountain National forest where that rule is more practical, just not along the AT. The AT is mostly going up or down steeply or going along a narrow exposed ridge line. The woods on either side of the trail can be impenetrable. Even having a Hammock isn't going to do you much good unless your down in the hardwoods below 3000 feet.

    Yes, there are a few small spots just off the trial where people have obviously used, but these are places you can't count on using.

    Plan on going from AMC tent site to tent site or shelter and you won't have a problem.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    Although I will be starting LDW I will be starting in Hanover, and so LDW will not technically be spent in the whites. I have no set plans as of now. That's why I wanted to post so that I can kinda get a feel for what is realistic and what is not.
    If folks are confident in the 15 miles per day, allowing 1 zero per week would put me at 210 miles for the trip, which looks like ME17- Oquossoc, Maine would be 208 miles.
    15 Mpd may be great to get out of Hanover but the Whites slowed me way down. Although some days were 15ners, I wouldn’t push that again. 11-12 is plenty and allows taking time to enjoy some beautiful views and spent time above tree line. The suggestion of one night in a hut (Lake of the Clouds gets my vote) is a great one! If you don’t have already, get Guthook (Even if you just get Hanover to Grafton Notch), it will help with the planning phase of a section hike. After all, that’s all a Thru Hike is, 4-5 day sections just one after another! The Barn Hiker Hostel in Gorman is also a great place to stay.

    Enjoy, the Whites always provides a wonderful, challenging, worthwhile hike!
    "gbolt" on the Trail

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  20. #20

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    Daily Mileage thru the whites I am expecting 10-12.

    Weather was kinda all over the place first 2 weeks of September in North Mass and Vermont. How will the weather be first 2 weeks thru NH? About the same? I am expecting slightly cooler due to elevation and exposure but geographically speaking will it be cooler on top of that due to being further north?

    These huts have got my gears really grinding. I do not want to reserve a spot at the lakes and then be subject to having to keep that schedule. I am sure it is, but if I had my wish, I would walk all of the whites without using a single hut, and without having to climb 1000 ft down just in order to sleep. The rocks in PA, and the mud in VT have taught me that hikers amplify the actual severity of things for most situations. I understand that some times the mud may be terrible in VT, but I proved that it is not always that way as I had no issues with mud. So are the huts similar? IF it is getting close to dark, dinner is over, will they allow hikers to (of a number more then what is doing work for stay) sleep on the floor? Or will they toss ya back out into the grueling storms of the night to survive and fend for yourself?

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