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  1. #1
    Registered User Seabird's Avatar
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    Default Yet anothere SOBO looking for help planning for the whites...

    Looking in my guide and companion, I see no camping/shelter options between the Imp Campsite (306.3 miles from Katahdin) and the Osgood tent site (324.1 miles from Katahdin) aside from Carter Notch Hut, where I can't count on work-for-stay or even availability- I don't want to make that expensive a reservation when I don't know exactly when I'm getting there, in case I take an unplanned zero at literally any point earlier on the trail or am ahead of schedule. The elevation profiles are starting to get a bit intimidating, and I know that my mileage is definitely going to drop in the Whites, so I'm really rather leery of trying for 18 miles that day. What other options do I have? Another thread here mentioned possibly staying at a ski area- if this is possible, where is it? Would getting a shuttle back to Gorham at Pinkham notch be a better idea? That's only 13 or so miles from imp campsite...
    Or maybe those 18 miles aren't so bad- the last five or so look particularly manageable, and if there's good weather the scenery is likely to be gorgeous enough to be motivating.

    Any advice on this particular section?

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    You could try work for stray at Dodge Camp/Pinkham or hitch to Dolly Sod CG just down the road. Trail down Wildcat is a scramble. There are also a few legal stealth sites in the area.

  3. #3
    Registered User Seabird's Avatar
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    After proofreading my entire post I have a typo in the thread title. *facepalm*

    Thanks for the advice, Mountain Mike- this really emphasizes I need to get myself maps for the whites to get an idea of the area around the AT so I can know about those possibilities!

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    Check out http://www.outdoors.org/ The AMC website. Check out their shuttles & consider skipping around in bad weather. For maps try this online topo map http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap...streetview=off

  5. #5

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    I like the Nat Geo map, use it often. Yea that section between Imp and Osgood is tricky. As MM said, there are som spots of the lower trail to camp. Carter Notch Hut obviously would be a good option. There are some spots at a junction of teh AT and 19 Mile Brook Trail

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Mike View Post
    You could try work for stray at Dodge Camp/Pinkham or hitch to Dolly Sod CG just down the road. Trail down Wildcat is a scramble. There are also a few legal stealth sites in the area.
    Dolly Copp. We wouldn't want him hitching to West Virginia.

  7. #7
    Registered User Grampie's Avatar
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    During my thru I hiked the White's SOBO like this. Spent the night at Imp Shelter outside of Gorham. Hike 7.2 miles to Carter Hut. Spent the night after a work for stay. Hiked 9.9 miles and camped at the west branch of the Peabody River. Hiked to Madison Hut, worked for stay. Hiked 7 miles to Madison over Mt. Washington. Hiked 14.1 miles to Eathon Pond Shelter. Hiked 14.5 miles to Garfield Ridge Shelter. The next day hiked 9.7 miles and hitched into Woodstock. I had great weather. Bad weather might had changed the way I did it.
    Grampie-N->2001

  8. #8
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    The legal options to camp along the ridgeline are poor as the majority is dense spurce/fir. Many folks camp in restricted use areas and take their chances but the area around Carter Notch gets a lot of enforcement. Basically to be legal you need to drop off the ridge to the east via a trail until you find woods open enough to camp and possibly carry water. I have see some folks try to find spots that meet the regs between South Carter and Zeta Pass. The trail walks right across the top of the ski area, there are plenty of grassy areas with great views on on the slopes, unfortunately there is no reliable water so you will need to lug it up from Carter Notch or take your chances you may find a puddle along the ridge

    There is open hardwoods between Pinkham and the great gulf, you need to be careful as camping is banned in the Cutler River drainage so you need to go past Pinkham until you get into another drainage.

    What most southbounders do is stay in Gorham or Shelburne and slackpack the entire ridge in one day from RT 2 to RT 16 (near Pinkham notch) and hitch back to Gorham. I think the hostel in Shelburne may do a shuttle to Pinkham and then you would hike back. I dont recomend this to section hikers but you will be in shape having gone through western maine and the mahoosucs. There is no terrain any worse in the whties than what you have just gone through. I suggest you do an easyu day zero the day before and plan one the day after. IMHO there are two really nasty spots, the climb up North Carter from Imp shelter and the ascent down off wildcat to RT 16, there are other short steep sections but these two points at the beginning. and end of the day. Dont strees the hitch, lot of traffice between Pinkham and Gorham. Just hang out at the Pinkham exit and I woudl be surprised if you dont get a ride in 10 to 15 minutes.

    General advice is most thru hikers condsider the whites the most spectacular section of the trail, dont get caught up in the gotta make miles mentaility and plan your days to have short miles so you can enjoy the area if the weather is nice. If the weather is bad consider a zero as hiking for hours above treeline in the rain and wind is miserable at best and dangerous at worse. There are sort of options to do slackapcking and if you get lucky you may want find someone that may shuttle you (used to be someone at the Birches hostel in Shelburne).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post

    What most southbounders do is stay in Gorham or Shelburne and slackpack the entire ridge in one day from RT 2 to RT 16 (near Pinkham notch) and hitch back to Gorham. I think the hostel in Shelburne may do a shuttle to Pinkham and then you would hike back... Dont strees the hitch, lot of traffice between Pinkham and Gorham. Just hang out at the Pinkham exit and I woudl be surprised if you dont get a ride in 10 to 15 minutes.

    General advice is most thru hikers condsider the whites the most spectacular section of the trail, dont get caught up in the gotta make miles mentaility and plan your days to have short miles so you can enjoy the area if the weather is nice. If the weather is bad consider a zero as hiking for hours above treeline in the rain and wind is miserable at best and dangerous at worse. There are sort of options to do slackapcking and if you get lucky you may want find someone that may shuttle you (used to be someone at the Birches hostel in Shelburne).

    Agreed, this would be a good section to slack or just do a single overnight at Imp and hitch back into Gorham. Easy hitch. Also, peakbagger makes a very insightful point, don't stress the whites. Hike to Gorham and get an idea about what you're up against, talk to other thru hikers and see what info they have, then plan the whites. Heck, Maine is tough and ya may not even make it out of there...and if you do, your plans will probably change.

    *note: 2005 PCT Kick-off party. Winner of the most useless gear competition... somebody's itinerary.
    * Warning: I bite AND I do not play well with others! -hellkat-

  10. #10
    Registered User lumberjaime's Avatar
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    I know several other posters are from the area, but I'd like to add my voice as last summer's caretaker at Imp Campsite. First: Stay at Imp! It is beautiful, and it allows you to have a nice day out of Gorham including a swim at the Rattle River Shelter. The next day, you have a couple options. What I think is the best is to strive to get over the Wildcats (its a bit of a long day, but totally worth it) and camp along the mile of trail between the bottom of the Wildcat Ridge and the Rt 16 crossing. When SOBOs are going through, you shouldn't have a problem with water, and as long as you camp farther than 1/2 from the road (not an issue) there is plenty of flat space for tents, and trees for hanging. If you are doing well on time, you can even cross the road, get a meal at Pinkham, and camp along the Old Jackson Road trail. You should also know that you CANNOT get work for stay at the Joe Dodge Lodge.

    Planning to stay at Osgood is a little tricky, as the next ~15 miles are above treeline. Immediately south on the AT from Osgood, you start climbing Madison, and its a HELL of a climb. Not fun to face first thing in the morning. Plus, starting the day at Osgood usually puts people somewhere between Lakes and Mizpah Huts around quitting time, where it is totally impossible to camp. So, if you start closer to Pinkham, you can warm up a bit before climbing Madison and it sets you up well for spending the night in the famous Dungeon.

    Overall, people seemed to really like the idea of camping somewhere near Pinkham/RT 16. The slack pack is also popular, but I think that area is FAR too beautiful to push almost 20 mpd, especially when you'll only have been on the trail for about a month.

    Happy Hiking!
    Righeous
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  11. #11
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post

    There is open hardwoods between Pinkham and the great gulf, you need to be careful as camping is banned in the Cutler River drainage so you need to go past Pinkham until you get into another drainage.
    .

    I stand to be corrected, but if a southbounder passes Pinkham Notch's AMC facility and follows the AT along what is also known as "The Old Jackson Road" the Cutler River Drainage (with its camping restriction) is to the left side of the Trail only. At least that is what is shaded on the AMC maps as the drainage.

    So why can't you camp along the right side of the Trail in tat stretch, just so long as you are 1/4 mile away from the AMC and 1/4 mile away from the auto road?

    I know it doesn't "feel" legal there, but I really think it is-- regardless of what some in the AMC might tell you if you were to ask.

    That said, I'd definitely listen to Peakbagger if he considers my comments and thwn concludes that I am wrong (he seems to be a great source of info for all thing Whites).

  12. #12
    Registered User lumberjaime's Avatar
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    peakbagger or Chaco, chime in if you think otherwise, but camping to the E (SOBOs right) of the Old Jackson Road is allowed once you pass the Crew Cut (about .25 miles from Pinkham) as long as you observe other WMNF camping regulations. I've never heard anyone having an issue with that.

    Another thing to consider is that there has been pretty significant bear activity in the vicinity of Pinkham over the past few years. Due to the volume of food and trash located in and around the facility, the bears know what they're looking for. If you decide to camp in the area, be VERY intentional about storing your food. This is another plus of using AMC facilities, as all of the backcountry sites are now equipped with bear boxes.
    Righeous
    AT SOBO '13

    Montani Semper Liberi-
    Mountaineers are always free

  13. #13
    Registered User AngryGerman's Avatar
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    Option 1: Slack pack from Gorham to Pinkham Notch and ask the folks at the White Mountain Lodge and Hostel to shuttle you back to Gorham after your slack pack. By the time you reach Gorham you should be able to slack pack that in 8-10hrs. Option 2: walk the 15 miles from Gorham to Carter Notch and ask for a "work for stay"; try and arrive around 4-5pm. The Hut Crew there last year rocked w/ Ben Eagen as a Hut Master. There is quite a bit of exploring to do at this hut as well, food for thought. Option 3: there is a couple stealth sites just past the hut going up Wild Cat E if the "work for stay does" not materialize for you. Option 4: Imp Campsite is halfway to Carter from Gorham; stay there and clear the Wild Cats the following day, stealth camp on that mile stretch to Pinkham notch and the following day hike to Madison Hut. There are countless options and I highly recommend you weighing all of those while you nero or zero in Gorham. Also, all the caretakers and most of the Hut Crews are wicked cool and if you act decent, don't act entitled, they will usually let you "work for stay". Tips also go along way, establishing your care and thanks, even though you can't afford a hut stay don't be afraid to throw them a bone. Good luck!

  14. #14
    Registered User Unitic's Avatar
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    There were a couple of good stealth spots just past Carter Notch. I think I did a couple of 14 mile+ days in the Whites and the rest were in the 10-12 range. Crossed them in 8 days of absolutely perfect August weather (one slightly blustery day from Osgood to Lake of the Clouds.

  15. #15
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    We camped just before Pinkham notch on the east side of Lost Lake, right off the trail. Lots of sights about 1/4 mile before the road. We were directed there by the guys at the visitor center at Pinkham (we got to Pinkham, asked and they directed us back north 1/4 mile), so even though they may be technically illegal, they endorse camping there at Pinkham.

    So our camps for 7 nights were, heading south from Gorham (US2): Imp, Pinkham (as above), Perch Shelter on Israel ridge (pain in the butt, 0.9 miles off the AT), Mizpah hut, Zealand falls hut, Garfield Ridge shelter, Lonesome Lake hut. Worked fine for us, averaged about 12-14 miles a day.

  16. #16
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    Beaver Brook, Eliza Brook, Kinsman, Liberty Spring, Garfield, Ethan Pond, Imp, Rattle River shelter/tent sites are all right on the AT.

    Guyot and The Perch are both a good ways off the AT and off the ridge. There's a small charge at a few of these, $5 last time I got hit up.

    Haven't been there in ages but Imp shelter had one of the best views in the Whites and was large and roomy.

    Once you get to Imp Shelter (nobo) you're clear of the AMC huts though you still have the AMC campsite at Speck Pond.

    There's no point trying to avoid the mess at Pinkham Notch unless you're really short of money. You walk right by it. It's a bit like NOC minus the kayaks, it's got food, supplies, showers, dorms, shuttles, etc. and hordes of weekend warriors. It's also got an eerie plaque on the wall bearing the names of people who've died on the Presidential Ridge.

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