The Presidentials? Check.

7 Aug

It has been an incredible week for Emily and I. After a “zero” day in Gorham we headed into the infamous White Mountains last Monday. We knew it would be a tough section of trail and it lived up to the hype. Consistent large climbs (several thousand feet at a time) were followed by knee-breakingly steep downhills. However the beautiful views and great weather made it an amazing 7 days. After all the health issues (and porcupine issues), we were finally able to get consistent mileage, which had been our goal. We did anywhere from 8-15 miles a day, depending on terrain and mental/physical energy. We stayed at tentsites each night, choosing to avoid the huts which require a $90/person fee or a few hours of work if you are up for sleeping on the floor. Emily and I agreed we work enough in our “real” lives and chose to camp instead.

Instead of a day-by-day, here are some highlights and lowlights of the week:

Highlights:

*The huts. There are 8 huts spread throughout the White Mountains run by Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). They are beautiful buildings, some dating back to 1915. They each have their own design and personality and are run by a croo that cooks breakfast and dinner each day, in addition to some delicious baked goods. Lucky thru hikers that time their visits well can often get free pancakes if you show up after the guests get breakfast (we got this once!). We bought many baked goods, including gingerbread, pumpkin bread and double chocolate brownies, which were all amazing. The huts also have potable water and clean bathrooms, both of which we took advantage of as much as possible!

*Mount Washington. This famous mountain had loomed in front of us for days before we had the opportunity to summit it. We were able to take it on as part of our presidential traverse, a tough 15 mile day that included most of the big mountains around Washington. The summit itself was very reasonable- the trail was graded nicely and there were endless day hikers. Even so, Emily and I both had a bit of culture shock when we reached the top. There were hundreds of tourists, cars, and a cograil. So. Many. People. However this didn’t stop us from beelining immediately to the cafeteria and hoovering piles of chili dogs and pizza. Yum!

Lowlights:

*Carter Dome fall. On our second day in the Whites I took a huge fall while descending off Carter Dome on the way to Carter Hut. I was feeling good, listening to my iPod and descending a little too fast when I fell and hit a huge rock hard and fast. Emily and I have fallen a lot during this trip, but this one felt different. I was immediately panicked, afraid my biggest fear had come true- a hike-ending injury. It hurt badly and the scrape along my shin was bloody and ugly. I started crying. A lot. And freaking out. A lot. Luckily my trail partner/personal trauma nurse was on the scene quickly to assess my leg, reassure me that nothing was broken, hand me plenty of ibuprofen and Tylenol and wrap my calf. After a rough half mile descent to the shelter, I was able to see things more clearly and continue hiking after a nice break and lunch. The pain didn’t go away for several days and the scrape is still colorful enough to elicit offers of neosporin from random women but I am ok!

*Our knees. Over the past week we have taken on some ridiculous downhills. Seemingly 90 degree angles, wet, muddy slick rocks and steep stairs have left our knees almost cartilage-free. Unfortunately ibuprofen only helps so much, but we are hopeful for the flat(er) terrain that awaits us soon!

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2 Responses to “The Presidentials? Check.”

  1. Jim Wentzel August 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    Yipes! Re: fall. I’ve read that rubbing chili dogs into raw wounds can speed healing. Sounds like you’ve opted to eat the chili dogs rather than speed your healing process, whatevs.

    Those huts sound like a sight for sore eyes indeed. Free pancakes! I thought free pancakes were imaginary, like unicorns. You’ll have to bring one home from the trail so we can gaze upon this natural wonder.

    p.s. What happens when you wolf chili dogs and pizza? F-A-R-T-S.

  2. Mike Carr August 8, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    Glad you are making progress. Stay on your feet girls. Hope to see you down the trail soon!

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