July 20, 2004
Miles To Go
July 20, 2004
Miles To Go
We put in some short but tough miles today and timed them perfectly! Paul cooked us eggs and ham, toast & coffee for breakfast than dropped us back at Pinkham Notch (thanks Paul!) We went inside to check out the AMC facility & get a weather report, neatly avoiding a 90 minute thunderstorm in the process! Even better, Skyline & Sundance showed up and we got a chance to chat and catch up with them.
The climb up Wildcat was fun but tough. Wildcat is the quintessential “Are we there yet?” mountain with five progressive summits, Wildcat A, B, C, D, and E! We caught some good views of the Presidentials across the road from the various peaks before starting the steep descent into Carter Notch. Today seemed to be Rockhound’s day to fall as he took at least 4 good tumbles!
Even though we’re 1800 miles into this adventure, the White are still new. And, compared to almost the entire trail south of us, the Whites are tough! Skyline and Sundance are from Ohio and not used to this kind of abuse. Sundance, particularly, had a tough time with the Wildcat climb. You never want to see fellow hikers suffer, but mutual suffering does bring its own form of relief!
After a brief stop at Carter Hut, we climbed up to Carter Dome without a break. I have no doubt I am in the best shape of my life now. Sore feet and sore knees, sure, but I did a 1650 ft climb over 1.2 miles with a 25 lb pack and no stopping! We were getting tired by the time we hit Zeta Pass so we found a stealth site and crashed.
I am so glad we are past the AMC hut system. They do great things for families, kids, and education. I know the huts are a huge fundraiser for the AMC too. But they put thru-hikers in a really tough position! Rather than hike 7am to 6pm through the Whites like we do everywhere else, we have to stop early to secure “work-for-stay” permission from the hut croo. We then work for an hour, wait around while all the guests eat and then eat ourselves. We don’t get the same food as the guests—just the leftovers. The breakfast bacon is gone, the greens are gone; it’s not the good stuff, trust me! We sit aside again until the guests have gone to bed, then get less than 7 hours sleep on the tables before the croo starts cooking breakfast and we get out of the way until breakfast is done, then again we get the scraps.
I have been a member of the AMC for 8 years, but I tell you this is crap. Only in the AMC/White Mountains are the thru-hikers treated like second class citizens. Give us a shelter or two, a place where we belong!