Welcome to the AppalachianTrailCafe.net!
Take a moment and register and then join the conversation

Stalking Tortoise & Smoking Sox Section Hike #35 - Crawford Notch to Pinkham Notch

    This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to our Cookie Policy.

    • Wednesday, September 4th

      There was a buzz through the hut last evening about rain showers hitting the mountains as early as this morning. During breakfast, the croo read the latest forecast from the weather observatory and I've never seen a more attentive audience. Chances for rain increasing through the day with the possibility of heavy showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Winds at 40 - 50 mph with gusts to 70 mph at the summit of Mt/ Washington. OK... the race was on to finish the 1.7 miles from the hut over Mt. Madison and onto the safety of the treeline on the far side. I was in such a hurry to depart that I left my mini headlamp on a hook next to my bunk. :evil:

      I've hiked in 40 mph winds before and got knocked over by a sudden gust. Hiking in 50 mph winds over an exposed summit was somewhere between exhilarating and terrifying. I followed two older gentlemen up to the summit, taking my time so I didn't overheat inside my rain jacket. Taking pictures was an adventure - my poles were swinging wildly from their straps and my arms had a hard time holding the camera steady. Any pack item or piece of clothing that didn't fit like a sausage casing was fluttering madly in the breeze. I found out later that Sox had lost a water bottle, bandanna and a knit hat during his crossing of Mt. Madison. He felt the hat slipping off his head and it was already 40 yards away when he tried to grab it.





      Just past the summit, a light rain started pelting us. Now the rocks were wet in addition to fighting the wind. The open ridgeline stair-stepped its way to the east, bringing us closer to treeline with every treacherous step. I had many stumbles but only one fall - a slow pirouette ending with a gentle landing on my pack. I thought it was quite graceful but the Russian judge only gave me a 5.8. Once again, Sox had started before me but somehow got behind me. This time, he admitted to following two guys on a side trail from the summit. After a short descent, he checked his location in the Guthook app and realized his error. Being the nice guy that he is, he called out to the other two hikers and kept them from going any further off the AT. Getting below treeline was a major accomplishment - we still had 6.1 miles to Pinkham Notch but we were out of the elements.

      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, Max Patch to Franconia Notch NH and the Gale River Trail to Pinkham Notch NH.
    • The profile map did not hide the fact that we were facing a steep and long descent to the Osgood Tentsite. Still, we hadn't planned on how much the wind and exertion over Mt. Madison would slow us down. I left the hut at 07:55, crossed the summit at 08:41, and arrived at the tent sites by 11:59. That's 3 miles in four hours. ;( I should have taken a longer break to refuel and rest, but rain began to fall. 45 minutes later, I heard the first of several thunder claps.



      The remaining 4.8 miles should have taken me 3 hours max based on the terrain and trail conditions. They took me 3:45. The guidebook had said "Cross the Mt. Washington Auto Road and follow the Old Jackson Road." Well, the first part of the Old Jackson Road was nothing more than a rocky footpath. Eventually, it did open up to something worthy of the 'road' descriptor.



      I was wiped when the Pinkham Notch Visitors Center / Joe Dodge Lodge came into view.





      My first order of business was to retrieve my care package from the Visitors Center. Next up was check-in to my room at the lodge. When they assigned me room 217 (Blueberry Room), I half-jokingly asked if they had an elevator. Did I mention that I was half wiped out?
      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, Max Patch to Franconia Notch NH and the Gale River Trail to Pinkham Notch NH.
    • Yesterday, as we were working our way towards Mt. Adams and Mt. Madison, we could see the Wildcats, Carter Notch and Carter Dome. Our slower-than-usual hiking pace had us concerned about those pesky 15.2 miles from the Carter Notch Hut to Route 2 east of Gorham. We agreed to research some of the bail-out trails in case our pace was bot good enough to finish the hike by sunset on Friday. I bought a new headlamp from the Visitors Center so I would be prepared.

      Our rooms at the Lodge included dinner and breakfast. Both were supposed to be cafeteria-style but we lucked into three tables of student groups - one of which was with us the previous evening at Madison Hut. We were served family-style and there were only six of us at our table. The combination of a hot shower, dry clothes, a glass (or two) of Manhattan cocktail and a hearty dinner had me excited to knock off the next 5.9 miles to Carter Notch Hut.

      Sox and I retired to the Library in the Joe Dodge Lodge to review trail maps and finish the bottle of Manhattans before going to bed. I took advantage of the WiFi to place a Skype call to my wife. As soon as her image appeared on my phone, I knew there was trouble at home. She was obviously in a hospital room and I could hear my father-in-law in the background. So much for 5.9 miles and bail-out trails... She didn't have to say much - I could see the stress in her face and told her I'd be home by Thursday evening.

      Pinkham Notch Visitors Center and Cafeteria


      Joe Dodge Lodge


      I did 'demo' a boot dryer in the Lodge which was a nice amenity and hung all my gear to dry with the room heater cranked on high while we were at dinner. Everything dried well, but my room smelled like wet hiker socks. Good thing it wasn't too cool overnight so I could sleep with the window open.
      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, Max Patch to Franconia Notch NH and the Gale River Trail to Pinkham Notch NH.
    • Thursday September 5th

      Not much to say other than I took another shower, packed up, and grabbed breakfast with Sox in the cafeteria. Rattle River Hostel does a daily 07:30 shuttle run to Pinkham Notch so I called and confirmed we could catch a ride back to pick up Sox's vehicle. By 10:30, I was in my own vehicle and heading for Central PA. Picked up my dog at the sitter's place and got home by 19:30.

      Lessons Learned:

      I carried more pack weight than I would have liked, but it's because I gave respect to the mountain environment. I wasn't going to be 'that guy' shivering on the trail because I packed for summer weather. I also carried too much food for snacking and lunches. Part of the problem was not stopping to eat. The other part was not wanting to eat what I packed.

      All in all, it was a good hike. My pre-hike workouts definitely helped with the leg strength. The Huts were convenient and made the traverse that much easier. Yeah... they're not cheap, but this was more or less a vacation for me.

      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, Max Patch to Franconia Notch NH and the Gale River Trail to Pinkham Notch NH.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by StalkingTortoise ().

    • I think I might contact the AMC about the shells meal. It was the only meal I did not enjoy. You pay that much and there ought to be some meat. Fortunately I knew what the main dish was (or more importantly was NOT), so I loaded up on soup, salad, and bread.
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • StalkingTortoise wrote:

      Lessons Learned:

      I carried more pack weight than I would have liked, but it's because I gave respect to the mountain environment. I wasn't going to be 'that guy' shivering on the trail because I packed for summer weather. I also carried too much food for snacking and lunches. Part of the problem was not stopping to eat. The other part was not wanting to eat what I packed.

      All in all, it was a good hike. My pre-hike workouts definitely helped with the leg strength. The Huts were convenient and made the traverse that much easier. Yeah... they're not cheap, but this was more or less a vacation for me.


      Glad the pre-hike workouts paid dividends. :)
      The Whites are not an easy or forgiving place to hike.
      But the views are great and you did a better job of capturing and sharing it then I did. :thumbup:

      Looking at that image you can see why coming down Madison is much tougher than climbing it. And it does not show the endless rock scramble and exposure. :S
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Astro ().

    • I used the tracking function on my inReach for this hike so my wife could tell if I was hiking or taking a nap. I like the track overlays on the aerial maps as it shows the areas above treeline.

      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, Max Patch to Franconia Notch NH and the Gale River Trail to Pinkham Notch NH.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by StalkingTortoise ().

    • Astro wrote:

      I think I might contact the AMC about the shells meal. It was the only meal I did not enjoy. You pay that much and there ought to be some meat. Fortunately I knew what the main dish was (or more importantly was NOT), so I loaded up on soup, salad, and bread.
      Soaking up the soup with the bread... Winning!

      Looking back, the dinner menu schedule looks like it was:

      Sunday - pasta
      Monday - beef
      Tuesday - vegetarian? (bean enchiladas)
      Wednesday - chicken

      One thing I forgot to mention. As we were lounging in overstuffed leather chairs in the library of the Joe Dodge Lodge enjoying our Manhattans, a flip-flop Thru Hiker couple stopped in for a break. Sox and I gave them all of our unwanted leftover food. After a bit, they looked around and figured that they could snag a free shower since there wasn't a hall monitor checking room keys at the bathroom door. After showers, they looked around a bit and figured they could stealth camp in the conference room attached to the library. Oh to be young and bold...

      Did y'all know that you can't ship alcohol to yourself in your Joe Dodge Lodge care package? It's against USPS rules. Good thing my good buddy Smoking Sox drove down to PA before the hike and hand delivered my bottle to the lodge. I mean... how else could it have gotten there? ?(
      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, Max Patch to Franconia Notch NH and the Gale River Trail to Pinkham Notch NH.
    • Did some cipherin' this morning. I have finished 78% of the AT to date. But that number is kind of arbitrary since the trail distance has changed every year. When it's all said and done, Sox and I will be able to claim that we hiked every tenth of each mile of the AT as it existed at the time we hiked them.

      I have 50.5 miles left to complete New Hampshire, all 281.8 miles of Maine, and 145.5 miles from Winding Stair Gap to Max Patch. 477.8 miles. Hard to believe that we're under 500 miles after knocking off that first 43.5 miles section in New Jersey back in 2003. Don't tell my wife, but I have already picked a weekend in October to head back to New Hampshire to hike my orphan section. All depends on life and the weather.
      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Winding Stair Gap NC, Max Patch to Franconia Notch NH and the Gale River Trail to Pinkham Notch NH.
    • StalkingTortoise wrote:

      CoachLou wrote:

      But, both Wednesdays I've been at Huts it was Pulled Pork, both times. '18' at Lakes and 2 weeks ago at Carter Notch.
      Maybe Joe Dodge Lodge doesn't follow the Hut schedule. ?(
      From what I have seen the Huts seem to be in synch, but Joe Dodge and Highland's buffets are on their own schedules. FWIW I had same meal on multiple Sundays on at Joe Dodge this summer.
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • StalkingTortoise wrote:

      Did y'all know that you can't ship alcohol to yourself in your Joe Dodge Lodge care package? It's against USPS rules. Good thing my good buddy Smoking Sox drove down to PA before the hike and hand delivered my bottle to the lodge. I mean... how else could it have gotten there? ?(
      Yes, I knew that. Not sure how it's enforced. Also, not sure what they do about things shipped from other countries where it is allowed. We once got a package in the mail with a bottle of Grasa Cotnari (a white dessert wine from Romania, like a Sauterne), a bottle of Negru de Pucari (a red wine from Moldova), and two bottles of Kvint (cognac from Transnistria). They were from the parents of an exchange student we were hosting. This is why you should host exchange students from Moldova.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by odd man out ().

    • odd man out wrote:

      StalkingTortoise wrote:

      Did y'all know that you can't ship alcohol to yourself in your Joe Dodge Lodge care package? It's against USPS rules. Good thing my good buddy Smoking Sox drove down to PA before the hike and hand delivered my bottle to the lodge. I mean... how else could it have gotten there? ?(
      Yes, I knew that. Not sure how it's enforced. Also, not sure what they do about things shipped from other countries where it is allowed. We once got a package in the mail with a bottle of Grasa Cotnari (a white dessert wine from Moldova, like a Sauterne), a bottle of Negru de Pucari (a red wine from Moldova), and two bottles of Kvint (cognac from Transnistria). They were from the parents of an exchange student we were hosting. This is why you should host exchange students from Moldova.

      I have had some fine Belgian beer shipped to me from Europe. I had them mark the contents as 'Yeast Cultures' and it went through customs no problem.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • IMScotty wrote:

      odd man out wrote:

      StalkingTortoise wrote:

      Did y'all know that you can't ship alcohol to yourself in your Joe Dodge Lodge care package? It's against USPS rules. Good thing my good buddy Smoking Sox drove down to PA before the hike and hand delivered my bottle to the lodge. I mean... how else could it have gotten there? ?(
      Yes, I knew that. Not sure how it's enforced. Also, not sure what they do about things shipped from other countries where it is allowed. We once got a package in the mail with a bottle of Grasa Cotnari (a white dessert wine from Moldova, like a Sauterne), a bottle of Negru de Pucari (a red wine from Moldova), and two bottles of Kvint (cognac from Transnistria). They were from the parents of an exchange student we were hosting. This is why you should host exchange students from Moldova.
      I have had some fine Belgian beer shipped to me from Europe. I had them mark the contents as 'Yeast Cultures' and it went through customs no problem.
      "yeast cultures" = brilliant!
      2,000 miler
    • StalkingTortoise wrote:



      Did y'all know that you can't ship alcohol to yourself in your Joe Dodge Lodge care package? It's against USPS rules. Good thing my good buddy Smoking Sox drove down to PA before the hike and hand delivered my bottle to the lodge. I mean... how else could it have gotten there? ?(
      I'm going to pretend I did not read that. :saint:
      "Dazed and Confused"
      Recycle, re-use, re-purpose
      Plant a tree
      Take a kid hiking
      Make a difference
    • jimmyjam wrote:

      StalkingTortoise wrote:

      Did y'all know that you can't ship alcohol to yourself in your Joe Dodge Lodge care package? It's against USPS rules. Good thing my good buddy Smoking Sox drove down to PA before the hike and hand delivered my bottle to the lodge. I mean... how else could it have gotten there? ?(
      I'm going to pretend I did not read that. :saint:
      youtube.com/watch?v=UmzsWxPLIOo
      I may grow old but I'll never grow up.