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MarkCevoli
01-28-2015, 19:36
Seems that hiking the Presidentials one can fall into a large expense with the huts or be very inconvienenced camping outside. What is the approach for this section ?

garlic08
01-28-2015, 20:40
I have limited experience there, one thru hike and one section hike. I never spent a penny on camping or lodging in the Whites, and got some nice free leftover breakfasts and cheap lunches at the huts. Some huts offer work-for-stay, but you can't depend on that. AFAIK you can camp below treeline, at least I did. A strong hiker can traverse above treeline in one day, if the huts are full.

Del Q
01-28-2015, 20:48
I plan on hiking from Franconia to Southern Maine this summer, then finishing my section hike in Sept/Oct

My preference is tenting, will probably stay in some huts but if it is the end of the day and I have enough water I am tenting. Yes, even in the Smokies.

If I ever go to jail for something like this so be it. Hot shower, 3 hot meals per day, hmm.

PennyPincher
01-28-2015, 21:00
You can camp below tree line in the whites. If you have any of the trail guides or data books for this area you should be able to find quite a few places to pitch a tent. Some shelters do charge a fee but I don't know if that fee is waived for thru hikers

Slo-go'en
01-28-2015, 23:44
Work for stay is only valid for thru-hikers and the crews are really good at knowing who is and who's not. If not, pony up the big bucks to stay at the hut. Please use the designated camping sites and pay the fees. Contrary to what you hear some people say here, there are not quite a few places to pitch a tent. In fact they are few and far between and can be difficult to locate. If you can see it from the trail, it is not legal. The majority of the trail through the Whites is along barren and rocky ridge lines or up steep slopes with dense forest and covered with big rocks.

Can you camp illegally and get away with it? Probably, but you loose 1000 karma points for doing so.

garlic08
01-29-2015, 07:57
...there are not quite a few places to pitch a tent. In fact they are few and far between and can be difficult to locate...The majority of the trail through the Whites is along barren and rocky ridge lines or up steep slopes with dense forest and covered with big rocks...

Excellent point--this is my fading recollection of the Whites, and much of northern New England as well. I'd forgotten about the "can't see from the trail" rule, which happens out West in a few well-loved areas. It's a challenge and I had some pretty lousy campsites up there. And some excellent ones as well--maybe that depends on the karma balance?

Speaking of karma, I had some excellent luck showing up at the huts after breakfast and getting some great free leftovers--in one case all the scrambled eggs I could eat because a "croo" prank dyed them green--dozens of warm, buttery, salty, delicious green eggs. I wonder if they'd offer that to non-thru hikers? And I assume anyone can show up for the lunch deals, which, when I hiked, was a bottomless bowl of soup for $1.

peakbagger
01-29-2015, 09:04
Its not that hard with some planning, you basically trade off money for convenience. The majority of the managed campsites where there is a fee charged are there because they are in a popular spot. Basically if AMC didn't have a caretaker, the area would get trashed and covered with piles of crap and eventually closed. Folks don't realize how much impact unmanaged use does to an area. There is no work for stay at these sites. When you pay a fee at most of the sites, you are paying someone to shovel waste out of an outhouse, compost it and then distribute it into the woods. The huts are another story, about half are in spectacular spots where there is far more demand than availability with the others are in place mostly to make it a string of huts for those who care to make reservations and pay. If you don't want to use them you need to spend some time doing some fairly easy research.

The two logistically most difficult stretches can be done as a couple of long day hikes. Since you are in Portland its not like its a long trip north. Look up the presidential traverse hikes that are quite popular in late June. Do one of the them and you get to click off Mt Madison to Mt Pierce or some ambitious folks keep going to RT 302. Spot a bike at the Old Bridal Path parking lot, drive down to Liberty Springs trailhead near the Flume and then hike the AT to Lafayette. Then hike down old Bridal Path to your bike and coast downhill back to your car. Next weekend, get some friends to car spot a car at the end of Zealand Road and then go up Greenleaf trail to Lafayette (or old Bridal Path again) then hike to Zealand. The trick with day hikes is to cherry pick the weather, thru hikers end up rolling the dice, for every sparkling warm day above treeline, there is a long slog in the winds and in wet clouds with no views. Since you are nearby, you have the option of waiting for the next warm sunny day.

If you want to camp elsewhere, there are options that usually entail hiking on side trail down to an area that has more dispersed use. Generally this means a mile walk down the side trail and a loss of up to 1000 feet in elevation. If you plan it into your hike, its not that bad but don't expect flat wide open tent spots, there is room for a tent and you may need to haul water.

gollwoods
01-30-2015, 17:51
even in the smokies? cause you are special right.

rickb
01-30-2015, 20:38
If you can see it from the trail, it is not legal. The majority of the trail through the Whites is along barren and rocky ridge lines or up steep slopes with dense forest and covered with big rocks.

Can you camp illegally and get away with it? Probably, but you loose 1000 karma points for doing so.

The AT skirts the edge of several wilderness areas. Rules that apply to one side of the trail may not apply on the other.

The assertion that you are always camping illegally should you be within sight of the AT might be useful shorthand, but it is simply not true.

Traveler
01-31-2015, 09:42
The AT skirts the edge of several wilderness areas. Rules that apply to one side of the trail may not apply on the other.

The assertion that you are always camping illegally should you be within sight of the AT might be useful shorthand, but it is simply not true.

Always, all, and never are the three most difficult words in the English language to defend. Nothing is always illegal, however, if you are in a National Park, National Forest, or Wilderness Area, the 200' rule would apply.

rickb
01-31-2015, 10:23
Always, all, and never are the three most difficult words in the English language to defend. Nothing is always illegal, however, if you are in a National Park, National Forest, or Wilderness Area, the 200' rule would apply.

The 200' rule most definitely does not apply every where in the WMNF. It does apply in wilderness areas in the WMNF, however.

Here is a overview map of the are showing how the AT skirts several wilderness areas:

29814

http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3802938.pdf

There are additional restrictions in the Whites too, of course. And along the AT there are many. For example, you can't camp within 200' of the Liberty Springs Trail (which is a short stretch of the AT) or anywhere on the side of the AT that falls within the Cutler River Drainage (which one might want to know if they are going to stealth legally near Pinkham). Plus you have all the better known restrictions about not being able to camp above treeline (unless you are on 2 feet of snow) and within 1/4 mile of huts and such. Crazy, huh?

But that leaves plenty of places where it is legal to camp virtually on the trail. Is this a good idea? Of course not. But if you should come upon a fellow camper tenting on the way up to Kinsman, or in a bivy between Liberty and Little Haystack because he was turned away from the AMC site, or a SOBO camping on the west side of he AT between Ethan Pond and Zealand falls because he and his buddies could not secure a tent platform at Ethan Pond (I think they have just 5. Really) please know that he will be camping legally, and fully within his rights to do so.

Basically my purpose of this post this is not to suggest most hikers just passing through should bother to learn the regulations to increase thier options, but rather to suggest that if they come upon someone who they only think is camping illegally, just let it slide and don't allow their choices to raise one's blood pressure.

After all, they may know something.

Traveler
01-31-2015, 11:07
Wilderness rules would be, in my view, the better way to deal with the issue of camping, especially given the growing issues with hikers in places like BSP. I see a lot of folks opt to camp wherever they feel like it and set up a fire ring even with a total open fire ban in our region of the trail. Justification for breaking rules in an emergency is one thing, doing so without reason (like open fires in no open fire areas) is invitation to close sections of trail that move across private land.

Self policing is perhaps the underlying issue here, which is becoming more important as we explain what LNT is all about and other rules and regulations of the area to those who are clueless or deliberately breaking them. Ignorance can be cured, stupid is forever.

Thinspace
01-31-2015, 17:02
Been a lot of years since I've done it but as I remember starting at Crawofrd notch on the Crawford Path you can take the Mizpah cutoff and stay on a tent platform at Nauman Tentsite and from there rejoin the Crawford path further up on the summit of Mt Pierce. Continuing north towards Mt. Washington the next place you could stay would be Tuckermas Ravine on Mt. Washington. There are a number of shelters there for a nominal fee. Going north there are three cabins on Mt. Adams, Crag camp and Gray knob, and the log cabin, all maintained by the Randolph Mountain club. I would research these. Used to be you could just stay for free if there was no caretaker present. (These are not at all like the AMC huts). There also used to be a shelter called the perch somewhere on the western side of Adams or Madison though my memory escapes me as to exactly where. Anyway those are the places I used to stay on my overnights there. If anyone can tell me if any of these places no longer exist or anythinbg has changed I would be interested to hear. It was in the 70's and 80's last I was there

Mr. Clean
02-01-2015, 06:01
The perch, grey knob, and camp crag are still there on the north side of mt Adams and cost anywhere from eight bucks a night and up.

Slo-go'en
02-01-2015, 12:15
Gray Knob and Crag Camp are up to $20 a night now, the Perch might be $10 now. In theory, so is the Log Cabin but few if any actually pay to stay there since it's not on the usual caretakers rounds. It's also quite a detour for someone doing a Prezie traverse.

There is also the Valleyway tent platforms down the hill from Mt Madison which are free, but it's a 1/2 mile, 1000 foot decent off the ridge line. Just keep in mind that all these sites have limited capacity and fill up quickly during the summer and weekends in the fall.