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Catch-Up
02-20-2018, 09:14
My husband and I are preparing for the Whites in June. OMG! we sre looking for any good advice from those of you who have experienced this section. We have sectioned all the way from GA and typically do around 250 to 300 miles at a time - two more trips and we will be done! But the Whites are scaring me.

colorado_rob
02-20-2018, 09:38
Well, quite simply the White's are a spectacular section, probably our favorite 100-ish miles of the trail, BUT of course those are a tough 100 miles... Our 18 MPD average got slowed down to 11-12 MPD, and some of those were very long days. Our pace was 1 mile per hour in places and we were happy to do that! All I can say is that in places, roots make great hand holds! Don't let the Whites "scare you", just take your time and enjoy.

We (my wife and I) tempered the difficulties of the trail and stayed in Huts, full paying customers, for 3 nights out of the 7, some will tell you they are always booked, and that might be true in June (we started through the Whites on Labor Day weekend and we practically owned some of the huts that week after).

peakbagger
02-20-2018, 10:51
Depends on the winter but June is still a transition season in the whites. June 1st or June 30th makes a big difference. There still could be a few snowfields on the ridge and skiers are still possibly skiing down in Tuckermans Ravine, but they are attractions not obstacles. Bugs are still an issue, the standard rule of thumb is black flies move in for Mothers Day and move out by Fathers Day. The huts are not always full mid week in June but weekends may be full especially the weekend closest June 21st as its very popular weekend to go on or near the longest day of the year. Note that many folks do the very long dayhike from Crawford Notch to Mt Madison and back down to the road in Randolph around June 21st (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_Traverse) . I have done it a couple of times but definitely not something someone new to the local conditions would want to consider.

If you have the bucks, the AMC hut to hut is the way to go through much of the whites (note the stretch from Glencliff NH to Lonesome lake is not a normal dayhike and requires camping or arrange to break it into two slackpacks (Glencliff to Kinsman Notch and then Kinsman Notch to Lonesome Lake Hut. Using the huts allows you a lot of extra time to do some side hikes and downtime as the huts are placed about a 6 to 7 hour hikes for most folks unless the weather is bad. They serve plenty of food for supper and breakfast, plus supply wood blankets so you are carrying a light pack Thus if you leave after their generous breakfast you will be at the next hut by 2 to 3 PM unless the weather is nasty. The major caveat with the huts are they arent hotels, they have large shared bunkrooms and facilities. No hot water or showers. They cram in as many people as they can and when full finding a quiet space after supper is close to impossible inside the hut. If you have issues with sleeping in crowded facilities they may not be for you. Definitely bring earplugs and sleep mask as there is constant hum all night with folks going back and forth to the bathroom. They do offer packaged "guided" trips that usually are a slight discount than one night rates. Do go on the AMC website and book reservations ASAP.

A real smart option is try to do a slack pack your first day just to get your skills up than switch over to backpacking. There are slackpacking options on both ends but most involve dropping off the ridgeline 2 to 3 thousand feet and an extra 4 miles although it varies. The Rattle River Hostel in Shelburne NH is at the north end of the WMNF https://rattleriverhostel.com/shuttles. The Notch Hostel in Woodstock is probably the best option for the south end. http://notchhostel.com/. The Glencliff Hostel is the traditional thru hiker place to stay before "hitting the whites" but unless you are on the trail is long ride from public transportation . The last resource is this Shuttle Service that is based out of Berlin/Gorham area http://www.trailangelshikerservices.com/shuttle.html. If you are driving up you need a shuttle between Shelburne and Glencliff (or possibly Woodstock. It eats up half a day and its not cheap whoever provides it. AMC has a shuttle system that goes part of the way but it does not go to Glencliff.

As for terrain, there really isnt anything similar in the south. The trails are old and used heavily and tend to be routed straight up and down slopes. There are very few switchbacks. The trail bed once you leave the hardwoods in the valley is mostly rocks as a combination of erosion and trail hardening effort mean the trail is paved with stones. Unlike PA, the stones in the whites tend to stay in place when you step on them. In some areas the trail effectively is a rough stone staircase that goes up for 1000 feet continuous. There are also stretches where you are climbing up over boulders, using your hands. Many folks from outside the area just cant seem to figure out that they need to pace themselves and get into stop and go hiking. The trikc is to set a slow steady pace and if you start to get winded, slow down but avoid stopping. Sure trail runners may be flying by but hike your own pace. If you want comparisons think the steep section of Dragons Tooth in VA or the climb up out of LeHigh Gap in PA and maybe the drop into Duncannon. Once you break out near or above treeline you are rock hopping most of the time. It takes awhile to get a good pace going and most folks have to slow right down. Poles are usually quite helpful, just dont use the straps as if you slip the injury caused by being attached to a pole at the wrist (dislocated shoulder broken wrist) is far worse the landing when you just let go of the poles. The other thing that is roll of the dice is the weather. Most of the hiking is on ridgeline and you are the highest object on it. The nearest cover may be a mile or two away. The weather in early june tends to be less stable than later in the month but its roll of the dice. The AMC posts detailed forecasts at the huts every day. They cant prevent you from trying to make the next hut in extreme weather but they may strongly discourage you. Unless you get lucky they rarely can make a space for you the next night so your only option is drop off the ridge and take the shuttle to skip a section of the ridge to get back on your reservations.

nsherry61
02-20-2018, 12:01
Lots of good advice and insights above.

The big adjustment for me in the Whites was just realizing and accepting what ridiculously short mileage days I was capable of over the steep and rocky and rooty terrain. 1 to 1.5 mph is probably really a pretty good estimate for someone that otherwise would be doing 2.5 to 3 mph. And, if you are section hiking, so your body isn't already "trail fit", those foot, knee, and hip issues (or whatever overuse issues you have have had in the past) have an increased likelihood of cropping up and shortening your days even further.

As Colorado_Rob suggested above, just plan shorter days and enjoy and beauty. The terrain is only an issue if you are fighting it and trying to accomplish more and faster each day than works well for you. Plan slow and easy, stop to rest a few seconds every couple minutes on the steeper climbs, and embrace the "rugged beauty".

Slo-go'en
02-20-2018, 12:07
If we continue having the kind of weather we've had lately, there isn't going to be any snow left in June. Might not be any left by the end of March. It's currently 38 degrees and raining. It should be 10 degrees and snowing!

June tends to be a quiet month in NH. Using the AMC huts would make the hike much easier, especially the logistics. Camping is highly regulated in the Whites and working around the huts is a pain. If you join the club and do the package deal the cost isn't totally insane, just a little insane.

Berserker
02-20-2018, 12:07
I'm gonna say what most will end up saying, and that is make sure you back your mileage off significantly. I'd recommend backing off up to 50% per day. I typically do 12 - 15 mile days, and rolled into the Whites backing it off a bit (10 - 12 mpd) thinking I had done enough. 4 Days into the trip I had to totally restructure the trip because it was too much. the Whites are more rock scrambling than trail walking, so picture climbing up and down rocks and that's the majority of what you'll be doing. It's very strenuous.

Also, if you don't mind spending the money do the hut-to-hut thing as Peakbagger detailed above and enjoy yourself. I carried a full pack my first time up there and did a mix of camp spots and huts. Then the next time up there (to finish what I couldn't do the first time) I did the hut-to-hut thing, and it was a lot more enjoyable carrying a day pack through that terrain.

hikernutcasey
02-20-2018, 12:36
Here is my experience...https://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/113300-White-Mountains-question?p=1998395&highlight=#post1998395

We started in Franconia Notch so you would need to add in Moosilauke and Kinsman if you are doing them all. We chose to not stay in the huts and utilize the tent sites. As others have said, you have to temper your mileage expectations pretty dramatically but don't sweat it. Just be in decent shape when you go and you will be fine.

nsherry61
02-20-2018, 13:05
Wow, a bunch of hut users. I'm surprised it is so nearly unanimous. The above posts make it sound like hiking hut to hut is nearly the only manageable way to hike the Whites although I doubt that is the intent of the various authors. Huts, by my way of thinking, are outrageously expensive ($70-$100 per night?) although they do including dinner and breakfast. Tent sites were $8 last year. Camping outside the 1/4 mile buffer around the huts and tent sites is free. Although, good sites to camp, especially with a water source, outside of the buffer zones can be sparse, they are not unavailable. I have typically used water and even cooked meals at the camp sites or outside the huts, and then hiked on to find a place to camp for the night cuz I like cheap and quite and wild. The caretakers of the huts and campsites also have pretty good ideas on where the good "stealth" camping sites can be found, if you ask them.

egilbe
02-20-2018, 13:26
I'd ever go so far as suggest using the RMC campsites and huts. Give you some flexibility, but you need to cook your own food.

colorado_rob
02-20-2018, 13:57
Wow, a bunch of hut users. I'm surprised it is so nearly unanimous. The above posts make it sound like hiking hut to hut is nearly the only manageable way to hike the Whites although I doubt that is the intent of the various authors. Huts, by my way of thinking, are outrageously expensive ($70-$100 per night?) although they do including dinner and breakfast. Our 3-night hut stay (out of 6 nights in the Whites) was just a treat for ourselves, a rare luxury, I didn't mean to imply that one has to stay in the huts to make the Whites reasonable. After 1700 miles of trail, it just plain felt good, and when we repeat the AT (we've started), we'll probably do it again. Yep, damn expensive. If you plan on staying more than a night or two, and are a couple (discount PP membership fee), if you join the AMC it saves you 15% (IIRC) and pays for itself after a night or two. And you get a few discounts at other places.

One other nice thing about hut stays is that it lightens your food load. We started with 3 days of food for 7 days of hiking. I'm getting old, lighter is better! And gorging yourself at the hut dinners and breakfasts was nice too.... Toughest terrain on the entire AT (maybe tied with southern Maine), and I think I gained weight in the Whites.

Slo-go'en
02-20-2018, 14:27
I wish some people would stop promoting camping at "stealth" sites in the Whites. There aren't very many of them, they can be hard to find and it's quite possible someone else who knows the area will be there first (like someone from Massachusetts). This is something you can't count on and can't plan for.

Your mileage is set primarily by the spacing between designated (and therefore legal) campsites or huts. If you need to limit your mileage (and no doubt you will), plan to go from designated site to designated site. When doing the Presidential range, staying at Lake of the Clouds is a given and staying at Madison is well worth considering. You can work around the other huts, but it may cause you do more or less mileage then you'd like.

peakbagger
02-20-2018, 14:47
I was hoping the OP would come back and tell use if they wanted to go the Hut to Hut or avoid them or something in between. Lot to be said to book Lake of the Crowds and Madison hut as that is a long day (hard to beat on good day) with no good alternatives except dropping down to the RMC sites (which tend to run out of room quite often due to their popularity)

4eyedbuzzard
02-20-2018, 19:59
Just to add another component. The hut logistics have been well described by others. What hasn't been added yet is weather and clothing. Typically in the higher elevations above treeline, it is really nice about one out of every three days, okay one other, and crappy the other. It can be beautiful in the morning and turn to crap by afternoon, or vice versa, or anything in between. Three different prevailing weather patterns converge at the Presidential ridge and it makes for unpredictable and rapidly changing weather. ALWAYS consult the higher summits forecast at https://www.mountwashington.org/experience-the-weather/higher-summit-forecast.aspx Mt Washington averages can be found at https://www.mountwashington.org/experience-the-weather/mount-washington-weather-archives/normals-means-and-extremes.aspx Weather down lower, but still above treeline, will not be quite as severe, but it will be close. Typical deviation from average high/low temps can be +/- 10 to 20į on any given day. Something below freezing on higher summits is definitely not out of the question in June - I've seen it snow on Memorial Day weekend down in the valleys, never mind above treeline.

No matter when you go, even if it was later in July/August, you must have a good warm wool or fleece hat (must cover ears as well and be able to shield your head and ears from the wind - windblock fleece highly recommended) and gloves and of course insulating layers. Add wind / rain shell. Have glasses of some sort in case you wind up hiking into the wind. You simply have to stay warm and dry. Hypothermia is a danger 365 days a year in the Whites. Prepare for the possibility of having to take a day off if necessary. There are days (wind, rain, storms) when you simply can't safely, never mind enjoyably, hike above treeline.

And if you stumble upon perfect warm and dry weather for your entire hike - just smile upon your good fortune.

jj dont play
02-21-2018, 01:57
Enjoy them and take it slow.
Whites kicked my butt but I also got a stomach bug and/or food poisoning while in that section.
I tried to eat as much as I could at every hit I came across, that helped a good bit calorie wise.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

rickb
02-21-2018, 07:45
1). If you should be so lucky to find this guy http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/spruce-grouse take a selfie with it.

2). If you hit Trails at first light you will have them all to yourself for a couple hours. If staying at the huts seriously consider blowing off breakfast for this reason.

3). The Location of Lakes of the Clouds makes it a strong contender if you elect to stay at just one hut

4). Madison hut does not enjoy the logistical advantage of Lakes, but if you hold up there for the night, you get one last shot at clear skies if the weather gods have not been smiling on you the two or three days prior.

5). Donít walk past the Mount Height summit in the Carter Range because you have already had all the good views.

6). The Notch Hostel

nsherry61
02-21-2018, 09:07
I wish some people would stop promoting camping at "stealth" sites in the Whites. . .Your mileage is set primarily by the spacing between designated (and therefore legal) campsites or huts. . .
Slo-go'en, I appreciate your sentiment. And, it may be that my use of the term "stealth" in a previous post was not the best choice of term. Along the AT corridor, which is largely ridge-line hiking in the Whites, there is no doubt that finding places to camp that are more than 200' off the trail, below treeline and more than 1/4 mile from campsites and shelters is somewhat limited, but it is also inappropriate to suggest that camping outside of designated campsites or huts is illegal.

For specifics see this. (https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5363715.pdf)

Personally, I'd rather not have to put up with the hordes of people using and frankly wearing out my favorite wild areas with the best views. But, alas, I'd rather have a worn out "wilderness" than none at all. I watched the beautiful Oregon Skyline Trail get turned into the PCT. A remote, rugged and scenic trail turned into the PCT highway. It's a loss, but then, maybe also a significant gain?

rickb
02-21-2018, 10:09
Slo-go'en, I appreciate your sentiment. And, it may be that my use of the term "stealth" in a previous post was not the best choice of term. Along the AT corridor, which is largely ridge-line hiking in the Whites, there is no doubt that finding places to camp that are more than 200' off the trail, below treeline and more than 1/4 mile from campsites and shelters is somewhat limited, but it is also inappropriate to suggest that camping outside of designated campsites or huts is illegal.

For specifics see this. (https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5363715.pdf)



As is my habit, I feel compelled to add that there is no BLANKET regulation in the White Mountains that requires one to camp at least 200í away from the AT in NON WILDERNESS AREAs.

The link you provided is an EXCELENT SUMMARY of the backcountry regulations, but it also includes a section on RECOMMENDED LNT practices, which some (even those who should know better) confuse with the actual regulations (supervisors orders) that are specifically summarized point by point in the brochure.

For some this may be a distinction without a difference ó we all aspire to LNT ethics, correct?

But I think it is important for several reasons:

1) So you donít make a false asumption about the legality of someoneís campsite and let it raise your blood pressure or worseó cause you to say something stupid to a fellow hiker.

2) So you have confidence in the legality of your site selection should a common sense camping option avail itself that is closer to the Trail than 200í . Along some stretches of the AT this may mean camping on one side of the Trail rather than the other.

3) So you can relax more in the woods when considerering were you ó and others ó are legally permitted to camp.

BTW, this same principle applies to the so-called blanket ďruleĒ about camping a minimum of 200í feet away from all water sources.

peakbagger
02-21-2018, 11:16
I aqree that the WMNF handout is confusing as it does mix LNT suggestions versus actual regulations. It also does not mention that the WMNF can and does on occasion post otherwise legal camping spots "closed for regeneration" and they dont post those closures anywhere in public except at the closed site.

BoogieForth
02-21-2018, 12:07
..But the Whites are scaring me.

(first post..hello! thank you for this community)

I did a section hike sobo from ME to VT and I feel you on the fear of the Whites. No matter how much I read it just seemed a bit daunting with the difficulty mixed in with all the rules about camping, and the weather, especially on Mt Washington. But in the end it was all fine. I had the AWOL guide, Guthook app of ME and NH, and a waterproof map since I heard the trail changes names and with the weather I was paranoid about getting lost or having to improvise. And I still got lost coming out of the Perch campsite. I thought I was on the AT but it was a side trail and I went the wrong direction. I was glad to have the map! As was mentioned, the weather is a big deal and you should be prepared to either bail or zero depending. My Mt Washington climb was fine, cool and cloudy with no views at the top. But a few days before it had been howling 80 mph winds up there. I used http://atweather.org/ for updates.

I tented the whole way and didnít stay at any huts. It was all official campsites except I stayed at one stealth site that was .4 mi south on the trail from Carter Notch Hut. Thereís a trail sign there and large clearings on both sides of the trail and itís obvious you can tent there. But the huts were really useful for water fill ups, bathrooms, getting warm, weather reports and especially buying basic resupply food - cliff bars etc or baked goods, soup etc. Between the food I had and buying at the huts and Pinkham Notch Visitorís center, I did not have to resupply. Pinkham Visitorís center also has a a gear shop and deli.

again traveling south:

Day 1 Gorham to Imp shelter - 8 mi
Day 2 Imp to Carter Notch stealth site .4 mi south of hut - 7 mi
Day 3 Carter Notch to Osgood campsite (I think thereís no shelter here)- 10 mi - This was a very hard day! the Wildcats kicked my butt. Pass by Pinkham Notch Visitor center.
Day 4 Osgood to Perch shelter Ė 5.8 mi - Another hard one since Mt Madison was all slippery rocks in high winds which almost made me turn back. Pass by Madison hut.
Day 5 Perch to Mizpah Hut/campsite Ė 11 mi - pass by Lake of the Clouds hut Ė I had intended to stealth camp near the Clouds hut but there was nothing so I pushed it to Mizpah. It was 7 mi from Perch to Lake of the Clouds and another 4 to Mizpah.
Day 6 Mizpah to Ethan Pond shelter Ė 9 mi
Day 7 Ethan Pond to Guyot shelter Ė 10 mi
Day 8 Guyot to Liberty Springs campsite (pretty sure thereís no shelter here) Ė 12.8 mi - This was another long one and I would've stealthed on the way to Franconia Ridge - there were plum spots north and south of the ridge below treeline, but bad weather was coming and this day was beautiful so I pushed on.
Day 9 Liberty Springs to North Woodstock 7 mi
Day 10 zero in N. Woodstock
Day 11 N. Woodstock to Eliza Brook shelter 8.6 mi
Day 12 Eliza Brook to Beaver Brook shelter Ė 9 mi
Day 13 Beaver Brook to Jeffers Brook shelter Ė 9 mi

ldsailor
02-21-2018, 13:10
(first post..hello! thank you for this community)

I did a section hike sobo from ME to VT and I feel you on the fear of the Whites. No matter how much I read it just seemed a bit daunting with the difficulty mixed in with all the rules about camping, and the weather, especially on Mt Washington. But in the end it was all fine. I had the AWOL guide, Guthook app of ME and NH, and a waterproof map since I heard the trail changes names and with the weather I was paranoid about getting lost or having to improvise. And I still got lost coming out of the Perch campsite. I thought I was on the AT but it was a side trail and I went the wrong direction. I was glad to have the map! As was mentioned, the weather is a big deal and you should be prepared to either bail or zero depending. My Mt Washington climb was fine, cool and cloudy with no views at the top. But a few days before it had been howling 80 mph winds up there. I used http://atweather.org/ for updates.


Thanks for the itinerary run down. I'll be doing the Whites this summer NOBO. I'm curious. What time of the year did you do your hike? I'm trying to figure out what kind of clothes I'll need when I reach the Whites sometime in late July or early August.

Slo-go'en
02-21-2018, 13:36
As is my habit, I feel compelled to add that there is no BLANKET regulation in the White Mountains that requires one to camp at least 200’ away from the AT in NON WILDERNESS AREAs.

Legally, maybe. In practice it's usually impossible to get 200 feet off the trail anyway. At least if you ever want to find it again. You can't even see 20 feet off the trail in most places.

The only sections of the AT through NH where it is practical to find a place to set up a tent are in low elevation areas, lower then 3000 feet or so. And there isn't much of this. Most of the time your either going steeply up or down hill or above tree line. In the dips between climbs its a bog where all the water collects. Any "flat" area your likely to find is a bed of wet and spongy moss. Then there are all the down tree limbs and rocks.

That's why there are a large number of developed campsites with tent platforms located in the areas where it's practical to do so. To suggest that people can camp along the AT through the Whites and avoid the AMC sites is just plain irresponsible because it really isn't a practical thing to do, even in the few places where it might be legal to do so.

nsherry61
02-21-2018, 13:51
. . . To suggest that people can camp along the AT through the Whites and avoid the AMC sites is just plain irresponsible because it really isn't a practical thing to do, even in the few places where it might be legal to do so.
I'm afraid we will just have to disagree on this one.

Yeah, it's much easier to camp in the designated camp sites. And yeah, there are stretches where finding an appropriate place is impossible for some period of time. But broadly impossible or irresponsible, I strongly disagree. There are certainly stretches where using a hammock would make things a lot easier. And there are places where you might hike an hour or two, or drop down a side trail before you find someplace. But, come on, a reasonably experienced outdoors person can still make it through the Whites avoiding the AMC sites and keeping their LNT ethics in tact, especially if one stops by the AMC sites and chats with the caretakers about where decent locations might be.

rickb
02-21-2018, 14:08
Legally, maybe. In practice it's usually impossible to get 200 feet off the trail anyway. At least if you ever want to find it again. You can't even see 20 feet off the trail in most places.
This speaks to my point about the fact that the 200í foot ďruleĒ simply does not exist along much of the AT in the Whites.

But more importantly, there are plenty of places that camping along the AT is a legal and practiical both.

How about along the Kinsmans? Would you think a fellow hiker to be a scofflaw if they decided to set up camp in the many good places along the ridge north of Moosalauki rather than pressing to the shelter at the Pond?

How about after Zealand Falls hut if you found a coveted work for stay unavailable, and you didnít want to walk in the dark to Ethan Pond?

Or in a scrap of woods a few feet from the trail if you found that Nauman Tent Site was full?

How about if you saw a few tents on the Old Jackson Road section of the AT approaching Pinkham Notch? Would your blood boil at seeing them, or would you respect their resourcefulness in finding a legal spot in an otherwise difficult area?

This is not to say there is not a great deal of wisdom in your post ó and to your way of thinking. There are many places in the white that camping off trail is not practical.

If the objective is to keep things simple for those who cannot handle the truth, then your advise has merit.

BoogieForth
02-21-2018, 14:10
Thanks for the itinerary run down. I'll be doing the Whites this summer NOBO. I'm curious. What time of the year did you do your hike? I'm trying to figure out what kind of clothes I'll need when I reach the Whites sometime in late July or early August.

I was there mid-September, but if I went any time in the summer, i'd take the same gear I had, honestly, if only for emergencies. "People have died from exposure even in summer in the Whites", as the sign says. So: lightweight long johns, t shirt, shorts, 2nd pair of socks for sleeping (especially if you get soaked while hiking), rain jacket/pants, lightweight down coat, winter hat, gloves, and a zero degree sleeping bag. I had a 30 degree bag and it was not enough, but that's me and I run cold in general.

LittleRock
02-21-2018, 14:28
For those who are not opposed to stealth camping:

https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/86526/

nsherry61
02-21-2018, 14:29
. . . So: lightweight long johns, t shirt, shorts, 2nd pair of socks for sleeping (especially if you get soaked while hiking), rain jacket/pants, lightweight down coat, winter hat, gloves, and a zero degree sleeping bag. I had a 30 degree bag and it was not enough, but that's me and I run cold in general.
And I've camped out up there in all four seasons with a 20 degree bag with issues only on one 10 degree night last month (it was likely lower than 10 where we were) at Kinsman Pond, when all my clothing plus my bag wasn't enough to be comfortable, although it was enough to get okay sleep. Probably a 0 degree bag or my 20 plus the quilt I normally take to supplement it would be wise in the future for mid winter. But hey, one uncomfortable night is not the end of the world, and you gotta push your gear once in a while or you'll never know its limits.

colorado_rob
02-21-2018, 14:48
For those who are not opposed to stealth camping:

https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/86526/ Excellent reference; we used this when we hiked through the Whites for the nights we weren't in the huts.

rickb
02-21-2018, 16:05
Excellent reference; we used this when we hiked through the Whites for the nights we weren't in the huts.

I would say that it is OK at best.

Some of the spots suck to begin with — I am specifically thinking of the one just north of Liberty Springs Campsite — and more importantly may have been brushed in and taken out of commission (by way of Forest Service signs).

Also, it fails to specify which sites are perfectly legal — of which many on the list are.

For those who care about that — either out of respect for the rules or simply to feel more at ease when camping a few feet from the AT — that could be important.

Still, it speak to the possiblities and would be another resource to have, I think.

peakbagger
02-21-2018, 16:20
Notice the date, things change. Some of them are definitely out of date or specifically posted and other more popular legal options are not listed. Some are kind of laughable like the Dry River trail when there are better options nearby.

4eyedbuzzard
02-21-2018, 18:36
Thanks for the itinerary run down. I'll be doing the Whites this summer NOBO. I'm curious. What time of the year did you do your hike? I'm trying to figure out what kind of clothes I'll need when I reach the Whites sometime in late July or early August.From late June through September what I usually went with insulation and clothing wise on weekends and overnights in the Whites :
WM Caribou sleeping bag, 35įF rated (kept me warm into the high 20į's), Neoair pad, various tents and tarps, long lightweight base layer tops and bottoms, hiking shorts and short sleeve shirt, long pants and long sleeve shirt, heavyweight base layer top, Nano Puff, lightweight balaclava, windblock fleece hat, windblock fleece gloves, rain shell with hood and rain pants if there was any chance of rain. A neck gaiter or scarf can be really handy if it's cold and windy (the balaclava worked for this). Eyewear - sunglasses or regular glasses - at minimum something to break the wind off your eyes if you're hiking into it. Make sure any hat you have provides both wind blocking and warmth for your ears. I can't begin to tell you how painful your ears can get in a strong wind even at 50į in summer ;) Some might consider the heavy base layer top overkill, but I have this thing about keeping warm.

ldsailor
02-22-2018, 12:36
Thanks for the tips on clothing. I had no idea the conditions could get that cold in July. I'm thinking of having the extra clothes and outerwear sent to me just before the Whites. Can I send them back home when I'm finished with the Whites, or should I keep them for the rest of the trail NOBO?

Berserker
02-22-2018, 13:29
For all of the debate on camping (i.e. "stealth" sites vs the established camp spots) vs the huts, I'd just like to throw out a little more detail on my opinion. If you are looking for adventure and part of that includes finding a place to camp, then go for it. If you don't mind spending the money, then the huts make the logistics much simpler.

I'm no spring chick, nor am I'm an old phart (yet), but I thought the Whites were stinking tough. I hiked most of them with a full pack (everything except for Crawford Notch to Pinkham Notch), and then I finished the Whites doing the hut-to-hut thing with a day pack. It was a night and day difference experience-wise for me. I like camping, but setting up on some of those days after getting my arse handed to me was not enjoyable. I mean rock scrambling with a full pack is just flat out hard work. I loved the days I rolled into a hut knowing all I had to do was set up my bunk, and then sit around and relax whilst being fed like a king. Also note that depending on when you hit it, a lot of those established sites fill up quick (e.g. I got the last spot at Liberty Springs when I went through there).

So anyway, not to sound like daddy warbucks or anything, but the huts were well worth it in my opinion.

BoogieForth
02-22-2018, 13:34
If youíre talking about doing Maine in August, personally Iíd keep all the same gear. I definitely needed my long johns and rain suit. Iím not sure when I first needed my down coat. I kept a journal and the first note I made of the cold being an issue at night was the 26th, but that was at the Avery campsite on Mt Bigelow and thatís sleeping at 3800 ft so itís not surprising. Iíd rather have it and not need it than the reverse. It took me about 5 weeks (starting Aug 5) to get through Maine but Iím a slow hiker. I think I averaged 9-10/day. The first Ďfreak outí day came on 9/11 going over Mt Success (NH/ME border) in a torrential downpour and temps cold enough for me to put on every thing I had to stay warm and dry enough. Then that night too was around freezing, and coupled with my gear being wet I couldnít wear enough at night so I didnít sleep and it was a bit dicey. Thatís where my thinking of the 0 bag comes in, since I needed my down coat and hat/gloves for sleeping and couldnít wear them since they were soaked, so if the bag was better it probably wouldíve been ok.

peakbagger
02-22-2018, 16:22
I expect few folks would bring a 0 degree bag in August in the whites or maine. A 30 to 40 degree bag is the norm. There are detailed local forecasts at each AMC hut so if the conditions appear to be dangerous the next day, a prudent thru hiker may elect a shorter day with less exposure or a zero. There are pretty reliable forecasts available that look several days out for major weather changes. This can be real issue to consider on the stretch between Liberty Springs, Greenleaf hut and Galehead Hut as well as between Mizpah Hut, Lake of the Crowds and Madison Hut as this is all above treeline near totally exposed hiking. Crappy weather also means no views so why go out and risk death on a nasty day and not get the views that is the reason why folks come up here to hike?Obviously folks with hut reservations have less flexibility but the hut crews and AMC are used to dealing with it. If the weather is really bad many folks will just cancel at the last minute freeing up space in the next hut or worst case is the hikers will head down off the ridge and take a shuttle to either the Highland Center, Pinkham Notch or hotel in Gorham to wait out the weather and then go back up on the ridge when it clears. If AMC was unable to find them a spot where they had to bail they may need to skip a section of the AT and then hike back up to the next hut.

No matter what your accommodations are, make sure you have totally windproof gear to hike with that covers all your exposed skin that can be ventilated with adequate synthetic of wool underlayers. Mittens or liner gloves with socks and a lightweight balaclava is highly recommended. Down gear is useless in the rain while hiking, it just soaks out and is worse than not wearing it. Long before you hike with down gear in wet conditions you should be headed down to off the ridge line and get some shelter set up before putting on the down. There is coated down called Downtec that is better than raw down but it will also loose much of its effectiveness when in rain. It does dry quicker. The inevitable result of hiking without the right gear is hypothermia and that can sneak up on a hiker, they may be on the hairy edge while hiking but the second they stop, they are not generating enough heat and the symptoms rapidly get worse. Unfortunately the first symptom is loss of clear thinking so most folks dont realize they are on edge until they have gone over the edge.

Sure folks get in trouble year round in the whites but there are also thousands of folks out every day as it is in Bostons backyard. With common sense, some proper planning and the right gear its great place to be from June to Late September. Outside of that time period the gear list goes up, weather conditions get more extreme and the consequences of bad decisions increase.

BoogieForth
02-23-2018, 13:44
The original poster was asking about June in the Whites, and even you were talking about snow then, so I think a warmer bag is worth considering (unless theyíll be in the huts), especially for someone who knows they get cold easy. Itís worth mentioning too that one of the deaths on Mt Washington was in June from falling ice. On my trip through in Sept. there was no snow or ice, but it was frigging cold, so itís possible June could be even worse than I had it. I also had more than one bad night of cold and that continued as I went south and then north on the Long Trail. I actually did get hypothermic eventually too, which ended my hike early, and that was in 50 degree dry weather in the first week of Oct. Iím still not sure what happened there, but part of it may have been from losing so much weight and not getting enough calories in general. If I did the same trip again thereís no way Iíd take a 30. Most of August was fine, until it wasnít! I almost bought a silk sleeping bag liner in Gorham and I wish I had. Maybe thatís all I need, or a 20 and maybe a warmer pad too. Thatís just me, I guess in the minority, but thatís why I think itís worth mentioning since itís not the typical experience, so people can decide for themselves.

Deacon
02-25-2018, 20:31
If youíre talking about doing Maine in August, personally Iíd keep all the same gear. I definitely needed my long johns and rain suit. Iím not sure when I first needed my down coat. I kept a journal and the first note I made of the cold being an issue at night was the 26th, but that was at the Avery campsite on Mt Bigelow and thatís sleeping at 3800 ft so itís not surprising. Iíd rather have it and not need it than the reverse. It took me about 5 weeks (starting Aug 5) to get through Maine but Iím a slow hiker. I think I averaged 9-10/day. The first Ďfreak outí day came on 9/11 going over Mt Success (NH/ME border) in a torrential downpour and temps cold enough for me to put on every thing I had to stay warm and dry enough. Then that night too was around freezing, and coupled with my gear being wet I couldnít wear enough at night so I didnít sleep and it was a bit dicey. Thatís where my thinking of the 0 bag comes in, since I needed my down coat and hat/gloves for sleeping and couldnít wear them since they were soaked, so if the bag was better it probably wouldíve been ok.

I had the exact same experience on Mt Success, only on July 6th last year. Can get dicey anytime in Maine.


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