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  1. #21
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    Darn, someone had to bring up that 3 page piece of confusion. Whoever wrote it either inadvertently or intentionally mixed Leave No Trace recommendations on page 2 with regulations on page 3.
    Recommendations are nice things to do and should be avoided if possible but you are not going to get a ticket or be required to move. A regulation is backed by the force of law, you can be ticketed and required to move. Typically thru hikers tend to be LNT, they tend to set up late and get up early with no campfires or campsite improvements. So feel free to read and understand page 2 for you own edification but page 3 is the important part. The reality is the vast majority of trails and locations listed on page 3 are not on or adjacent to the AT. This opens up a lot more options then many folks tend to assume by confusing LNT concepts on Page 2 with regulations on Page 3. If you drop down the approximate 1 mile and 1000 feet on side trails you usually can find spots in the woods the requisite 200 feet off the trail. Note that the actual AT north of Moosilaukee is not part of the list of 200 foot rule locations As long as you are not above treeline and within 1/4 of a mile within a developed facility you literally can camp in the middle of the AT. Obviously not recommended but if push come to shove you can.

  2. #22
    Registered User somers515's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Darn, someone had to bring up that 3 page piece of confusion. Whoever wrote it either inadvertently or intentionally mixed Leave No Trace recommendations on page 2 with regulations on page 3.
    I was the someone! I brought it up because people on this thread were talking about where they can legally camp and that flyer gives the rules for where you can legally camp in the white mountains national forest. Yes the legal rules are on page 3, yes the LNT recommendations are in the flyer too.

    It's funny but I don't think that there are regulations and LNT in the same flyer is what makes it confusing. But I agree the flyer can be confusing - for me it's all those special locations that means whenever I'm planning a trip into the Whites I have to read and re-read page 3 and study my map to make sure I'm good. But that might be the retired prosecutor in me - always looking to be on the right side of the law. : )

    And to throw in one more wrinkle . . and please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe you can not legally camp in the NH State parks (unless at a designated site) or in the section maintained by the Dartmouth Outing Club.

    And as others have pointed out, even if its legal to disperse camp somewhere finding an actual flat spot for a tent can be a challenge in the Whites! I don't say any of this to be discouraging, just trying to give helpful info as others have done for me countless times on white blaze.

  3. #23
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    We are in a similar condition physically, and chose to do the Whites hut-to-hut (check into getting an AMC membership first). Expensive, but still cheaper than vacationing at the beach.

    This summer and next we'll go back up and begin tackling the rest of NH. Current plan involves slackpacking difficult areas where possible, and low mileage days where it's not - 3 days for the 21-mile section from Pinkham to Gorham. I expect those 7-mile days to be brutal.

    Good luck!

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyPaper View Post
    Piggybacking off this thread, would like advice on planning NH and southern ME.

    I've been section hiking for years. I'm not super fast not exceptionally fit. But I get by. So far, after hiking almost 1200 miles on the AT, nothing has been out of my league.

    For NH and ME, I can tolerate low mileage days. I can plan my trips for the ideal time of year.

    What I worry about is finding a place to stop when my miles are surprisingly low. If I start out and can only do 5 miles for a particular day, that's fine. But what I'll need is a flat spot near the trail to setup a tent. From the hiking I've done so far, I've learned that it can sometimes be multiple miles between plausible camping spots. And the elevation profiles in NH make me suspect it will be even more difficult to finding camping spots. In the south, I've learned to plan accordingly, but also I've relied on being able to always make it plenty far so as to not only have options to choose from, but to even know about them ahead of time from guidebooks.

    How can one ensure at least he'll have a place to setup a tent in NH if one is constrained to a surprisingly low mileage day? Is that even possible, or is it necessary to have substantially good fitness to even complete that section?

  4. #24
    Registered User Leapfrog^'s Avatar
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    Garfield Ridge and north of Carter Notch hut to the ME border, especially through the Mahoosucs, are pretty rugged NH sections.
    Last edited by Leapfrog^; 05-22-2019 at 06:12.

  5. #25
    13-45 Section Hiker Trash Berserker's Avatar
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    One thing I don't see often detailed on here is exactly what makes NH (in particular the Whites) hard. It is simply that the trail is not graded like it is on most of the rest of the AT. A good portion of the trail through the Whites involves very steep rock scrambles and some bouldering. This just requires more energy and slows one down significantly, especially when wearing a full pack. If you haven't been up there then the only thing comparable that I can think of off the top of my head would be the small steep section going up to Dragons Tooth in VA or the climb out of Lehigh Gap in PA. Just picture doing those all day long every day for several days.

    At any rate, I always like to throw out my personal comparison. I average up to 3 mph on most of the AT, and I think I averaged around 1.25 mph through the Whites and Southern ME.
    AT: 2007-2019 (45 sections)
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  6. #26

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    Very good point, Beserker. Most of the pictures we see of the Whites are Franconia Ridge and the Presidentials with the trail above treeline. It really doesn't look that tough. I watched a YouTube by Redbeard and was taken aback by why awaited me. It's the details of the tread and the trail grade as you have stated. The climb up Madison and the long rock scramble down the north side toward Pinkham Notch will be etched in my mind forever. We falsely thought once we entered the trees, the trail would improve. Nope, same lousy, rocky grade, but trees hemmed you in. If you think you are out of the tough stuff at Pinkham, you are wrong. The Wildcats and the Carters are really testers.

    It's all good. Bad news is that once you get into southern ME, the trail gets really tough again. One section I found challenging that has not been mentioned is the area around Spaulding Mtn. Really rugged terrain and some tough trail. Once you get about 30 miles into the Hundred Mile Wilderness you have it licked.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by susanblackberry View Post
    This is my third question about New Hampshire which I will be section hiking from June 13 to July 7 (hope to get 40 miles of Maine in as well). I hike about 13 miles a day. I have heard there are sections where this will be cut back to a half or third. So, what sections can I anticipate to be the most grueling? I am trying to plan my stays at huts, shelters, and campsites. Thank you!
    white river junction to hanover and hanover to hwy 25A is the easiest. mt cube is a bump. going nobo down mt moousilake demands care. mahoosuc notch is dangerous especially if you mostly boulder over the top. wet or with ice more so in both places. some steep descents followed by steep ascents in the whites. Not a ton of highly maintained level single like some of of GA, VA, etc in NH. It's a challenging state that demands alertness for much of the state.
    Last edited by Dogwood; 05-22-2019 at 22:55.

  8. #28
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    I summited Big K with a gentleman whom was being crowned a double triple crowner.

    He is also a White Mountains Hiker/Peakbagger.

    We quickly had something in common when I commented on a particular patch he had on his backpack.

    It was a 48 4000 footer patch.

    I laughed.. im like dude.. double triple crown.. and the only patch on your backpack is a peakbagger patch..

    He joked.. and then said with a sturn look on his face.

    "If you can hike the Whites, you can hike anything."

    Idk how truthful it is. But this gentleman does have at least a smidge of trail cred.

    A smidge.





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  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by fastfoxengineering View Post
    "If you can hike the Whites, you can hike anything."
    Idk how truthful it is. But this gentleman does have at least a smidge of trail cred.
    A smidge.
    Much truth in that. Especially if you hike it in all seasons.

    The NH AT section is actually easy compared to many trails in the Whites. Climbs up out of the ravines can be down right crazy. Red liners (doing every trail on the AMC White Mountain map) can put you on some insane trails.

    Just the number of rescues due to injuries in the Whites should be a clue. (hint, there are a lot).
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emerson Bigills View Post
    Very good point, Beserker. Most of the pictures we see of the Whites are Franconia Ridge and the Presidentials with the trail above treeline. It really doesn't look that tough. I watched a YouTube by Redbeard and was taken aback by why awaited me. It's the details of the tread and the trail grade as you have stated. The climb up Madison and the long rock scramble down the north side toward Pinkham Notch will be etched in my mind forever. We falsely thought once we entered the trees, the trail would improve. Nope, same lousy, rocky grade, but trees hemmed you in. If you think you are out of the tough stuff at Pinkham, you are wrong. The Wildcats and the Carters are really testers.

    It's all good. Bad news is that once you get into southern ME, the trail gets really tough again. One section I found challenging that has not been mentioned is the area around Spaulding Mtn. Really rugged terrain and some tough trail. Once you get about 30 miles into the Hundred Mile Wilderness you have it licked.
    I usually let AT thru-hikers find out for themselves, but all I kept hearing this year are the rocks of PA, so I said in the comments, just you wait until you get up here. You have not seen anything yet. I think every able bodied and physically fit hiker should do Huntington Ravine trail to Mount Washington at least once. Happy trails! ATStrong

  11. #31
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    I generally make sure someone is quite experienced with scrambling before recommending Huntington's ravine trail to any hiker. Too many folks seem to think lets skip all the intermediate trails and go straight for the hardest. There are usually several rescues from it every year. The AMC uses a standard formula for how long a "typical" hiker will take to hike a trail. Its 2 miles and hour plus an additions 1/2 hour per thousand feet. They admit its an average and some trails take longer or shorter. Huntington's and many of the other hikes out of the ravines frequently take much longer than book time. I am glad the trails are kept open but admit they are definitely not for entry level hikers.

    As for the most challenging stretches on the actual AT in the whites, my candidates are the final ascent of South Kinsman from the south which is basically steep climbing up boulders with a few open ledges and the Twinway heading up South Twin which is also a steep climbing up boulders. Neither is as challenging as the steep bounder scrambles on the AT up Katahdin before the tablelands but definitely a new experience for a northbound thruhiker. "Honorable" mention is the hike up Wildcat from RT 16 with its open ledges with pin steps, the slippery descent down off Moosilaukee and the slippery steep slabs coming down off North Carter.

    There is list of some of the more challenging trails in the whites called the Terrifying 25 https://www.theterrifying25.com/, those completing it get a patch. Luckily AT hikers just walk by them. An of course there is the reputed "beast of the east" the long since closed Adams Slide Trail which some brave souls still hike.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 05-23-2019 at 07:07.

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by susanblackberry View Post
    So, what sections can I anticipate to be the most grueling? I am trying to plan my stays at huts, shelters, and campsites.
    Reflecting on my experience hiking the AT in the Whites:

    1. I found going up and over the Kinsmans exhausting. The trail goes over a series of steep granite slabs (that I believe used to have wooden stair or ladders on them that were taken out years ago). Even on a dry day people are hanging onto trees on the side of the trail. Hitting this section at the end of a long day going NOBO, it was a great relief getting to the Kinsman Pond shelter, which is a great campsite.

    2. There is a 1.5 mile section of the trail between Glen Ellis Falls and Wildcat D (the Wildcat Ridge Trail) that is crazy steep. Going up, you have to throw in some rock climbing moves - it i actually a lot of fun, but very slow going. I would not hike down that section, especially if it is raining. The Carter Notch Hut is a great place to stay to break up the Wildcat - Carter - Moriah section.

    3. The Presi Travers is a slow grind, due in large part to the challenging footing. But it is exhilarating - about as much fun as you can have hiking. If going NOBO, consider treating yourself to a shorter day and stay at the Madison Springs Hut, or if SOBO stay at Lakes Hut (not the dungeon).

    4. I find the stretch between Galehead and Garfield to be exhausting - lots of little ups and downs that really slow me down.

    Overall advice for the Whites - very manageable and enjoyable hiking, just know that your pace is going to slow down a lot due to steepness of many sections, and challenging footing. Get an early start, take advantage of the long days, and lighten your pack. Plan your days in terms of water refills and end points, but be flexible and know your escape routs in case the weather turns bad.

  13. #33

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    I once hiked the Huntington Ravine trail DOWN during an Alpine Flowers Meadow trip to Pinkham Notch. LOL :-) It was not my recommendation to go that way and I argued with the group that it will be very steep ;-)

    Let's just say I still do not recommend downclimbing this trail...it all ended well. No one got hurt, just occasional elevated heart rate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrifty Endurance View Post
    I usually let AT thru-hikers find out for themselves, but all I kept hearing this year are the rocks of PA, so I said in the comments, just you wait until you get up here. You have not seen anything yet. I think every able bodied and physically fit hiker should do Huntington Ravine trail to Mount Washington at least once. Happy trails! ATStrong
    Let me go

  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    There is list of some of the more challenging trails in the whites called the Terrifying 25 https://www.theterrifying25.com/, those completing it get a patch. Luckily AT hikers just walk by them. An of course there is the reputed "beast of the east" the long since closed Adams Slide Trail which some brave souls still hike.
    It would be fun to reroute the AT over a few of the Terrifying 25 - than thrus would really be talking about the whites.

  15. #35
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    Always just a blue blaze away .

    By the way, even though Mahoosuc Notch and its less publicized "nasty" neighbor Mahoosuc Arm are in the AMC White Mountain Guide, they are usually not considered in the Whites. Mahoosuc Notch is one of the few spots on the AT where a hiker is following the whiteblazes has to go "underground" (hard to define underground in boulder field) and has to take their pack off to get through some of the openings. Mahoosuc Arm is just a very steep climb on unhardened trail in the woods, a good tune up for some spots in Maine. Unlike some other interesting spots on the AT there is no viable marked blue blaze around the notch. That said there are ways to avoid the tightest spots that can include various levels of bouldering and in some places a slip can lead to far more problems than sticking with the white blazed route. Over the years folks ask me to take them on a day hike of the Notch and my standard offer is they need to visit Ice Gulch in Randolph (a few miles away from Mt Adams and Madison in the Mt Crescent range). Its like Mahoosuc notch has pockets of ice year round and natural air conditioning. The boulders are bit smaller but it has similar boulder scrambling. If they like the Gulch they will love the Notch, if they don't like the gulch they will hate the notch and it saves me the hassle of hand holding someone.

  16. #36
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Mahoosuc Notch is the only place I ever passed AT through hikers. It was a blast. Fastest two hour mile I've ever done.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Much truth in that. Especially if you hike it in all seasons.

    The NH AT section is actually easy compared to many trails in the Whites. Climbs up out of the ravines can be down right crazy. Red liners (doing every trail on the AMC White Mountain map) can put you on some insane trails.

    Just the number of rescues due to injuries in the Whites should be a clue. (hint, there are a lot).
    I kinda wish I had tracked my redlining progress. Im nowhere near finished.

    But after the AT, the Cohos, and mulitple summits on the 48 taking different routes. I gotta have a good chunk taken out.

    The terrifying 25 intrigues me. Some arent that terrifying.. but interesting.

    Devils Gulch for instance

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  18. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by fastfoxengineering View Post
    The terrifying 25 intrigues me. Some arent that terrifying.. but interesting.

    Devils Gulch for instance

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    Looks like I've done 8 of the 25 listed, some of them several times. Baldface circle was particularly terrifying. But I figured if the 80 year old woman in our hiking group could do it, so could I

    I'm surprised the Boot spur link isn't on the list - I had to slide down that one on my butt.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  19. #39
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    I hang out with redliners, There are lot of trails on the fringes of the WMNF that a peakbagger would never visit that add up to lot of miles. Seeing the conditions of some of them like Haystack Notch Trail in Maine, I don't think anyone uses it unless they need to check a box. Steve Smith the WMG editor is rapidly adding formerly local trail networks like the Shelburne Trails Association trails to the guide. I think its two headed goal.. make the guide comprehensive and sell more new guides as there is new content

    Note the terrifying 25 list was created by a couple of home schooled elementary children. Great kids with 4Ks under their belts when they were quite young but still their interpretation may be different than an adults (although there was public input on the list). The former Underhill route off of North Percy in Nash Stream has one of the most significant pucker factors I have hiked. Traversing steep open slabs is not my thing.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Looks like I've done 8 of the 25 listed, some of them several times. Baldface circle was particularly terrifying. But I figured if the 80 year old woman in our hiking group could do it, so could I

    I'm surprised the Boot spur link isn't on the list - I had to slide down that one on my butt.
    My first 48 4k'r was the the tripyramids.

    I had no idea what I was doing. I had never really hiked before.

    Went DOWN the north slide. Pretty damn sketchy lol.

    That was terrifying.

    Ive learned alot since then!

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