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  1. #21
    imscotty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Randolph and Jefferson are both located ideally but it will be tough to find a house to rent for a week. There are places to rent but usually not advertised anywhere, mostly word of mouth. Randolph is more of a summer colony then a town. It is undeniably in the middle of the northern white mountains and there is a long section of the AT accessible from town plus a very dense local trail network. The trail network is set up for loop hikes or trail runs. Most of the homes and camps are in use by the owners in the summer, I am not aware of any broker who actively handles or markets rentals. The sum total of businesses in town is a gas station with a small store, an older motel with several rooms and a tourist cabin village. If you want prepared food of any type you need to go to Gorham. Jefferson is very similar although set back a bit from the national forest its does not have a trail network, to get a prepared meal except for pizza and sandwiches you need to drive over to Lancaster or drive through Randolph to Gorham.

    Gorham does have ATV traffic on Main Street and along a section of state highway but the majority of the town is off limits. They support the same tourist businesses that hikers and other visitors would use. There is a selection of restaurants in town. The biggest issue is ATV folks tend to fill up the hotels/motels especially on weekends. Gorham is also a major thru hiker town as its logical spot to take a break before the Mahoosucs. If you spend any time in town you will see thru hikers going about their resupply. The Top Notch Inn is a strip motel but they have a couple of residential homes that they have rehabbed and rent on a weekly basis. https://topnotchinn.com/

    One spot that few think about that might fit your needs is Philbrook Farm Inn in Shelburne NH. http://www.philbrookfarminn.com/ The AT runs through Shelburne. Philbrook Farm has family housekeeping cottages (actually old summer homes set off well away from the Inn) for rent. Shelburne has even less services for tourists (not even a gas station) but Gorham is a short drive. There are some extended families that have been meeting up there for decades. A major detraction to some, a bonus to others is I dont know if the cottages have internet service (there is cell service). These are older cottages, no AC.

    Lincoln/Woodstock on the other hand have a major ski area nearby and there are hundreds of ski condos in town plus full tourist accommodations. My guess is renting a condo for a week is lot easier. It convenient to Mt Moosilaukee and Franconia Notch but a bit of a drive over to Mt Washington and Crawford Notch. It also has ziplining and boat options (but no ATVs). Its also is the closest to the Pemi which is the center of the whites. The infamous Pemi loop is usually picked up just out of town at Lincoln Woods. I expect your trail runners will have this high on their list. The start of the Presi Traverse which may also be on their list is about 1 hour north in Randolph with the end about a half hour away in Crawford Notch.
    Peakbagger knows the area well and gives good advice. That said, right now there are three places available for the public to rent in Randolph, and a dozen or so in Jefferson (including one of the Waumbek 'Cottages'). I recommend checking out VRBO.com.

    I get a place for a family vacation this way at least once per year and I think it is so superior (and usually cheaper) than staying at hotels. You get to see some neat homes. A few years back I rented Bette Davis's house in Sugar Hill (which is a good base to explore around Franconia Notch). It was fun to watch old Bette Davis movies with the wife and kids, while staying at her house So much better than another sterile hotel room.
    ďFor of all sad words of tongue or pen,
    the saddest are these, 'It might have been.Ē


    John Greenleaf Whittier

  2. #22
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    I would look in Jackson, Bartlett and Gorham.That puts you in the heart of the Presidentials, the Carters, maybe even the Mahoosics.
    Itís also a short hop to NoConway which has lots of options for the non hikers.
    If your Barclays runner ( must be a badas#@,) wants an ultra challenge, the Pemi Loop is an epic, classic White Mountain trail run, and it covers the AT over Franconia ridge, Garfield, Twin, and the Bonds. 31 miles, 18,000ft up and down.
    Last edited by mverville; 12-21-2019 at 21:19.

  3. #23

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    Excellent suggestions!

    Quote Originally Posted by mverville View Post
    I would look in Jackson, Bartlett and Gorham.That puts you in the heart of the Presidentials, the Carters, maybe even the Mahoosics.
    It’s also a short hop to NoConway which has lots of options for the non hikers.
    If your Barclays runner ( must be a badas#@,) wants an ultra challenge, the Pemi Loop is an epic, classic White Mountain trail run, and it covers the AT over Franconia ridge, Garfield, Twin, and the Bonds. 31 miles, 18,000ft up and down.

  4. #24

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    You really can't go wrong with any of those locations. Besides the AT, there's over 1,000 miles of trails through the Whites (1420 miles described in the AMC White Mountain guide). So, there's no lack of choices. Many of those trails lead to a scenic vista.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  5. #25
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    Thank you, everyone! We are looking into all the suggested locations! With six people, we plan to get a house/cabin/condo - with a kitchen to save costs... as we will cook almost all our meals (might go out for one or two). We will also have our "cocktail hours" at home, but we would like the opportunity to go out for one or two (so keep the food/beverage suggestions coming!).

    I have a list of all the town everyone suggested, and I tried to look them up on a New Hampshire "road map" that I found online - without luck (I am comparing the online road map to my NPS AT Map, which is probably a mistake as that is a directionally altered map!). I will try to find somewhere to purchase an old fashioned atlas to figure out where these areas are in relation to the AT.

    Our plans include 6 days in the area with three days to include hiking/running and two days to include other things (one day might be just hanging out...). From the sounds of it, on the hiking/running days, the middle two boys will join my husband and me to hike... or they will shuttle between all of us (probably a combination).

    Many of you have made excellent suggestions for trails for hiking/running that I will be looking at. For me, the hiker, it would be nice if I could knock out a solid, consecutive 15 to 30 mile section slackpacking in three days (I realize my normal 15 - 20 mile days are not to be in this area). But, I am open to doing whatever to make it the best for my kids - even if it means I hike random sections...

    "Mverville" - you suggested that I
    "look in Jackson, Bartlett and Gorham.That puts you in the heart of the Presidentials, the Carters, maybe even the Mahoosics.Itís also a short hop to NoConway which has lots of options for the non hikers.If your Barclays runner ( must be a badas#@,) wants an ultra challenge, the Pemi Loop is an epic, classic White Mountain trail run, and it covers the AT over Franconia ridge, Garfield, Twin, and the Bonds. 31 miles, 18,000ft up and down.
    ---End Quote---

    Ha! I forwarded that to my son, and he said while he would be up for a challenge, he thought it would be best to do only half that on a vacay day (but he might change his mind), so he wasn't too sore the next day during family stuff. Is this possible? (Is there a good entry/exit point anywhere along the way?).

    Thank you all! This will be my 1st time getting all my family to the AT!

  6. #26

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    If you are buying something buy a copy of the most recent AMC White Mountain Guide. https://amcstore.outdoors.org/white-mountain-guide-30 It has a guide book with a description of all the trails in the White Mountains and includes 5 somewhat overlapping trails maps of all the trails and the nearby towns. The supplied maps are paper but keep them in ziplock bag and work fine. They also publish a plastic map that covers the entire region on one map with some limited trail descriptions on the back https://amcstore.outdoors.org/map-wh...nal-forest-map. Note unlike much of the AT, the AT is not a single named trail through the whites, it goes over a series of locally named trails. They do show the AT on the maps but when looking up trail descriptions you need to look up the local trail names.As en example the AT stretch over the presidential ridge starts at Crawford Notch on the Webster Cliff trail then turns onto the Webster Jackson Trail until it intersects the Crawford Path which then goes all the way to Mt Washington where it then transitions to the Gulfside Trail to Mt Madison then Transitions to the Osgood Trail and then to the Osgood Cutoff to the Old Jackson Road to Pinkham Notch. There are no public road crossings on this stretch but there are two tourist attractions, the Mt Washington Auto Road and the Cog Railroad, that go to the top of the Mt Washington (the intersection of the Crawford and Gulfside trails). They both charge a hefty fee per person for the privilege but both have "early" trips up in the morning. Note an odd thing on the above treeline stretches of the Crawford Path and the Gulfside is that the actual AT route skips the actual summits of some of the major peaks along the way. The AT actual bypasses these summits via more protected bypass routes while a side trails go over the actual summit. If you are strictly following white blazes you miss the very nice summits of Eisenhower, Monroe, Jefferson, and Adams. If you are sticking to the AT, you have to add in some extra mileage and elevation to climb a side trail to the actual summit from the AT. Many northbounders just go over the summits and skip the section of the AT that bypasses them. The reason for this is the AT bypasses are slightly more sheltered in bad and windy weather. All the summits I listed have little or no cover.

    The AT runs along the ridgeline above the surrounding roads, there are mountain passes (called "Notches" locally that do cross the AT. They are Kinsman Notch accessed from Lincoln and Woodstock, Franconia Notch accessed from Franconia and Lincoln, Crawford Notch which is closest to Twin Mountain (a village of Carroll NH), Pinkham Notch accessed from Gorham or Jackson. The last road crossing is US RT 2 in Shelburne with Gorham just down the road. These stretches of the AT are mostly 2 or 3 day hikes so to cut them into a reasonable day hike you end up taking a side trail from the base of the ridge and then intersecting the AT.

    The vast majority of 1st time hikers to the area overestimate their abilities to crank out miles on the AT. As discussed previously its best to break up day hikes with days off doing other activities.

    As for the trail runners, The Presidential Traverse is pretty well the premier trail run in the whites. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_Traverse. There are some variations on this run on both the northern and southern ends that add of substract miles. The northern most peak is Mt Madison accessed from either the Valley Way in Randolph (the most popular) The Daniel Webster Scout Trail in Martins Location (a unorganized town south of Gorham) or for the real hardcores Pinkham Notch which adds lots of miles. The South End of the traverse is but more nebulous, technically the last Presidential summit is Mt Pierce and the Crawford Path would be taken down to the north end of Crawford Notch (at the AMC Highland Center) but in recent years many keep going on the AT and add several miles to pick up Jackson and Webster and then down to the south side of the Crawford Notch.

    The Pemi loop is longer, roughly half of it is the AT and the other half are side trails. The AT section is the top of the ridgeline. There is long section of old railroad grade and old logging roads on the non AT section. The traditional starting point is just outside Lincoln NH at the Lincoln Woods parking area. Accessing the AT section means a trip up and down a side trail.

  7. #27

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    The 9 AM hiker shuttle via the auto road stage is a good way to get to the top of Washington and hike back down. That eliminates a lot of work and makes it more practical to do half the traverse without pushing yourself to the limits.

    I did that with a friend and hiked to the RMC Perch for the night, mostly just to spend a night out and so we could take our time and enjoy the views. Could have gone down to the road instead. We happened to pick a really clear morning and saw the ocean from the summit. That doesn't happen very often.

    Price wise, it's not all that unreasonable, I think $30, unless your over 60, then it's just 20. The Cog on the other hand is wicked expensive.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  8. #28

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    The autoroad also on rare occasions schedule early openings to allow folks to watch the sunrise. Given the changing weather on the summit and long days in the summer no need to rush up if there is good forecast. Sunset in late june/early July is 8:30 with twilight stretching to 9 PM. Obviously bring a headlamp with good batteries but assuming a 10 AM start from the summit there is still 11 hours of hiking which would get a party to either end of the ridge in plenty of time.

    BTW the on the closest weekend to the summer solstice, there is a tradition for hikers to do the single day presi traverse. Many folks including myself (not a fast hiker) do the whole ridge. Its a sunrise to sunset hike for many but its surprising how many folks do it. It normally takes me day to recover. The key is set a reasonable pace and avoid the inevitable tourist trap on the summit of Mt Washington. Due to the crowds and lines on the summit, its hard not to spend less than an hour if its nice day. The line to get access to the summit sign is usually 30 to 45 minutes and the line to refill water bottles is usually 15 minutes. I usually skip the summit and take the West Side trail, then fill up water at the AMC Lake of the Clouds hut.

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