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  1. #1

    Default 2020 2 Week trip New Hampshire Plan

    Time: The 2 weeks prior to July 4th holiday

    Plan: The plan is for myself and 2 hiking buddies to fly up to Boston and rent a minivan. Drive it to Franconia Notch and start hiking. 1 of the hiking buddies has zero desire to hike every mile, and when I pitched the idea of him being in charge of a support van for 2 weeks he went nuts with excitement. The other buddy would like to hike all the miles with me.

    Cost: I spent $220 getting from Franconia Notch to Boston last year. Spending that BOTH ways this year would put me/ us at $440. The van rental will be $1k for 2 weeks. So between the airport shuttles, and slack pack shuttles, rides to and from the trail and the luxury of having a resupply van bouncing up the trail with us, it seems like both a fun twist to a trip, as well as accommodating for the friend that has no interest in living out of a backpack for 2 weeks. He can hike as he wants, when he gets tired, shuttle/ hitch back to the van, do day hikes, slack us around etc.
    I am aware that thru the next several sections of the whites there is not motor access so the first 6 days or so there will not be a lot of use of the van. But we will be able to bounce it at the notches that have road access.
    At this point in the completion of the AT....What does cost even mean....and this expense will be divided by 3, well employed young men on vacation.
    Trail Miles: 3,978.2 - AT Trips: 70
    AT Map 1: 2004.8
    AT Map 2: 265.0
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 59.0
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  2. #2
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    You could probably save some $$ getting larger car, since there are only three of you. Vans are substantially higher to rent than cars. Another idea is to take the bus to Concord and rent from there. Often airport locations have higher taxes, and NH rates are likely cheaper than Mass. It is easy to get a bus to Concord.

    Sounds like a good plan, you are lucky to have someone willing to drive you. I assume you are trying to make it to Grafton Notch in Maine, you should be able to make it that far pretty easily if not well farther.

    In late July, my wife and I are hiking SB from Grafton Notch to Gorham and I am very excited about that. We have a friend driving to the start and taking the bus back to Boston for the return trip. This will complete NH for me, and give me my first Maine miles.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_zavocki View Post
    You could probably save some $$ getting larger car, since there are only three of you. Vans are substantially higher to rent than cars. Another idea is to take the bus to Concord and rent from there. Often airport locations have higher taxes, and NH rates are likely cheaper than Mass. It is easy to get a bus to Concord.

    Sounds like a good plan, you are lucky to have someone willing to drive you. I assume you are trying to make it to Grafton Notch in Maine, you should be able to make it that far pretty easily if not well farther.

    In late July, my wife and I are hiking SB from Grafton Notch to Gorham and I am very excited about that. We have a friend driving to the start and taking the bus back to Boston for the return trip. This will complete NH for me, and give me my first Maine miles.
    Thanks I will look into that! I learned last year in NH to expect 7-8 miles a day and be happy if you get more. So I really havent even planned an end location and dont know that I will, but yes I am planning on walking into Maine this trip.
    Trail Miles: 3,978.2 - AT Trips: 70
    AT Map 1: 2004.8
    AT Map 2: 265.0
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 59.0
    BMT Map: 57.7
    Pinhoti Trail Map: 0.0

  4. #4
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    There is an Enterprise car rental in Gorham, NH. Prices and availability of rental cars and vans are pretty good. It might be easier renting there, so you can pickup the vehicle when you want it and drop it when you want, and save money by using the bus to and from Boston. I used Concord last year to get to Gorham, and it was pretty easy; although it arrived in Gorham late in the evening.

    Now the downside. Concord Trailways, which is the only bus company I know of going to the White Mountains area of NH has suspended all operations until further notice. Surely in two months that will change - won't it?
    Trail Name - Slapshot
    "One step at a time."
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  5. #5
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    I hope you enjoy your trip Gambit. May be the bugs be few, and the winds light. We'll be up there in Aug/Sept.

  6. #6
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    So I really havent even planned an end location and dont know that I will, but yes I am planning on walking into Maine this trip.
    If you make it to Andover, Maine or actually most anywhere south of there, try this shuttle:

    Pine Ellis Lodge
    Andover
    S.D. Rousselin
    Cell 207-890-9172
    [email protected]

    I didn't stay at the hostel, but the driver told me it's right in town as opposed to the Human Nature Hostel, which is way out of town and near nothing. The shuttle gave me a ride to Gorham for under $90 where I caught a bus to Boston, but they would just as easily drive you to the Portland airport (for more money of course).
    Trail Name - Slapshot
    "One step at a time."
    Blog - www.tonysadventure.com

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    If you make it to Andover, Maine or actually most anywhere south of there, try this shuttle:

    Pine Ellis Lodge
    Andover
    S.D. Rousselin
    Cell 207-890-9172
    [email protected]

    I didn't stay at the hostel, but the driver told me it's right in town as opposed to the Human Nature Hostel, which is way out of town and near nothing. The shuttle gave me a ride to Gorham for under $90 where I caught a bus to Boston, but they would just as easily drive you to the Portland airport (for more money of course).
    I did stay at Pine Ellis this past summer multiple nights, shuttle to US 2 and then later slack packing a couple days around Andover. I enjoyed my stay with them and would recommend them as both a hostel and shuttle. Also really enjoyed eating at the diner inside the general store that is only a block or two away.
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


  8. #8

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    Why fly (unless the airline have really reduced prices)? I would just rent a car and drive up together. With gas at 99 cents a gallon, this could probably save you a lot of money. With three drivers should not take that much more time than the hassle through the airports. 18 hours/3 drivers, drive 6 hours, sleep 12. Also no worries about fuel, protecting your pack, and all the rest of the hassle with flying.
    Key assumption is that your two friends are near and not spread out with Boston as your connection point.
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


  9. #9

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    There is no public transportation from the Manchester airport. At best you might get an expensive taxi ride up to Concord, but your timing has to be impeccable, since there is only one bus a day to Gorham. The fact that it arrives in Concord about 6 PM (assuming no traffic coming out of Boston, usually it's an hour late) helps.

    Your trip is still 2 months away, but there are a lot of unknowns. Airlines will likely still be on a much reduced schedule. Will the Concord bus be running again? If it is, will they keep the Concord to Berlin run since it never has much ridership to begin with? Will the campgrounds be open? Will hostels bother to open?

    So far we have managed to keep the virus out of Coos county, but that can change once tourist season starts. Once it does get here, it could hit the local population hard. You know my position on this, put the hike off until next year and stay home. With all the uncertainties, that's your best option.
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  10. #10

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    Slacking the whites used to be a much discussed topic and its still relevant. Unless you want to add a zero to you budget ($ 2200) you are not staying at the AMC huts so your choice is carrying more gear and using the public campsites or going light and putting in longer daily miles. A possible breakdown would be.

    Glencliff to Kinsman Notch (2) some treeline
    Kinsman Notch to the parkway (3) some treeline
    Parkway to Garfield (3) 1/2 treeline
    Garfield to Zealand (2) minimal treeline
    Zealand to RT 302 (1) short day no treeline
    RT 302 to Lake of the Clouds (2) 1/2 treeline
    Lake of the Clouds to Jefferson (2) all treeline
    Jefferson to Great Gulf. (2)1/2 treeline
    Great Gulf to Pinkham (short day)no treeline
    Pinkham to 19 Carter Notch (2) no treeline
    Carter Notch to Gorham (3) some treeline

    The numbers in ( ) are my swags at difficulty. The trick is you need to move around picking the sections to match the weather. Start out with the (1)s to get your trail legs and then grab the treeline sections on the good days and fill in with the 2s on iffy days. There are free WMNF campsites hidden away in few spots along FS roads that would be good to base camp at, they have zero services (no outhouses) but are dispersed and you can stay at them for up to 10 days in a row.

    Some campsite are not be missed while some arejust spots to camp. Both Kinsman Pond, Guyot and Liberty Springs are in the woods for shelter but a 10 to 15 minute walk gives you summit views to watch sunrise or sunset. Ethan Pond, Nauman both are crowded in the woods

    Many of the slack points are not roads you will need to hike up a side trail and possibly have to gain 2 to 3 thousand feet in the AM to get the the AT. Hopefully your "driver" is a fisherman or he can just day hike and meet you almost daily for lunch and hang out at the campsite on iffy days. If you spring for ride up the autoroad for two days you can hike down off of Mt Washington both north and south without a hike in from a trailhead.

    Obviously the big caveat is CV-19. AMC is still taking reservations after June 1st for the huts but they are probably the last option to open up. I expect anyone with early summer hut reservations may be rescheduling. Even if you do not stay at the huts it means planning water sources a bit more carefully as some parts of the ridgeline are dry except for the huts. At a minimum it means more filtering. The WMNF has currently blocked many trailhead for parking but allow foot travel so being dropped off is currently acceptable.

    I am more optimistic about July but right now May and June are still looking dicey.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    Why fly (unless the airline have really reduced prices)? I would just rent a car and drive up together. With gas at 99 cents a gallon, this could probably save you a lot of money. With three drivers should not take that much more time than the hassle through the airports. 18 hours/3 drivers, drive 6 hours, sleep 12. Also no worries about fuel, protecting your pack, and all the rest of the hassle with flying.
    Key assumption is that your two friends are near and not spread out with Boston as your connection point.
    Or better yet, take your own car and eliminate the rental fee.
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


  12. #12
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Food for thought:
    Driving will be cheaper out of pocket and at worse break even - even if you can get <$150 RT flights Nashville to Logan. Downside is driving time, but flying is still always a whole day event IMO, so ...
    Factor in parking fees at Nashville or transport costs and car rental costs at Boston - $500 in flights + $1K rental car
    Taking your own vehicle approx 3000 miles (roughly 2400 Cookeville to Gorham + driving around NH) is a true cost of around $1380 (@ 46 / mile) once you factor in wear and tear, depreciation, etc into the cost - not just the out of pocket gas. Add in some tolls and such as well. Call it $1500.
    Taking your own vehicle will allow the non/less hiking friend to bring more base camp gear - large tent, stove, cookware, cooler, etc, etc, etc - all that glamping stuff Then he can chill some beers in the cooler and cook some steak dinners for you while you're off slacking the Whites.

  13. #13

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    Why do you say it like that, the two weeks prior to the July 4th holiday? When in June are you going? June 20th? Do your buddies have to fly to Boston because they don't live near you? Not even a single mention of how you might take into account that there is currently a pandemic? That is NOT going to change in 7 weeks. Did you test positive for antibodies? It's like you are ignoring the elephant in the room. This reads like a thread from last year. It's not 2019. You are planning to go to NH, where there is a Hike Safe program? What are you going to be doing to safely hike in the middle of a pandemic? Passing through a couple airports and the bus terminal? Last year when I rode the bus up there, I practically had to beg not to miss my bus it was packed. Better hope it's not that way if you use it.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alligator View Post
    This reads like a thread from last year. It's not 2019.
    Had the same thoughts myself. Did a double take at the time stamp.
    The Whites are going to be packed then with day hikers. I'd seriously reconsider.

  15. #15

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    The whites are packed with dayhikers from May to October, They tend to be doing the side trails going up to ridgeline, while thruhikers are hiking the ridgeline. Yes there are some stretches that coincide with popular hiking loops like Franconia Ridge from Haystack to Lafayette and the stretch from Lake of Clouds (AKA Lake of the Crowds) to the south side of Mt Clay where the Jewell trail cuts off. Daytime crowds is not a significant issue, the problem is campsites. unlike much of the AT, the terrain and vegetation types in the whites along the ridgeline make "stealth camping" quite difficult. Add in various WMNF regulations and a hiker tends to need to stay at established campsites. They are crowded with groups prior to summer vacation and then busy with overnighters the rest of the time. AMC has caretakers at the campsites from Franconia Notch to Shelburne and some of the sites in the Mahoosucs. They manage the site to cram in as many people as possible and have some backup sites identified when full. The sites fill up early so by the time a thruhiker makes it there, they may be relegated to the oveflow sites. Thus my recommendation is do longer days as slackpacks

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alligator View Post
    Why do you say it like that, the two weeks prior to the July 4th holiday? When in June are you going? June 20th? Do your buddies have to fly to Boston because they don't live near you? Not even a single mention of how you might take into account that there is currently a pandemic? That is NOT going to change in 7 weeks. Did you test positive for antibodies? It's like you are ignoring the elephant in the room. This reads like a thread from last year. It's not 2019. You are planning to go to NH, where there is a Hike Safe program? What are you going to be doing to safely hike in the middle of a pandemic? Passing through a couple airports and the bus terminal? Last year when I rode the bus up there, I practically had to beg not to miss my bus it was packed. Better hope it's not that way if you use it.
    IMO it was common sense that if the pandemic is still an active concern that the trip would not occur. Rentals, flights etc can be canceled for a small fee or for no fee a lot of times.

    No I will not be driving from TN to NH, 4eyedbuzzard had good points in that cost wise it would cut even minus wear and tear.

    2 weeks prior to the July 4th Holiday would June 20th yep...
    Trail Miles: 3,978.2 - AT Trips: 70
    AT Map 1: 2004.8
    AT Map 2: 265.0
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 59.0
    BMT Map: 57.7
    Pinhoti Trail Map: 0.0

  17. #17
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    Good luck Gambit - hope you have a blast!
    It's all good in the woods.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    IMO it was common sense that if the pandemic is still an active concern that the trip would not occur. Rentals, flights etc can be canceled for a small fee or for no fee a lot of times.

    No I will not be driving from TN to NH, 4eyedbuzzard had good points in that cost wise it would cut even minus wear and tear.

    2 weeks prior to the July 4th Holiday would June 20th yep...
    There's going to still be a pandemic is 7 weeks Gambit. I'd love to tell you otherwise, but there comes a time when the slightly possible is effectively zero. MA is still very active in cases at the moment. Passing through Boston both on a plane and then possibly the bus is not a good bet. If you go ahead and buy a plane ticket, keep in mind that with the pandemic known, the airlines are less likely to offer full exchange policies, particularly if the states have "reopened". Be real thorough in researching how might be able to rebook or possibly get a refund. And the buses out of Boston are like the buses out of NY, actual crowded terminals as you probably have already seen.

    When you have a plan like this, it's good to have what's called a "trigger point". It's the criteria that activates Plan B, or C, or D when things go south. That way you are not overly committed and in the moment make the wrong decision. Make yourself a solid trigger point(s) and stick to it.

    I'll play optimist for a bit. I won't suggest anything to do with Boston though. Suppose infection rates and testing make things manageable in other places. Let's rule out NY, NJ, MA for the moment too. Maybe you could fly into Portland, or Manchester. You're going to need PPE, hand sanitizer, soap, masks, disposable gloves. You will need a rental car and I cannot emphasize strongly enough how well you will want to read and understand the rental car agreement. The agents at the airports are pros in screwing customers. They have hundreds to thousands of customer interactions under their belts and they will screw you without a second thought. They know you want to get out of there. Next, having your buddy as resupply and transport is great but please seriously consider minimizing interactions with the local population. Sure they need the money but they don't need Covid-19. Anything more frequent then the usual weekly shopping run has the potential to strain the system. The longer this goes, the more people will need some outlets, but we have to be real careful about how we go about it. There is no return to normal until there are effective therapies and/or a vaccine. There really are people's lives at stake. It's up to you to be a good trail steward and that includes while you are in the trail communities that are part of the AT.

    I have to say also that Peakbagger made some excellent points about campsites. Very good chance you will need to use established sites. Those sites force people to congregate and share the bear boxes. Maybe start something a little closer to home, perhaps the BMT? Or do a little bit of Maine perhaps instead?
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

  19. #19

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    You MUST use official designated sites in the Whites (along the AT). To do otherwise is irresponsible and in most places, simply not physically possible or illegal.

    To travel any distance from home to go hiking is also very irresponsible. There is a big push to "re-open" (damn the consequences), but everyone with any sense is going to say "not on my life". The tourist industry is dead for the foreseeable future. The trail will still be here when this finally blows over, hopefully you will be too.
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  20. #20

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    Maine is definitely a lot easier to self distance especially around June 20th as the black flies are still out which will keep a lot of folks off the trail.

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