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  1. #1

    Default White Mountains > Presidential Traverse > Hammock Camping Advise

    My buddy and I are going to do a 2-day, 1-night (hopefully) or maybe a 3-day, 2-night (second option) Presidential Traverse in mid-July this year. I am specifically looking for some info on the logistics of using our hammocks.

    I understand there is no camping in the Alpine Zones so most, if not all, of our sleeping options will require a descent off the ridge to either a designated camping area, or at least a suitable forrest area that falls within the camping regulations.

    I guess I am looking for advice on the best, or at least, good hammock camping areas along the Traverse. Preferably ones that you may have used in the past.

    Second, I would also appreciate any general tips or advise for this hike. We did almost half of the Pemi loop (four years ago) but chose to leave the loop and head down to the valley due to forecasted 50 - 60 mph winds and heavy rain with lightning. Unfortunately we were in a time crunch and were not able to go back up to complete the loop. Bummer.

    Any advise will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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  2. #2

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    You'll have to descend steeply 2000 feet or more to get into hardwoods suitable for hammocks. Basically, there are no good options to do that.

    Pony up the big bucks and stay at Lake of Clouds or stay home.
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  3. #3

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    Ok, so if we don't take our hammocks, then I am guessing there are camping areas for tents? There has to be camp areas because people do this stretch in two or three days which means there is at least one or maybe two overnights.

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  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    09-16-2007
    Location
    Montpelier, VT
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    68
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    112

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    As Slo-go'en wrote, you may want to stay at Lake of the Clouds hut. It is not clear how much of the Presidential Traverse you are doing. There are campsite, where I assume one could put up a hammock, at Liberty Springs, Garfield Ridge, Ethan Pond, Neiman (next to Mizpah Springs hut), and below Mt. Madison in two directions. You could start by looking at a map, which shows the campsites and determine if you want to hike the distances.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatLakesBackpacker View Post
    Ok, so if we don't take our hammocks, then I am guessing there are camping areas for tents? There has to be camp areas because people do this stretch in two or three days which means there is at least one or maybe two overnights.

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    Huts don't allow tents. If you pay to stay you avoid having to hike down below treeline. Whether you stay at official sites or not you still have to go up and down to get into the trees. When wanting to use my hammock at official sites I do whatever they person running the camp tells me to, as most of them have a host to control the masses. Sometimes they put me in a great spot, sometimes it sucks, but they have a really hard job so I don't argue with them.

    Your options are are really between paying to stay on trail or hiking down and back up to camp in the trees.
    “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready...”~Henry David Thoreau

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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatLakesBackpacker View Post
    Ok, so if we don't take our hammocks, then I am guessing there are camping areas for tents? There has to be camp areas because people do this stretch in two or three days which means there is at least one or maybe two overnights.Sent from my SM-G781V using Tapatalk
    They stay at the huts. There is camping at the Nauman tent site near Crawford Notch at the south end and at the Osgood site at the north end, but are very far apart. A thru hiker can do that in a day if they hustle, but normal people can't.

    There are two tent sites below Mt Adams and Mt Madison, but they are below the ridge by a good mile and 1000 or more feet. They have limited space and fill up quickly from people hiking up from the valley, so by the time someone doing a traverse gets there, there is no more room and your pretty much screwed at that point.

    Mid July is the peak of the season in the Whites and the number of people showing up is exceeding the capacity of the area to handle by a lot.

    So, what are your options?
    1) Stay at the huts. Expensive yes, but it makes it so, so much easier. Only getting reservations for the dates you want might not be possible at this time.

    2) Split the hike in half and do it in two segments. There is a hiker shuttle from the MT Washington auto road to the summit at 9AM. You then hike either south or north.

    There is a AMC shuttle which gets you around from one end to the other. On request, they will stop at the auto road. You'd only have to use the shuttle after doing the southern leg to Crawford. From Osgood, you can walk to the auto road.

    So, if you did the north end first, Washington to Pinkham, with an early start from Osgood you could get back to the auto road in time for the 9AM shuttle to the summit, then head for Nauman. Then use the morning AMC shuttle back to the Auto road to pick up your car.
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  7. #7

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    FYI You can not practically or legally drop down off the ridgeline on all side Trails.

    https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE...rdb5363715.pdf

    Generally when going from South to North, taking any path to your right puts you in nasty territory and almost always in wilderness area so you need to be 200 feet off the trail. In many cases you are losing a lot of elevation before you encounter anything suitable to hang a hammock.

    Ir you take a left, Edmands Path has suitable trees about1/2 mile down the trail and water along the way.

    Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail is no camping all the way down to past Gem Pool. Its long long way down.

    Jewell Trail has some rough camping down below treeline but its very exposed and the trees are small,, my guess you are on the ground.

    There are no good options off of Jefferson, they are all very long downs.

    As mentioned RMC has some legal sites that get mobbed on Adams.

    Great Gully is no where you want to go unless an uncontrolled fall is on your list

    Valley Way campsite is mobbed all the time. There are some trees downslope on a steep slope that would work for hammocks.

    Howker Ridge and the Daniel Webster Scout trail are both very long hikes down.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    They stay at the huts. There is camping at the Nauman tent site near Crawford Notch at the south end and at the Osgood site at the north end, but are very far apart. A thru hiker can do that in a day if they hustle, but normal people can't.

    There are two tent sites below Mt Adams and Mt Madison, but they are below the ridge by a good mile and 1000 or more feet. They have limited space and fill up quickly from people hiking up from the valley, so by the time someone doing a traverse gets there, there is no more room and your pretty much screwed at that point.

    Mid July is the peak of the season in the Whites and the number of people showing up is exceeding the capacity of the area to handle by a lot.

    So, what are your options?
    1) Stay at the huts. Expensive yes, but it makes it so, so much easier. Only getting reservations for the dates you want might not be possible at this time.

    2) Split the hike in half and do it in two segments. There is a hiker shuttle from the MT Washington auto road to the summit at 9AM. You then hike either south or north.

    There is a AMC shuttle which gets you around from one end to the other. On request, they will stop at the auto road. You'd only have to use the shuttle after doing the southern leg to Crawford. From Osgood, you can walk to the auto road.

    So, if you did the north end first, Washington to Pinkham, with an early start from Osgood you could get back to the auto road in time for the 9AM shuttle to the summit, then head for Nauman. Then use the morning AMC shuttle back to the Auto road to pick up your car.
    Thanks for the info. I definitely did know any of that. It looks like we may need to rethink how we plan to do this. Although, this is exactly why I asked the question.

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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    FYI You can not practically or legally drop down off the ridgeline on all side Trails.

    https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE...rdb5363715.pdf

    Generally when going from South to North, taking any path to your right puts you in nasty territory and almost always in wilderness area so you need to be 200 feet off the trail. In many cases you are losing a lot of elevation before you encounter anything suitable to hang a hammock.

    Ir you take a left, Edmands Path has suitable trees about1/2 mile down the trail and water along the way.

    Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail is no camping all the way down to past Gem Pool. Its long long way down.

    Jewell Trail has some rough camping down below treeline but its very exposed and the trees are small,, my guess you are on the ground.

    There are no good options off of Jefferson, they are all very long downs.

    As mentioned RMC has some legal sites that get mobbed on Adams.

    Great Gully is no where you want to go unless an uncontrolled fall is on your list

    Valley Way campsite is mobbed all the time. There are some trees downslope on a steep slope that would work for hammocks.

    Howker Ridge and the Daniel Webster Scout trail are both very long hikes down.
    Thank you for the info. We now have some serious things to contemplate. It seems we have many fewer options than when we attempted the Pemi loop several years ago.

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  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-06-2007
    Location
    Washington, DC
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    46
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    56

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    Check out the Perch campsite run by the Randolph Mountain Club (RMC) tent platforms and if a little over crowded they have (in the past) directed me to near by spots to pitch a tent. They also have a cabin off of MT Adams which is way cheaper than the AMC huts without the service.

  11. #11

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    FYI, RMCs cabins (they have two of them, gray knob and Crag camp) were closed due to Covid last year and they have not announced if an how they will run the huts this year.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by DCHiker View Post
    Check out the Perch campsite run by the Randolph Mountain Club (RMC) tent platforms and if a little over crowded they have (in the past) directed me to near by spots to pitch a tent. They also have a cabin off of MT Adams which is way cheaper than the AMC huts without the service.
    Thank you. I will look into that as an option.

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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    FYI, RMCs cabins (they have two of them, gray knob and Crag camp) were closed due to Covid last year and they have not announced if an how they will run the huts this year.
    Ok. Thank you.

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  14. #14

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    Generally when going from South to North, taking any path to your right puts you in nasty territory and almost always in wilderness area so you need to be 200 feet off the trail. In many cases you are losing a lot of elevation before you encounter anything suitable to hang a hammock.
    That's actually a valid point. And some aspects depend on a hammock, that you're going to bring with you. When I was making my first long-distance trip, I could find pretty awesome camping hammock buyer guide from outdoor federation, where I could get all the tips and advises about each type of hammock, and information about cases, when it's better to use a hammock, and in which cases it would be a bad idea for me as a traveler.

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