Article on thruers at Dartmouth from the AP the other day..

Annual wave of AT hikers hits New Hampshire
Associated Press Newswires
July 22, 2006

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) - Two showers later, with clean clothes on his back and some fresh fruit in his pack, 26-year-old Luke Harrison was heading out of town and back onto the Appalachian Trail toward Maine's Mount Katahdin.

"You look forward to it -- a shower, do your laundry," he said of his stopover.

The Kansas City resident is leading the annual wave of hikers who stop in town on their way up the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail.

"It had been slow for a while, but it's been a lot busier the last week or so," said Laura Dukeshire, who greets hikers at the front desk of the Dartmouth College Outing Club's headquarters. "We've been seeing at least three to eight a day."

Hikers also are frequent visitors to the local post office, where they pick up packages of food, clothes, gear and send out the stuff they don't want to carry into the White Mountains.

"We do know that between now and going into August are the peak times," Postmaster Beth Dakoulas said.

But like the summer's crops, they've been delayed by June's bad weather.

"To me, at least, it seems like it's quieter this year," Dakoulas said. "Maybe it's all the rain we've had. We had two people call to say to hold their packages, because they were running behind."

Joe Klinedinst, a teacher from York, Pa., covered the 1,700 miles from Georgia's Springer Mountain to New Hampshire in a little less than three months.

"When I got to that (Ledyard) bridge from Vermont into New Hampshire and saw that sign this morning, nothing hurt anymore," Klinedinst recalled. "I was whistling. I was skipping."

By late Friday morning, he was reconnecting with the rest of the world at an Internet terminal at the Outing Club.

"This is my first stop," he said. "I need to get to the hardware store, then an outfitter. My last step is to patch things up, buy fuel for the stove and gear up for the Whites."

Trekkers often struggle against the temptation to stay too long.

Maine's Baxter State Park closes Katahdin to hikers around mid-October, and many of them don't have that long.

"I'm a little late," Klinedinst said. "School starts at the end of August."

And he's not the only one with miles to go. "There's some big packs coming behind me," he said.

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