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  1. #1
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    Default New Zealanders Hiking 10 Days on Appalachian Trail (Vermont/New Hampshire)13

    Kia Ora AT friends,

    I'm an American 2009 thru-hiker who has been living in New Zealand for the past 13 months teaching outdoor education. Parents of one of my students has requested some information in regards to a 10-day hike in Vermont/New Hampshire this coming August. I no longer have the AT Thru-Hikers Companion (2009 Version), which I was hoping to provide to them. What might be most helpful is if I copy and paste the email below and hopefully others can offer their advice and help.

    In advance, thank you for your help. The Appalachian Trail is still, by far, the most rewarding experience of my life.

    Kind regards,

    Tully

    ------

    Hi Steven,

    Happy New Year to you. We are Brookes parents and she said you had done the App Trail and would be good to chat with.

    We are considering doing a part of the App Trail in August. We have heard that there are huts/lodges across Vermount/New Hampshire so we are looking at doing that section.

    We are aiming for a 10 day trek and staying in catered huts if possible. No major if a few nights of accommodation not possible.

    We did the Walkers Haute Route in Switzerland this year so used to long distances etc

    Any advice would be most welcome.

    Kind Regards

    Clayton


    Dear Clayton,

    Happy New Year to you & family as well. Know that it was a pleasure to have Brooke in the Duke of Edinburgh program in the Waitaks many months back.

    Lovely to hear that you will plan to hike some of the Appalachian Trail VT/NH section in August. I found that the last three states were the most enjoyable (Vermont, New Hampshire & Maine), while Maine provided the greatest opportunity for wilderness. If you can squeeze in Maine, even passing through in a car, it might be worth it; you could literally spend weeks/months there.

    I have sent out a request to my friends to acquire the ALDHA Thru-Hikers Companion section for Vermont/New Hampshire. This will help you determine distances, water spots, campsites, amenities/hotels at trailheads, etc. Once I obtain this ‘Companion’, I will have a review and then send it to you with recommendations.

    With the sole exception of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, the Appalachian Trail utilizes ‘shelters’ for the duration of the trail. These shelters are, essentially, a three-sided enclosed ‘barn’ that sits out in the middle of the woods. Some are run down, sometimes they have mice, sometimes you get visitors of bears, moose, raccoons, skunks, etc. If you hike through Vermont and plan on staying in these shelters, you would need to have a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, cooking supplies, etc, as if you are fully out in the bush. These shelters have no running water (as per a rainwater jug like a backcountry hut in NZ), but purposefully are in close proximity to streams.

    In contrast, the White Mountains in New Hampshire have fully-catered huts, working via the esteemed Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). These huts are similar to the huts you’ll find here in New Zealand; they will also provide excellent meals and, depending on size of the hut, have a few (to many) people working in them. Imagine Pinnacles Hut in the Coromandel with a deliciously cooked meal and heaps of interesting people. You’ll most likely have thru-hikers passing through, doing a work-for-stay; you can identify them by smell (very stinky) or by sight (massive beards for males). I think that fees vary from hut to hut and bookings are essential for each one. Here is a list of these huts:
    http://hikethewhites.com/huts.html. I only stayed at Zealand Hut (aptly named, no?, great waterfall there) and Lakes of the Clouds Hut (just below Mt. Washington). Elsewhere in the Whites, we stealth-camped, which is against AMC policy, but common amongst thru-hikers, while still maintaining ‘Leave No Trace’ principles.

    The entire section of the Whites is spectacular, though, I distinctly remember that Franconia Ridge was my favorite section. If you would like to traverse the entire White Mountains, one normally hikes from Glencliff, NH to Gorham, NH. It would encompass different mountain climbs, notches, and ridges, with the pinnacle of hitting Mt. Washington, which is known as having had (past tense) the fastest land wind ever recorded at 231 mph. While we were up top, we became caught in a storm with wind gusts of 80+ mph.

    As I do not currently have the ALDHA Companion (can be found/purchased here: http://www.aldha.org/comp_pdf.htm), I cannot provide you with specific details. This Companion should have town information at specific road crossings (restaurants, resupply, hotels, etc.). Presumably, there will be shuttles throughout the White Mountains from town to trailheads and vice-versa, and you might be able to organize shuttles in Vermont. Again, this companion is forthcoming once one of my colleagues sends it to me. Meanwhile, for a personal account of the White Mountains, feel free to visit my Trail Journals: http://trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=290333. I have it set for somewhere in the Whites.

    This is all for now, Clayton. More info to come and please let me know if you have any specific questions.

    Kind regards,

    Tully

  2. #2

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    Hi Tully, I have a 2010 AT Guide I can send you if you like. I'm in Wellington (NZ) so PM your address and I can post it off. I have a 2009 guide (I did 2 months that year on the AT) and want to keep it but the 2010 guide is yours if you want to pass it on.

    -Rick

  3. #3

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    Some things to keep in mind for the visitors. Public transportation in NH and VT is very poor so getting to the trail is a challenge from a major airport. There are some options in the whites where they would take a bus to Lincoln NH from the airport and then take a bus back to the airport from Gorham NH. That would cover the white mountains. There are shuttle firms that will give rides but they are expensive for the distances involved $1 to $1.50 per mile in both directions is not unusual. Other possible options are to get on the trail in Hanover NH or at Killington Pass from Rutland.

    I got to visit NZ a few years back and the AMC huts in the whites are not as nice as the Milford track or Routeburn Track guided accomodations. There really arent any options like the shelters in NZ with the large cooking room and seperate bunkhouse run by the government. The AMC huts are in very nice locations along the trail, but the accomodations are common bunkrooms holding 20 to 50 people (a couple huts have smaller bunkrooms) with composting toilets, cold water outdoor showers if at all. The food is good and if they like lots of people in a small space it might work for them. Reservations for the huts need to be made as early as possible as they fill up quickly. They are not inexpensive. AMC's website is outdoors.org. In the whites there are also AMC shelters and tentsites, these consist of a basic three sided adirondack shelter with a pit toilet (I believe the NZ term is a "long drop") with water from a local stream or pond that must be treated or filtered. They may be free but may cost $8 at the high use facilities with a caretaker.

    Outside of the whites (south of Glencliff or north of Gorham) the shelters/tent sites vary but they usually consist of a open shelter that holds 6 to 12 people with a pit toilet and a water source that needs to be treated or filtered. These are first come first served and many folks would prefer to tent as the shelters fill up. The Green Mountain Club has caretakers at some of their high use shelters and charge $8 per person, generally there is a no cost option with a few miles.

    There are resupply options at many locations within a few miles of the trail, but one place that doesnt have a good option is Glencliff NH, most folks used to send supplies to the local post office, but the local post office is scheduled to close so a good option hasnt been worked out.(I expect it will be as there is a local hostel nearby) If that area is on the itinerary, keep an eye on whiteblaze. The various thruhiker guides are updated yearly so if they use an old version they need to make sure that the information is correct.

  4. #4
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    I did a 10-day hike in NH last August, and stayed at AMC huts along the way. My advice is to join the Appalachian Mountain Club, which you can do on-line (about $70 annual membership). Then, as soon as you know when you will be hiking, reserve one of their hut-to-hut or hut-to-lodge packages. The "huts" are cabins which are one day's hike apart along the AT; they resemble a rustic B&B in the wilderness; and the multiple nite discount for AMC members is about 25%, so you will pay about $60-$75 a nite per person, which gets you a warm bed in a dormitory, breakfast, and dinner. They all provide fresh water, so you should only have to carry a light sleeping bag, lunch, and foul weather gear (I had driving rain and 40-mph winds one day, then sun and 60 degrees the next).

  5. #5
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    Thank you, all! I have copied and pasted this information and sent it off to my Kiwi friends. Rick has also sent them a 2010 companion, which should be good use for them. Always great to get new people out on the AT. Hike on! Regards, Tully

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