I’m writing for the sake of my own memory, but you’re welcome along for the read! I promise to share a lot of pictures . . .
I wanted to join Hiker Hubby on a few-days’ hike in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He’s almost finished climbing all of the 4,000 footers, and had a tiny bit of the Appalachian Trail to cover in the area as well.
We decided, for my sake, to cheat this time. He normally backpacks through, setting up camp and sleeping in the great outdoors, but that requires carrying a lot of gear.
We made reservations at two huts along the trail where we could sleep and get fed dinner and breakfast, meaning we didn’t have to carry a tent or big food items. A lighter pack meant I could hike farther!
Day One: 7 miles (AKA “Faceplant Fear”)
We started Monday morning in the rain, hiking Gale River Trail 4 miles (6.5 km) in and up into the mountains.
The trail is appropriately named, as it follows the river almost all the way up.
The first half of the trail or so was beautiful!
The sounds of the river beside us and the raindrops hitting the leaf canopy above made a peaceful backdrop for our hike.
And then the climb began. Hiking in the White Mountains is described as “rocks and roots.” You’ve really got to watch where you put your feet, especially when the rocks and roots are drenched and slippery!
I slipped a number of times, and started not trusting my own feet. All I could see in my mind was my face hitting the rocks in front of me! That didn’t make for a very joyous climb.
But what was I to do? Stop climbing, sit down by the trail and give up? Of course not. I just kept going. I had to face my fears and keep my eyes on the prize–we would get to the top, eventually!
And here we are, alive and well. No faceplants on the rocks to be had! The rain cleared up enough to shed our raingear, helping my sweaty self cool off a bit.
We turned south on the Appalachian Trail and hiked a mile and a half (2.4 km) to cover what Hubby had missed on earlier hikes, and then hiked back to the same spot. My knee started complaining on our way back as we added a little bit of climbing up, over, and down to our hike. Not good, since we still had two days to go!
One of the rules of the trail is to STAY ON THE TRAIL!!! My knee convinced me to cheat once or twice, even though I could tell I was probably about the 123rd person to do so at those spots. Each time I said, “Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater!” I wondered when I would be paying for my crimes by having to eat pumpkin, which is nowhere near my list of preferred foods . . .
We continued north on the A.T. and hiked another half mile (.8 km) to our first hut. The weather cleared enough for a nice view along the way, but I was already exhausted! I couldn’t wait to get where we were going.
I still managed a smile, though!
Finally we arrived at the Galehead Hut.
This hut was not the “hut” I had imagined it to be.
The front door brought us into a spacious dining area with three long, wooden tables. Behind this was the kitchen, with bathrooms beyond. A hallway to the right led to four bunkrooms. I wish I took pictures of the inside, but I was too tired to even think of it!
We ate a generous dinner of Italian Wedding Soup, Salad, Chicken Parmesan and Bowtie Pasta, with Iced Spice Cake for dessert. I headed straight to my bunk after dinner, while Hubby climbed the half-mile trail to the peak of Galehead Mountain.
Day Two: 6 miles (AKA “Bum Knee Beat”)
Our wake-up call in the morning was a hut crew serenade accompanied by guitar. Not a bad alarm, I’d say!
Again, a generous meal for breakfast included oatmeal, eggs, sausage, coffee, and pumpkin coffeecake. Remember my crimes of the day before? So yes, I took a piece of coffeecake, and Hubby and I laughed while I paid the consequences.
We packed up our things and headed north again, hiking a little over half a mile to the peak of South Twin. It wasn’t more than a few yards before my knee started complaining again, causing me to double think every step I took.
The weather and the view from the peak were amazing, wouldn’t you say??
I found a spot out of the wind to sit and read while Hubby hiked the mile to North Twin and back. While he was gone it started to rain, so reading was out!
He returned not long after that, and we were off. The weather started clearing as we crossed over Mount Guyot and by Zealand Mountain, then stopped for a while at Zeacliff. What a view!
Back on the trail for another slow mile, and we finally made it to our stop for the night at Zealand Hut, across from Whitewall Brook. My feet were aching, and Hubby convinced me to put my feet in the cool (read frigid) mountain stream to help with swelling. I think I’d rather have aching feet, thank you very much.
Dinner on this fine evening consisted of Split Pea Soup, Brown Bread, Salad, Enchiladas, and Iced Lemon Bar Cake. We unpacked our things, and I headed straight to bed again in our bunk suite. It was so cool to sleep up on the third “story”!
Day Three: 2.8 miles (AKA Exit Day)
We were woken by a serenading hut crew again, acapella this time. Hubby got up with a migraine, poor man! He couldn’t eat much of the breakfast (oatmeal, eggs, bacon & pancakes).
We packed up and headed out looking forward to what other hikers had told us was an easy hike out. I guess “easy” is relative, because my knee didn’t agree at all!! The first third-of-a-mile down part really wasn’t that bad for normal folk with good knees, though.
We took our time, and stopped to soak in some beautiful scenery.
Once we hit the Zealand Trail that would eventually take us to our car, we paused by Zealand Pond.
Of course I took more up-close photos along the way, because that’s what I do! God’s creation never ceases to amaze me with its variety and detail.
But wait, there’s more! I took a video of the area around a beaver pond to remember the surrounding sounds. You can see Zeaciff in the background again.
We continued on, discovering more mountain trail treasures along the way.
We came to a spot on the Zealand River where we could take a load off (again!) and soak in the sounds.
I sat on this rock for a while with an Admiral Butterfly flitting about. I so wanted to capture it in a photo, but he just wouldn’t sit still!
I finally gave up. And that’s when he landed on my hand, silly thing.
It wasn’t long after that we arrived at our exit point. We’d survived, even with bum knees and a migraine between us.
We hopped in the car, and made it home for dinner (after a shower!!!).
I appreciate the time I was able to spend enjoying creation with Hubby in spite of my bum knee (we joked that maybe my trail name should be “Bumny”), rain, pain, and all!
If you’ve made it to this point, thanks for reading along. It’s not one of my usual posts, but I had to write about my adventures!