Saturday, July 21, 2012

Manchester, VT to Etna, NH

Mile 1748

I'd like to call this "the one where our plans went out the window". But it's been a super fun week!

It was hard leaving Manchester because the hostel was so awesome. We planned on doing 7 miles out after church, and after 3 miles we caught up to a bunch of friends at a shelter. We still wanted to do the 7, so we kept going and ended up walking in the rain for 3 hours. The next day we also got caught in rain, and when the third day looked like rain again, we were dragging a little. I also was getting bogged down mentally thinking about 5 more weeks if hiking. So we decided to call it a day early and head into town. We had only done 3 miles that day, but we were at a road crossing that could get us to town and we decided to take it. We called a local "trail angel" to take us to a motel, she offered to let us stay at her house. It was great, and they even slack packed us (meaning they took our backpacks to our destination and we carried light day packs) the next day.

We hooked up with the friends we had passed up earlier and one of them, who is local to Vermont, offered to have the group slackpack and stay at his parents house. That made for another nice light day, ending at his house with showers and great food.  I love New England homes! The town of Woodstock was so quaint.  Coincidentally, there was a documentary about some 2010 thru hikers being shown at the town hall.  I actually followed their blog and was interested in seeing their film, so I was excited that it worked out that way. The plan for the next day was for our packs to be dropped off at our destination to be slack packed again, but then we were invited to just get picked up and stay another night at the house.  When life offers you slackpacking and showers, you take it! 55 miles of hiking with no pack... I'll take it!

Today we did 10 miles into Hanover to resupply, then continued another 6 to a hostel in Etna. Hanover is wins in our book for friendliest trail town. As we were walking in, there were several coolers with trail magic at the edge of the driveway. Drivers rolled down their windows to say hello and ask if we needed help locating anything in town. A few places in town offer free food to hikers. It's also the home of Dartmouth College, and the trail goes pretty close to the campus.

We've been calling this week "vacation week".  While at the time I was guilty that we cut that rainy day short to 3 miles, it made us on the right track to be able to slackpack for 3 days and spend some time at a friends house.  We've had a lot of fun and are pumped to enter the Whites in a couple days. I feel intimidated at the terrain and logistics of the Whites.  There are a few shelters like the rest of the AT, but more common are huts that are designed for weekend hikers and wealthy tourists.  They're super expensive and need reservations.  Thru hikers can sometimes get work-for-stays or camp outside, but sometimes they are full and hikers are told to hike a couple miles off trail to camp.  We'll have to plan short days and be flexible depending on what the situation is.

Welp, I've now finished my pint of Ben & Jerry's (Half Baked this time) so I think it's time for bed.


  1. You're so close to us! Glad you're liking New England. I guess you should move here when you're finished hiking.

  2. We'll probably run into you in the Whites-my boyfriend and I are hiking southbound, but we're shored up in Rangeley waiting for my shoulder to heal... Anyway, it'll be fun to meet you since I've been following your blog! :)

    1. Oh, that would be awesome! We'll look for you.