Hiked up to Franconia Ridge, started around 11 am after hitch-hiking from North Woodstock back to the Appalachian Trail. One woman gave us a mean look and shook her head at us when hitching out of town – the life of a dirty mountain-hobo!
In the awesome gas station in North Woodstock, we found some Raspberry Berliner Weiße and carried three cans up the mountain. On the way up we met Zorba who we briefly ran into some days before and now celebrated hiker friendship with by each having a beer on top of Mount Lincoln overlooking Mount Lafayette and the ridge walk leading towards it. We hit a day with perfect weather for this hike up and over Franconia Ridge. Another time we soaked up the views and set down at each peak.
The next day started off interesting, as we found a whole bunch of un-buried poop with the associated toilet paper on top – we camped near Garfield Pond and a bit further down the ridge there was this poop graveyard. Leave-no-trace apparently didn’t make it all the way up here :(.
Hiking this day turned out awesome though, my legs seemed to slowly catch up with the terrain and the climbing. We saw a whole bunch of trail runners running the Pemu loop (~30 miles) or parts of it. On one uphill section, I had to make it my personal challenge to outrun a couple of trail runners and made it up 2 minutes faster with my backpack on. I have to admit I was a little bit proud but I truly do have great respect for those runners.
We planned on hitting the road and hitch to Gorham to get our new shoes before the Presidential Traverse but it was getting too late so we stopped at a paid shelter which we wanted to avoid. Apparently, someone gave the caretaker 40 bucks in order to pay for the next AT hikers so we and the other incoming hikers got the night for free. Thanks, stranger.
We slept in and started our 3-mile descent down to Crawford Notch. At the bottom, a guy called ‘Blazer’ was waiting with a full trail magic setup (ice coffee, several types of premium bars, liquor, pancakes, and much more). We chatted a little and drank coffee before we wanted to take off hitch-hiking to Gorham. Another guy just dropped off his wife who he was supporting along her thru-hike and guess what, he was driving back to Gorham and was happy to take us there with him.
In Gorham, I got my shoes (sent privately) and our search for Soda’s shoes (sent by the shoe company) began. They didn’t show up at the White Mountain Hostel as supposed to and it was Sunday so we stayed the night at ‘The Barn/Libby House B&B’. The shoes also didn’t show up at the post office where we continued the search the following Monday. After some calling around and searching we finally found them at the Notch hostel at Pinkham Notch. A nice guy followed the story while we were calling UPS from the local library’s phone and offered to drive us there and all the way back to Bartlett, the closest town to where we left the trail.
The day has started and continued to be all rained in, we only reached Bartlett by 2 pm. A perfect day for hanging out inside, watch TV and rest our feet. No one wants to climb up Mt. Washington in the rain and 36°F on top, so we stayed another night in a motel and did exactly the before described things.