Monday, July 9, 2012

New Hampshire - the Prelude and Overture

Monday, July 2, 2012:

New Hampshire is coming.  I will cross the Connecticut River into the "Live Free or Die" state tomorrow.  I've been both looking forward to and worrying about the White Mountains for a long time.

It's going to take this old man a significant effort to get through the Whites by means of day hikes.  I don't walk fast any more.  I can't push off with my right foot because of the instant, then long-lasting pain that produces (arthritis? - the base of the right big toe is chronically swollen - the original condition is decades old).  I have to baby my left ankle because of the 1984 broken bone there that the doctor chose to let heal with a bone fragment out of position.  And I can't use my chronically bad left knee (Chondromalacia) for more than simple support - no hard pulling.

You get the idea - this old soldier has accumulated war wounds that slow him down.  And the climbs that I face in the White Mountains will make or break this adventure.  I won't know if I can do it until I get to it.  The same was true for the four 30+ mile days I had to do in the Smokies.  I wasn't sure if I could do it until I actually put leather to dirt, or in this case Carbon Rubber to granite.

One thing is fairly certain - it's going to take a long time for me to negotiate the White Mountains.  So on a day like today, when the trail is smooth and fairly easy (no elevations above 1600 feet), I want to make some distance - did more than 20 miles today.

I will miss Vermont.  As I posted a few days ago (the post titled 'X is for X-Factor'), Vermont has become my favorite Appalachian Trail state.  It was more of the same today - not spectacular, just very pleasing.  There were a few views from high meadows (almost like the balds of the south), and one pond.  Otherwise I was in the woods all day, enjoying the warm but tolerable weather and the sights, sounds, and smells of summer.

Here's the little pond at Joe Ranger Road - no side trail to it - had to do a short bushwhack (it may be private property).  The water lilies are in bloom:

Here's where the hiker can pause and take in a nice view, just south of West Hanover:

The forecast is for another beautiful day tomorrow.  I hope to be on the trail early.  New Hampshire awaits.


I didn't even mention the road walk through West Hartford and over the White River - always an interesting diversion.  Here's the map of today's route, followed by the Elevation profile.

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