Some may have wondered where I have been for a bit, hiking of course.
Here is the short version of the trip
The longer version can be found at trailjounals.com/Anne & Tom Brown
We hit the trail where we left off last year at Duncannon PA
Every state has things they are proud of and PA showed us a lot of rocks. Anne had had enough after 147 miles and left the trail from Delaware Water Gap. The rocks are not as bad as everyone says but do get a bit boring after a few weeks. Small ankle roller rocks, that you canít really get on top of. PA has some great views as you get farther North though
I continued on and made many new friends along the way.
In NJ: The trail smoothes out a bit after about 50 miles with fewer rocks in the footway.
In NY: There are more, sharper descents that take a bit of concentration to get through.
In CT: I was hosted by a couple that we had hiked with in 2009. They offered me a comfy bed, shower, and great food. Best of all was the catching up of adventures since we last met. The hills are getting higher.
In MA: Upper Goose Pond Cabin is a great place to stop. I enjoyed the canoe and watching the moon rise on the lake and the big pancake breakfast. Mount Greylock, at over 3K is the highest point. I had breakfast in the Bascom Lodge. The last of the trail leaving MA is poorly maintained with lots of pickers to grab you and slow you down. In NJ, NY, and MA hitch hiking is pretty hard
In VT: The Long Trail and the AT are together for about 100 miles, a bit muddy in spots but not bad. I got a new pair of Salomon Trail Runners in Manchester Center at Mountain Goat Outfitters where the boot fitter was a podiatrist that worked with the insoles to get me a great fit. No more foot problems for over 200 miles after that. The trail is really changing, with larger rocks and more up and downs for longer distances. In VT and NH hitch hiking is pretty easy with just about no waiting for a ride.
In NH: Hanover NH likes hikers and offers quite a bit of things to thru hikers. In Lincoln I stayed with Chet West, a small hiker friendly hostel and did a slack pack from Kinsman Notch to Franconia Notch, 16+ miles and a tough day. No views over Franconia ridge, rain and fog and 70 mph winds.
At Zealand Falls Hut I was able to do work for stay, eat and sleep indoor, in turn I gave a presentation on my trip on the AT. This was a beautiful sunny day with great views, lots of climbing and descents.
At the Mizpah Spring Hut I was again accepted for work for stay and cleaned 2 refrigerators in exchange for a place to stay indoor and a dinner and breakfast. After leaving Mizpah the weather turned, and I was hailed and rained on a bunch. I waited at Lake of the Clouds Hut and ate soup for about an hour trying to get warm. I headed over Mt Washington and the rain and winds came again, I waited there for about 2 hours before continuing. I finally made it to Madison Spring Hut at about 7 Pm. I could not stay there due to it being full so had another bowl of soup and back out to stealth camp on the side of the mountain. Thank goodness for my hammock.
The next day after a decent from above 5000 feet to near 2000 feet I decided to stay at White Mountain House Lodge and Hostel for the night. I needed a rest. They picked me up at Pinkham Notch and took me to get another set of hiking poles, due to breaking mine the days before, and to re supply, then back to eat and rest a bit.
Aug 4: I was going to do a light hike day for an overnight over Wildcat Mountain and left a lot of gear and food there for the next days. They dropped me back at Pinkham Notch in the morning and I headed up the mountain, feeling great and with good weather.
About a mile from the parking lot on the way up I slipped on a rock slab, fell and hit my hip directly on another rock, breaking the femur at the top. OUCH Within minutes other hikers had arrived and were asking what they could do to help. I had all ready called back to the Hostel and they had called NH Fish and Game. Matt was going to coordinate the rescue and within 30 minutes Eric, an AMC Volunteer and wilderness EMT arrived to asses the damages. It was clear I could not walk out so after about 30 more minutes at least 15 others arrived and started to set up the mountain rescue litter and get me in it. The team took turns carrying me when they could, and using ropes to secure the decent when they could not carry or pass me to the next group. It took 3 hours to get back to the parking lot. It could have been a whole lot worse than it was. I never went into shock and only regret that I did not keep my camera on me to get some photos of the decent from my view. It was a real thrill ride for sure.
I cannot say enough about all of the great team members that helped get me off the mountain safely.
News article link:
After an assessment at the hospital I was in surgery and all screwed back together before 10 Pm.
Aug 7: I was discharged after completing all of the PT tests to assure I could travel safely.
The hospital staff at Memorial Hospital in North Conway was great, caring, and helped me get back to moving about. They even shipped my backpack home for me so I did not have to check a bag during flight.
The Hostel came and picked me up and took me back for a night and then their son was heading to Mass. he took me all the way to the airport. Great folks there and I highly recommend staying if you are in the area.
Four hours of flight time with wheelchair support at all times made the trip manageable.
The big point: Trips donít always end the way you hope or plan.
I was very fortunate to have a large group of trail family ahead and behind me on this trip offering help.
I was again fortunate to not have been injured worse.
The help from all of the caring people I met on the detour was very refreshing, in a world where it seems everyone is out for themselves.