I was surprised this morning to wake up at 6:00 in a semi-dry tent, except for the tent bottom and ground cloth beneath my air pad. We had a four mile hike and ten mile hitch into Gorham, NH, for food restocking, so I ate most of what was in my food bag that didn’t require cooking.
I had my tent down and pack packed before Tandem and Jukebox, said goodbye, and headed out north again on the AT. When I stopped, Tandem and Jukebox moved in front of me and Bacon Dog had arrived before I restarted. We chatted about our plans in Gorham and then I hiked ahead, since he is slower.
I reached Pinkham Notch and found Tandem and Jukebox on the porch drinking coffee. We relaxed for a while since it was 9:00 and Tandem’s doctor appointment wasn’t until 11:00. Bacon Dog arrived, and we moved out to NH 16 to hitch the ten miles into Gorham. We tried for 30 minutes with no luck. Since Tandem needed to be in town in less than an hour, I called the White Mountain Hostel, where we had reservations, and they said they’d be there in 30 minutes.
We left the road, and I found a Geocache on the park sign at the road while we waited. It had the “Wooden Shoe 1” travel bug in it, which I grabbed to move. Since Jukebox wasn’t staying at the hostel, he decided to not use the hostel shuttle. His plan was to hike to the Carter Notch shelter later in the day and stay for work.
The van showed up at 10:30, driven by the mother of the hostel owner. She took us to McDonalds and then kindly took Tandem to her doctor appointment two blocks down. Bacon Dog and I decided to start with breakfast at Dunkin Donuts, so we walked the block over to it. After breakfast, we returned to McDonalds for lunch. It was 11:30, and we hung out there until 13:00 waiting for Tandem to show up. When she didn’t, we assumed that she had gone somewhere else. Because her screen is so dim and her phone can’t be read, texting her is pointless. I called her but got voicemail immediately.
Bacon Dog and I headed down a few blocks to the outfitter store at Gorham Hardware and Sports. On the way, I demonstrated with my phone how to find a Geocache with my phone. The one we found was creatively hidden in plain sight.
As we approached the outfitter, I received a text from Mombo asking where I was in town. Before I could reply, the White Mountains hostel SUV pulled up to the curb and Mombo stuck out his head and said hello. They wanted to know if we wanted to go back to the hostel, but I explained that Tandem was missing and I didn’t want to leave her. They said that they would wait.
At the outfitter, I purchased fuel and boot laces. Then I went on an earnest attempt to locate Tandem in the coffee shop and back at McDonalds, where I found her eating. She was upset that we hadn’t been there when she arrived, and I explained that two hours was long enough to wait for her appointment to be done. As it turned out, she had had to hitch to Walmart for her prescription before it could be administered by the doctor.
We all piled into the hostel SUV and headed out of town. The White Mountain Hostel is a classic New England house with some of the bedrooms updated to be bunk rooms for the hostel. They have a Trout pound in the back, which I visited while hanging my damp tent components on the clothesline to dry.
The $33 charge to stay there includes laundry, showers, bunk beds with fresh linens, and town or trail shuttles. It also includes computer access and wide screen TV watching with Netflix access.
We put our dirty laundry in the basket, putting on clothing that they provided. Seven of us then went to the other side of town to Walmart for food restocking. I bought for four days, with a plans to restock again in 72 miles in Rangeley, ME. I also got a frozen pizza and a half gallon of chocolate milk for dinner, half of which I planned to save for dinner the next night after a 21-mile slack pack day.
We returned to the hostel and packed our food, then took turns heating our dinners from Walmart. After dinner, we sorted laundry and I repacked my clothes and I picked what to wear slack packing based on a 50% chance of rain. I also grabbed one if the hostel’s school backpacks and put my food, snacks, water, rain jacket, bug spray, TP, and headlamp in it.
It was late by the time this was all done, but I got in bed and knocked out yesterday’s blog update. We hiked only four miles today but will be doing 21 tomorrow. We should be crossing the ME state line on Friday, which is also my son Christopher’s birthday! He is in eastern Canada, so we are hiking toward him.