White Mountain National Forest (Eisenhower, Pierce, Jackson) - May 2018

Vegan.Hiker

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I injured my ankle pretty bad from running about 2 months ago. I was in a boot for almost a month and I'm getting physical therapy 3x week but finally got the green light from the doctors to start hiking again. So I went on my first trip of the season last weekend. Weather blocked me from my initial plans down in VA, so I ended up driving north to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. I had planned on a Thu-Sun, 4 day trip, but I exited Saturday afternoon ahead of a big storm system that was about to roll through.

I won't go into all the route details and such since there aren't many northeast hikers here but I hiked up the Crawford Path to the Appalachian Trail which traverses the ridge of the Presidential Range in the Whites. Not far from the intersection of the Crawford Path and the AT, there was a primitive tent site showing on the trail map. After some research, I found out that the tent site consists of a few wooden tent platforms and a metal bear bin. So I base camped out of there and hit 3 peaks, Mt. Pierce, Mt. Eisenhower, and Mt. Jackson. I had great weather on Pierce and Eisenhower, but was socked in the clouds on Jackson on my last day.

I purchased some new equipment over the off-season but was only able to test some of it. I picked up a Nemo Hornet Elite 1P but since I was sharing the tent with my dog Lucy, I had to bring my 2P terra nova tent. I haven't received my new ZPacks Arc Haul pack that I ordered 4 weeks ago because they are built to order and a little backed up. But, I was able to test my new Enlightened Equipment Enigma 20 deg. quilt and I was very happy with it. I also got to test a few smaller items... petzl e-lite UL headlamp, Flexair disposable medical pillow, and CNOC dirty water bag. It was also my first time going cold without a stove. In a nutshell, I really loved the CNOC, it cut my filtering time way down, but need to add some adhesive velcro for the flexair since keeping that puppy under my head was like trying to hold a slippery fish. I also used my new 20mm f2.8 lens which I replaced my 10-18mm wide angle. The size and weight savings were nice but I didn't realize until using it this trip that the OSS (steady shot) doesn't work with this lens. I guess I should make sure my shutter speed doesn't drop too low and try to stay still. Aside from user error, I think the focus came out okay in most shots.

Finally approaching the ridge
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Up along the ridge... You can see the weather station atop Mount Washington in the distance behind Mt. Eisenhower.
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My dire wolf..
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Looking back at Mt. Pierce on the way to Eisenhower.
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A view of the ridge line I just came from on the way up Eisenhower.
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For context on how big that cairn is... Lucy is about 85-90 lbs
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Lucy was pooped back at our base camp
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Miya

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Ooooh I didn't know you got hurt! Glad you are back at it again, and with so much new gear!
I have been waiting for 2 months for my new pack too, the suspense is killing me!
Ridge line = gorgeous.
That cairn is ridiculous! Haha
And your Lucy looking pooped is what my dog looks like all the time haha. I am sure she had a great time. :)
 

powderglut

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Glad you're hiking again. Thanks for bringing back some great memories. I hiked this area when I was 20 years old in 1973, and still living and going to school in Boston. We use to spend time hiking all over the Presidential Range and along the Kancamagus Hwy. Think I need a visit again, next time I go back east to see family. Nice report!
 
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Vegan.Hiker

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Thanks all..

Glad you're hiking again. Thanks for bringing back some great memories. I hiked this area when I was 20 years old in 1973, and still living and going to school in Boston. We use to spend time hiking all over the Presedential Range and along the Kancamagus Hwy. Think I need a visit again, next time I go back east to see family. Nice report!

I’m always surprised about how many of you guys out west lived on the east coast at one point.

I have been waiting for 2 months for my new pack too, the suspense is killing me!
Ridge line = gorgeous.
That cairn is ridiculous! Haha

Did you order from ZPacks too? I just got an email that mine shipped and will be here Tuesday. The cairns are huge above tree line up there so that winter hikers can follow them.
 

John Morrow

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Looks so great! Takes me back to my 1987 AMC Trail/Shelter crew summer! I definitely need a visit again!

Evangeline....fine choice for the experience! Written about neighboring Maine, right?
 
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Miya

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Did you order from ZPacks too? I just got an email that mine shipped and will be here Tuesday. The cairns are huge above tree line up there so that winter hikers can follow them.

Awww lucky. I am going to have to check on mine, feels like forever!
I looked at all the backpack places I could find and decided to go with Superior Wilderness Designs. I liked that I could choose the colors and add all the extra features I wanted, but at a cheaper price.
 

Vegan.Hiker

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Looks so great! Takes me back to my 1987 AMC Trail/Shelter crew summer! I definitely need a visit again!

Evangeline....fine choice for the experience! Written about neighboring Maine, right?

That’s awesome, which AMC hut did you work at? Talk about having a nice commute.

Yes! My signature is from Evangeline. You’re in the right region. Her and her husband to-be Gabriel were Acadians from Nova Scotia. I’m tinkering with backpacking the Cape of Chignecto in Nova Scotia next month which is what had me re-reading Evangeline. It’s a classic for sure.
 
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Vegan.Hiker

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Awww lucky. I am going to have to check on mine, feels like forever!
I looked at all the backpack places I could find and decided to go with Superior Wilderness Designs. I liked that I could choose the colors and add all the extra features I wanted, but at a cheaper price.

Nice! Those packs look really nice. Website says they are backordered 8-10 weeks so I’d imagine you should be getting it pretty soon. Would love to see a review of it once you’ve put it though some use.
 

John Morrow

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That’s awesome, which AMC hut did you work at? Talk about having a nice commute.

I was the roving shelter caretaker. 11 day shift: 4 at Liberty Spring, 3 at Garfield, then 4 at Guyot filling the off days of the primary caretakers. I exited at Crawford for my 3 days off. Hiking the AT between my shelters I'd stop into Greenleef and Garfield huts for leftovers from the night before! It was fun but I ended up moving to WA the next summer volunteering for the USFS and never returned.
 

Vegan.Hiker

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That’s crazy, that route is a big chunk of the Pemi Loop which i’ll be going up there to do in 2 weeks. I’ll be staying at the Liberty Springs tentsite, Garfield tentsite, and Guyot tentsite, but continuing over the Bonds and exiting where I started at the Lincoln Woods Visitors Center. Amazing job that must have been. And a very difficult one at that. Curious, how would you rate the difficulty of the trails you worked on in the Whites with the ones you’ve hiked out west?
 

John Morrow

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That’s crazy, that route is a big chunk of the Pemi Loop which i’ll be going up there to do in 2 weeks. I’ll be staying at the Liberty Springs tentsite, Garfield tentsite, and Guyot tentsite, but continuing over the Bonds and exiting where I started at the Lincoln Woods Visitors Center. Amazing job that must have been. And a very difficult one at that. Curious, how would you rate the difficulty of the trails you worked on in the Whites with the ones you’ve hiked out west?

They're really different. The NE trails are steep and full of arduous steps. But in the west trails are most often graded at 12 to 15% for stock. However, they may switchback for 4000 vertical feet! I need to get back to NH for a true comparison. In general, outside of the Presidentials, I'd say the hiking is less arduous overall in the east. At least with a daypack.
 
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