Less than 300 Hundred Miles
Pinkham Notch: 1870.4
Gorham US Route 2: 1891.5
Total miles: 21.1
Today we are going to attempt to go from Pinkham Notch to route 2, 21.1 miles over the Wildcats and Carter mountains. We have heard that they can be pretty tough, and one of the guys working at a hut told us we were being "over zealous" and proceeded to tell Dean in great detail what to watch out for. We ended up being alright.
We got up early and got breakfast at a nearby cafe. When we made it over to Pinkham Notch, even another thru hiker, Evac, told us that we better get a move on if we are to make it. We said goodbye to the parents who had driven us all (Patch in the trunk) back to the trail. Their magical trail magic time was over, but we would be in Maine soon! We started hiking at 9:15, quite a bit later than desired.
Duck Fart made a joke that the trail was just straight up and down all day. The beginning of the day was definitely straight up, so we were worried that he may actually be right. These days, though, the uphill aren't the tough parts and we summited the first Wildcat quickly. From there, it was ridge walking until we descended to Carter hut for a quick lunch (everything today has to be quick after the late start, while slack packing you can't decide to scrap it and camp). The hut also had free pancakes for hikers.
*Mt. Washington was clear!
The ascent from the hut was steep as well, but Emily set a strong pace up the mountain and, before long we were at the Imp Shelter, several miles out from our final destination. It was getting late and there was some concern that we wouldn't be able to get a hitch back to town in the dark.
The final 4000 footer of the day was Mt. Moriah. The descent from the mountain was described in AWOL as a gentle slope. It was anything but that at first, though before the end (as in after a few more miles of travel) we did get a gentle slope.
At route 2, we split into two groups. Tyler had started talking with a day hiker, Neio, who offered up to three of us a ride back to town. Tyler went with Dean and Patch while Duck Fart and Emily went to hitch. Emily and Duck Fart actually made it back first after catching a ride from Pilot, a thru hiker who chatted them up about the hike and provided some advice for upcoming Maine.
Back in Gorham, nearly everything was closed except the Chinese buffet place next door. Which was certainly serviceable by hiker standards. Tyler, Duck Fart, and Dean drank beers and watched Saving Private Ryan for the remainder of the night Emily fell asleep. Patch, hopefully, got a reasonable amount of sleep. Wildcats completed.