The Whites

The White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire is absolutely amazing! The past week has been the most physically demanding hiking terrain I have ever encountered. One minute the mountains mesmerize with the beauty of 360 scenic vistas, the next moment life is on the line trying conquer vertical rock scrambles with a 35 pound pack. The rush and reward are both breathtaking. Deep concentration on foot and hand placement is mandatory while navigating these powerful mountains. Summit weather can change at the drop of a dime, making the long steep miles above tree line as nerve racking as they are beautiful. The Whites are very serious and require extra planning and strategy to cross. Most thru hikers have slowed their paces and daily milage significantly. A lot of rules and regulations are put in place by The AMC ( Appalachian Mountain Club) throughout the National Forest. Huts are set up that require thru hikers to do work for stay or pay $90 to stay, stealth camping is punishable by a hefty fine ( although still easily done), pay shelters and campsites are also available, which usually also have a work for stay option. I was very opposed to the rules before entering and agreed with the people that call the AMC the Appalachian Money Club, but after going through a majority of the National Forest my opinion has changed. The Hut workers called Croo are all very cool so far and have been more than generous so far with helping thru hikers out by giving free food, hot and cold drinks, a nice warm friendly lodging and shelter from elements. The Croo carry all the supplies and food miles in on their own backs with packs that way more than 80 pounds. My experience with work for stay has been sweeping out a bunk room floor and another was planting trees in a revegation zone, in return I received a warm place to sleep on the dinning room floor or a flat tent pad in a nice location plus all I can eat of leftovers from the formal dinner and breakfast which is a fest, because they cook huge amounts of food with hungry thru hikers in mind. The rules and Hut system seem to keep most hikers from pushing to hard and exhausting themselves, risking serious injury or death. I still don’t agree with paying money for a place to quickly crash, I have no problem doing some easy work to help out a cool environment and receive endless pancakes and coffee in the morning!

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Rain Man

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Steep trail.

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Accidentally stepped in mud that went up to my shins.

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Steep trail.

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This root saved me from a serious 20 foot fall when lost balance during a rock scramble.

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Easy Rider.

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Tooth Fairy.

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Tooth Fairy going down a rock scramble.

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Chameleon going down rock scramble.

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Tooth Fairy going down a steep scramble

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Chameleon going down a steep rocky scramble.

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Tooth Fairy and Chameleon going down a steep scramble.

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Lonesome Lake.

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Steep trail.

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Chameleon climbing up Little Haystack.

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Chameleon.

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Tooth Fairy climbing up to Franconia Ridge

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Mt. Lincoln on Franconia Ridge.

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Franconia Ridge.

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Franconia Ridge.

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Franconia Ridge

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Mt. Lincoln.

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Franconia Ridge

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Tooth Fairy and Chameleon climbing a rock scramble on Franconia Ridge.

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Chameleon climbing Mt. Lincoln.

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Mt. Lafayette.

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Me on Franconia Ridge.

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Hikers on Franconia Ridge.

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Tooth Fairy.

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Seriously steep rock scramble going down Mt. Garfield. I approached this drop and stopped dead in my tracks thinking I was off trail.

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Chameleon and Tooth Fairy navigating rock scramble down Mt. Garfield.

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Thru hikers hanging out at Galehead Hut.

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Sunset with Mt. Garfield.

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Tooth Fairy, Skrambo, and Rocket on South Twin summit.

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Tooth Fairy and Skrambo on South Twin summit.

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Rocket on South Twin summit.

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Thoreau Falls.

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Chameleon climbing up Webster Cliffs.

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Mt. Webster.

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Chameleon climbing Webster Cliffs.

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View of Webster Cliffs from Mt. Webster.

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The Presidential Range. Mt Eisenhower, Mt Franklin, Mt Monroe and Mt Washington is the of the peaks.

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The Presidential Range a couple minutes later with Mt. Washington in the clouds.

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A Grayjay.

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Me on Mt. Jackson with Presidential Range behind me.

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Mizpah Hut.

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Planting 4 trees for work for stay at Nauman Campsite.

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Caretaker at Nauman Campsite.

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My tent platform at Nauman Campsite.

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The Presidential Range.

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Alpine vegetation on The Presidential range which is above tree line.

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The Cog Railway going up Mt. Washigton and the top of Lakes of The Clouds Hut.

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Lakes of the Clouds Hut.

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Mt. Washington.

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Croo member carrying food and supplies down Mt. Washington to Lakes of the Clouds Hut. His pack must weigh over 80 pounds.

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View from Mt. Washington.

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Head-n-Out, me and Chameleon on Mt. Washington summit.

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The Cog Railway going down Mt. Washington.

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Rocky Trail up Mt. Jefferson.

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Rocky Trail.

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Madison Hut at the base of Mt. Madison.

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Steep rock scramble up Mt. Madison.

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Chameleon on the steep rock scramble down Mt. Madison.

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