We had a pleasant 20km walk to the Hikers Welcome hostel in Glencliff. We were here by 12h, feeling a tad guilty for having such a short day but comfortable with our decision to do so and tackle Moosilaukee tomorrow morning.
We won’t be staying in the bunks, we are tenting in the garden. We both sleep better in our tent than in a bunkhouse. But the benefit of paying for tenting here as opposed to sleeping on the trail is to get laundry done, have a shower, and buy some sodas and eats.
Glencliff has nothing other than a few houses and a post office, but the hostel appears to be very popular. It is very close (400meters) to the trail, and seems like all hikers (NOBO and SOBO) at least pop in here for some refreshments to either fuel themselves for Moosilauke (NOBO) or replenish themselves after Moosilauke (SOBO). For those staying here for the night there is a Deli-run at 5pm – the hostel shuttle takes people to the neighbouring town (itself tiny) to get something to eat from the Deli at the service station.
There has been a stream of hikers arriving here, having the Hikers Welcome Special (small pizza cooked in microwave 😒, soda, packet of crisp and ice cream sandwich), charging their phones and then setting off to tackle Moosilaukee – we are maybe making a bigger deal of this than it is, nobody else seems to feel the need to start in the morning. But as they always say on the AT, hike your own hike. If you get caught up in how others are doing it you will not be focused on what is the best way for YOU.
I used the opportunity of being idle in the afternoon to call my mom. She is a bit fragile as two of her brothers are in hospital and she is concerned about them, and on top of it she is worried about us in the wild White mountains. So just to set everyone’s minds at ease (as best as I can as not having been in the Whites I don’t know what it’s like but will explain as I understood from others):
The Whites have higher (much higher, and many) peaks than the rest of the trail, so those UPS will carry on for longer (and therfore also the DOWNS).
Because the peaks are so high you walk above the tree line. This will be the first time on the AT. We have walked small sections in the sun, when we went over balds, walked on roads or through pastures. But to be hiking in the sun for extended periods will be new to us (yes we have hats and sunblock), we have been forest hikers up to now.
There are more rules around where you can camp, including not being allowed to camp above the tree line. This means extra effort to have to drop down below the trail to camp and then climb up again the next morning to get back to the trail.
Cell phone reception is an unknown to us. Therefor you will get the blogs (which I will write daily as I have done up to now) when I get signal to post.
There aren’t as many opportunities to get into towns, it looks to me as if one can get to 2 towns, both towns can be accessed from 2 locations so over 200km you have 4 opportunities to get to a town. Up to now there were many options for picking towns to re-supply in.
But….we won’t be in total isolation as we are when hiking in the Drakensberg. There are “cabins” dotted around the Whites, where people (non thru-hikers) book to go and stay while doing trails around the Whites. These cabins aren’t affordable to normal thru-hikers but they can be used as “restaurants” to get some meals from, and if there is any emergency (like somebody getting sick) they will assist and they have radio contact with each other and with base stations.
EVERYBODY says they are beautiful – I need to see if they can be as beautiful as the Drakensberg….
So, only thing to worry about is whether these 56 and 64 year old legs can keep on walking. Lying around on the lawn at Hikers Welcome hostel for an afternoon is like tapering before a marathon 😀.