Weather always becomes a factor in any thru hike attempt of the Appalachian Trail. For the first time since I began this odyssey, the elements forced my buddies and me to not only alter our plans but to shift the order in which we were navigating the trail as well. With a 30 degree wind chill and wind gusts of 50 MPH, hiking off of Mt. Washington today just didn’t seem practical. Since rain is in the forecast for the next two days, we have decided to wait until Tuesday to continue at the summit. In the meantime I’ll take today off before hiking from Pinkham Notch to US 2 over the next two days. This will also necessitate a night in the woods. Meanwhile plans are in motion to get the group to Maine.
Having prearranged a ride back to the Mt. Washington auto road with Spirit, we kept the part of the itinerary which included a stop by the Gorham McDonalds for breakfast. While there Banzai asked to be released from his DBM contract so that he could join the group of Johnny Walker, Puffy, Gator, and Misery. The younger lads were all hiking today, and Banzai was itching to get out of New Hampshire. Susquehanna Slim, Pilgrim, and I hate to see our young friend go; however, we understand his request. Reluctantly, we all agreed. It’s been good having Banzai as part of the team since Connecticut. We will miss him.
After breakfast Spirit graciously agreed to take the three of us to Walmart where we could purchase supplies. While we were shopping she even baked us some cookies. Then she drove us to the Hiker’s Paradise Hostel and wished us well on the rest of our hike. I think this is about the fifth or sixth time that I thought I was saying goodbye to Spirit, but our paths always seem to cross again. So we checked in at the hostel with Bruno, got our bed linens, and made ourselves at home in paradise. Receiving Ninja Turtle sheets for my bunk brought back a memory or two.
After settling in I decided to give Sweet Tooth a call to see where Molar Man was today. It seems he is hiking a section just south of where we are. As the conversation continued Sweet Tooth said that she was also in Gorham. I invited her to join us for a pizza at an establishment just up the road. Over lunch we discussed our hiking plans for the next few days. Coincidentally, Molar Man plans to hike off of Mt. Washington on Tuesday as well. With a spot on the team after Banzai’s release, it looks like we could have a new member if we can work out the contract negotiations.
After lunch Slim, Pilgrim, and I spent a goodly amount of time discussing logistics for Maine. First, however, we have to finish the Whites and get out of New Hampshire. That will take at least four more days. So for now we wait. I’d rather be hiking, but I feel better knowing that we have a sane (if that’s possible in NH) plan in place. Rain or shine, early tomorrow we’ll be back on the trail at Pinkham Notch, leaving the treacherous Madison descent for Tuesday. I think it’s still all coming together as my hiking buddies and I prepare for the next step in the journey on the Appalachian Trail.