372.7 miles down, 1,806.4 miles to go

     So, I’m having a bit of writer’s block.  This post probably won’t be the poetic, literary piece I want it to be; although I’m planning on telling you about a very interesting person named “Insane Duane”, pending photos.  I think by this point my mind is no longer rambling to itself inside it’s dark cave, now it mostly just sings songs.  I’ve gotten used to waking up with the sun and just walking until the sun nearly disappears.  That’s my job right now: walking.  I am a walker–Walker New Mexican Stranger, you might say.  I thought this could be a clever trail name, but it is much too long. 

     People ask me my trail name before my real name.  Of course, they are one and the same, but this is unusual and many people do not approve.  I’ve met people self-named Doozy, Moonpie, Long-shanks, Ringleader, Big-Pace, Roadrunner and Google, just to name a few.  I say, “Hello, magical rainbow poop-stain, I’m Hope.”  And they say, “What a nice trail name.”  Actually, I always have to explain that it’s my real name, but since it’s kind of “traily” I’m sticking with it.  Then I say I am myself and feel very philosophical, but probably just come across as patronizing. 

     Anyway, so I’m not in Maine anymore.  We crossed the state line about a week ago.  Here is a (bad) pic:

Luckily there was a group of girl scouts at the state line to take our pic! Mable-the-dog is not included.

Maine and New Hampshire are beautiful!!!  I have to say, I’m going to miss the incredible views at the tops of some of these mountains.  The White Mountains extend through Maine and New Hampshire.  Mt. Washington is the tallest of the peaks at 6,288 ft.  It is so popular that there is a road and even an old cog train that goes up to the top! It was strange to climb that big mountain and then see a bunch of overweight, pale tourists crowding around the summit sign only to drive back down an hour later.  But that’s just me being arrogant. :/

At the top of Mt. Washington throwing my alien gang sign, which is probably a real gang sign I am unaware of.

Ye Olde cog train carrying people up the Mt.

Why we don't have cog trains anymore


     Hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire has been a totally different experience, mainly because of the huts.  There are a string of huts built by the Appalachian Mountain Club that cater to families and people visiting the White Mountains for a few days.  They are small bunkhouses with a kitchen, dining room and bunk rooms.  They range from $80–$120 per night, but us lowly thru-hikers aren’t expected to pay that kind of money–thank God!  We can do work-for-stay!   I worked in five huts along the way.  Typically a hut won’t accept work-for-stay if you arrive before 4 and/or if there are more than 2 thru-hikers already accepted.  If you are turned away you are sent to a different campsite a mile or more away at which you have to pay a fee.  It’s difficult to “stealth camp” because most of the trail is above tree-line, which means it’s rocky and windy and without water; some people mangage to do it anyway though.  Luckily, I timed my hikes so that I would arrive at the right hour and also practiced my desperate please-take-me-in-I’m-a-poor-girly-hiker look.  It was a great experience, not only because I got to eat as much food as I wanted and sleep on the dining room table, but the kids who worked at the huts were really great too.   Here are a few pictures of us at Carter Notch hut doing something called “shake-face”.  As it implies, you shake your face so that it gets all loose and take a picture.  Some of us are better at it than others.  🙂

Tanner (aka Ebeneezer) preparing for shake-face

Rodney: champion face-shaker. Yes, that is saliva.

Lauren (aka Wren) is a little too proper for shake face. Look at that hand!

Cory going in

I'm sorry, I thought this was a Pantene ProV shoot.

Carter and Madison were my two favorite huts.  I wonder if I will ever see any of these people again. 

The Madison Hut croo (from left): Harrison, Luke, Doug, me, Wren

Carter Notch croo (from left): me, Rodney, Mary Ann, Cory, Uli, Tanner

The Northbounders tell me that after the White Mountains the trail is a boring green tunnel.  I wonder if it’s true.  I think I will enjoy going into the towns.  I just hope I have enough time! It’s already almost September and I’m still in New Hampshire.  But the saying goes that I’ve done 20% of the trail and 80% of the work.  So, naturally I’ll be able to go more miles each day and hopefully make it to Georgia by the early part of December.  Oh no! I’m getting kicked off the library computer and I didn’t practice my please-let-me-stay-on-a-little-bit-longer face.  Gotta run!  A few more pics while I still can:

Lakes of the Clouds hut, below the summit of Mt. Washington

Me and Mable-the-Dog on the top of a mountain in Maine. I love this dog.

Mt. Washington from two days away

Bridge before Mt. Madison

Bog Bridge! My very favorite thing on the trail.

Spiderweb withstanding the wind and the rain.

A portion of the Presidential Range

Nothing beats perspective

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  1. #1 by Lee Kitts on August 22, 2010 - 5:59 pm

    This latest was just amazingly wonderful. I wish I were you soooooo much. Really really. What a time. Love the pics and the time to take to include us. I’m going into my last week of rehearsal and I’m getting pooped. Wish you were here to see it. Wish me luck!
    Love you, Hope.

    • #2 by andromedakitts on August 23, 2010 - 1:13 pm

      Gooooood Luuuuuuuk!!! Luck luck luck (that was the echo of me yelling to you from the mountain) 🙂 I love you, Lee. Can’t wait to see you again soon. ❤ !!!xoxo

      • #3 by Jaylin on April 13, 2011 - 1:44 pm

        Got it! Thknas a lot again for helping me out!

  2. #4 by Tony Lambrides on August 23, 2010 - 12:27 am

    Way to go Hope, a true trailblazer. Keep it up. You’re making making all Teaching Fellows proud 🙂

    • #5 by andromedakitts on August 23, 2010 - 1:12 pm

      Thanks Tony! Good to hear from you! How are you?

  3. #6 by Christopher Balchin on August 24, 2010 - 5:09 pm

    Hello Hope!!!!

    It’s so good to see you on the Trail and to read your comments. They’re very interesting. You are a good writer. (But I think one of those tourists at the top of Mount Washington might have been me — be nice!) I love the photo of the spider’s web, also the narrow bridge. All those fungi… And the views look spectacular. But how are you going to get back to BASE for September 7th . . . .?

    I’m so sorry I hadn’t been following your progress all along, but I will from now on. I’m glad your books are in Brooklyn.

    I’ve spent the summer reading a lot — new books, unusually for me. “One Day” was the first. Then Ann got me hooked on “Let the Great World Spin” which is wonderful. And I read “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” “The White Tiger,” “Saturday”– which last one I didn’t care for so much. I went to England twice (Facebook photos of Scotland with my parents) the second time because my father had a major health concern — which is thankfully abating. Just this past Sunday we had a big party in our home. We took part in a Rock ‘n’ Roll show with the Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company on August 8th–the experience of a lifetime. I’ll say more when I’m not using up your comment space! I hope it’s alright to write all this. Just giving you some info about the non-Trail world!!!!!

    You must let us know when you get to the Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania/NJ/NY (?). Ann and I want to come over and take you out to lunch at a place we know called “Trail’s End.” Not that it will be trail’s end for you! I’m afraid we’ll get there by oil-fired, air-polluting automobile . . . but we hope you’ll talk to us anyway.

    So till then, I am
    your friend,

    • #7 by andromedakitts on August 28, 2010 - 5:32 pm


      So good to hear from you! Haha you are right about my need to be nice to the tourists. I had deleted that part, but then put it back in for literary effect. 🙂 It would be great to meet up at Delaware Water Gap. I will definitely let you know when I’m about to be there.

      I bet the Rock ‘n’ Roll event was spectacular. The Foundation’s productions always are. 🙂 So full of life!

      So, September 7th is the day? Oh my, I will be thinking of you. :/ I’ll be in Vermont by tomorrow and for a couple of weeks after that. I do hope you’ll keep me updated on BASE happenings, especially considering all of the changes!

      What is your address? I want to send you and Ann a card.

      Love and Happiness!

      • #8 by Diana on August 31, 2010 - 2:16 pm

        where’s my card?

      • #9 by Christopher on August 31, 2010 - 4:48 pm

        Hello Hope, our address is 5 Reeve Place, Brooklyn NY 11218. Looking forward to the card. So there are mailboxes in the trees along the way?!
        Here is a letter I just saw in a WV newspaper about the Appalachians and ethical treatment of the earth (I think you’ll appreciate it):
        PS: I’m using one of your photos of the Appalachians on the first day of school next week, when I’m going to talk to the students about opposites in the land of America from East to West. Can I tell the students about this diary by the way?

      • #10 by andromedakitts on September 10, 2010 - 10:52 am

        oh yes! 🙂 Say hello to the kiddos for me!

  4. #11 by Jim R (Google) on August 24, 2010 - 11:35 pm

    Hi Hope!

    Best wishes as you continue your journey! I hope the link I put above comes through. Bunches of pics from Crawford to Franconia Notch. I hit 14 of the 4000’s and had a great time. I think only one photo of you, maybe a couple near South Twin. Anyway, here you are about to set forth again from Greenleaf (not on the AT) hut:
    http://pics.outdooradventurecorps.org/n2n2010/Day 3 – Garfield and Lafayette/slides/DSCN0506.JPG

    Enjoy the rest of the Whites and the rest of the AT!


    PS – The best trail names you don’t pick, they pick you. Someone gave me mine.

  5. #13 by Polly Kitts on August 26, 2010 - 1:47 pm

    I’m looking at you and am amazed at your pictures. its so
    damned beautiful there. i..how in the name of you know
    what do you type on this thing// anyway, I am going
    to stop typing and look at the rest of your stuff…
    i love you…. Polly

    • #14 by andromedakitts on August 28, 2010 - 5:26 pm

      Gramma!!!! I’m so glad you looked at the blog!!! I LOVE YOU!!!

      • #15 by Neveah on April 13, 2011 - 9:00 am

        You’ve hit the ball out the park! Inrdcebile!

  6. #16 by Lindsay Mound on September 4, 2010 - 12:08 am


    I am so PROUD of you and ever engaged in your blogress. Which is a word I made out of blog and progress. I find myself lost in your posts and eager to share your anecdotes and pictures with whomsoever is in the vicinity of my computer.

    I hope the green tunnel that remains is more like a water slide tunnel in it’s rapidity and surprises than the Holland Tunnel with its point A to point B-ness.

    In closing, you are so gorgeous and as much as I miss your face, I love seeing it beside those cascading scapes and skies. Now get out there and hike!


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