Thursday, August 06, 2009

Zero Day in Hanover, NH

Thursday, 8/6

AT Miles = 0 / 1736.5
Other Miles = 0 / 54.9
Total Miles = 0 / 1780.5

Miles to Katahdin = 441.8

The title of this post is a bit misleading. Jodi and I aren't staying
in Hanover. Hanover is quite an expensive town. The Hanover Inn,
directly across the green from Dartmouth College, has rooms starting
at $275 per night, and goes up from there. Jodi and I are comfortably
settled into the Holiday Inn Express at an exit off I-91 in
Springfield Vermont, where the prices are much more reasonable. But
Hanover is where I got off the trail, and where I will get back on
tomorrow morning, so in reference to my hike, Hanover is where I am.

Yesterday afternoon Jodi and I drove to the Eastern Mountain Sports
store in West Lebanon, NH, wigth my broken backpack. That is where
Osprey had sent the part to repair my pack. Sure enough, the package
was there, marked in bold to "HOLD FOR APPALACHIAN TRAIL HIKER ALLEN
FREEMAN." Their backpack expert, Jeff, and I set out to figure out how
to replace the broken rod. Getting the broken one out was easy enough,
but installing the new one was a whole other story. With the new rod
in place, there is a large flap of fabric at the top of the pack that
has to be stretched until it goes over the rod. This places the whole
mechanism under tension, and gives the pack its stability. When I had
talked to the woman at Osprey she had told me we would have to pry the
fabric over with some kind of lever. Well, we tried several different
tools, and even enlisted the aid of another employee so that there
were three of us trying to lever this rod into place, but to no avail.
After struggling wityh the pack for what must have been close to an
hour, Jeff decided to simply replace my pack wqith a brand new one,
and to send my old one back to Osprey. Considering that I did not buy
my pack at EMS, and that EMS received nothing for all their effort in
helping me try to install the replacement rod, this was a very
generous offer. Jeff went well above and beyond in helping me out, and
I am now the happy owner of a brand new backpack, so I expect no
further troubles in that department for the rest of my hike.

I told Jeff I thought they should hold on to the broken backpack, and
the next time the Osprey rep is in their store, he should ask him to
demonstrate just how easy it is to replace a broken side rod. ;-)

I slept late this morning, then after breakfast did all of my errands;
laundry, food shopping, gear cleaning, etc. The weather is mostly
sunny and dry.I can hardly express how happy it makes me to think of
the trail drying out every day. I am starting to get my hopes up that
this summer's weather pattern has finally broken, and we might get a
string of dry weather.

My next stage of the hike is the 40+ miles from Hanover to Glencliff.
The terrain outside of Hanover starts to get a bit more vertical, and
I have decided that I am not going to push hard for miles for a while,
so I am giving myself four days to get to Glencliff, which gets me
there on Monday. It would do me no good to get there sooner anyway, as
I have a food and equipment drop at the post office there, which I
won't be able to collect until Monday anyway. After Glencliff I head
up into the WHite Mountains, so I will pick up my warm clothing again,
and also my Thermarest pad. I need the Thermarest because I hope to
get work-for-stay at at least some of the AMC Huts in the Whites, and
work-for-stay just gets you a place on the floor to sleep, and
whatever the paying guests don't eat for dinner and breakfast.

Right now I am sitting outside at the hotel typing this. I am thinking
about going swimming in the pool, but that almost seems like too much

Oh, I seem to have created some confusion with my reference to blue
blazing a few days ago. To clear things up, blue blazing means simply
to hike a trail other than the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian
Trail is marked with white blazes, and many side trail are marked with
blue blazes. My reference to blue blazing as a "gateway drug" was just
an analogy, folks! Here are a few definitions to help clear things up:

White blazing - following the Appalachian Trail (AT). Sometimes the
term is used to denote a hiker who makes it a point to pass every
single white blaze along the entire length of the trail. Some hikers
even mark the trail in some way whenever they leave the AT, so that
they can be sure to start back up in the exact same spot.

Blue blazing - walking some trail other than the AT

Yellow blazing - hitching rides along the road, and thus bypassing
parts of the trail. So called because of the yellow lines on a road.

Pink blazing - this can have a couple of different meanings, but
usually it refers to a male hiker who is hiking long, hard days trying
to catch up to a female hiker he has taken a fancy to.

So, I have blue blazed a little bit. I have never yellow blazed, and I
certainly haven't pink blazed, unless you count that morning I nearly
dropped from exhaustion trying to get to my rendezvous with Jodi way
back in Virginia.

Allen F. Freeman

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