2022 Appalachian Trail II – Day 11 – First Real Slack Pack

Friday, 26 August

Destination: Hikers Welcome Hostel (1795.4)Today’s Miles: 9.7
Start Location: NH Route 25A (1785.7) 69.8

Wedding Walker and I are doing our best to combat the New Hampshire drought. We awoke to rain at dawn. The hostel had coffee and I had a protein bar for breakfast. Our shuttle to NH Route 25A was scheduled for eight but was about twenty minutes late.

Today was my first true slack pack in over 1,500 miles of the AT. Since our shuttle dropped us off ten miles away and we were hiking back to the hostel, I hiked with a day pack carrying rain gear, water and snacks. Pack weight was under ten pounds.

The ten miles back to the hostel were flatter and less rocky than anything we have seen in the last week. My knees really appreciated the break.

Since the weather forecast had thunderstorms starting around two, WW and I tried to keep up a good pace. After getting above 5,000 feet each day, our highest point today was the summit of Mount Mist at 2,200 feet. Finally a day averaging over two miles an hour! Unfortunately, the thunderstorms did not adhere to the forecast schedule. About an hour from the hostel a light rain started turning to steady rain and then a downpour. I did not put on my rain coat. With the temperature about seventy, I would have just sweated and gotten wet from the inside. The rain just cooled me off a little. By the time we arrived at the hostel I was soaked.

I changed into some dry clothes. WW decided to do a load of laundry. I added my wet clothes to the load. Having dry clothes was better than putting on wet clothes in the morning when we leave.

By four o’clock it was nice and sunny. I had my leftover pizza for dinner with an ice cream sandwich for dessert. The hostel seems to have a full house tonight. The combination of the rain and the weekend make for extra hikers.

I am not looking forward to putting on my pack in the morning. This will be the first time it includes my tent, sleeping bag, stove and four full days of food. It will be heavy. Hoping the trail tomorrow is as gentle as it was today.

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