Joe Dodge Lodge


What a day…. Expected another awful day but it was beautiful… I woke up at 5am to blue sky’s above and an undercast in the mountain valleys… I have experienced all that the Whites/Presidentials had to offer. I forgot to mention that I even got to hike across the Jefferson snowfield, still there in June. It was slick and scary as it could be! I’m actually glad I got to experience the terrible weather conditions I hiked in yesterday. I never want to do it again… but I did it! Today we started hiking up right out of the hut on a bolder field, very tricky to navigate. It was so beautiful to look down into the valleys and see clouds, hiking down into them was surreal… The descent today was tough, as most are, but for this one we had to drop 3000 ft in 2.5 miles. Steep/Slow and as always… dangerous. My knees were quite sore by the time we got to the lodge. I’m hoping to bounce back overnight since I plan to hit the trail right after breakfast. I’m solo again but so thankful as I have said before to have had a personal guide thru the mountains of NH. I got a shower today and did my laundry. I lightened my pack again to get ready for my run thru Maine. Won’t need all that winter gear now so it’s heading home! I dropped 5 lbs off my pack weight. That doesn’t sound like much but it’s weight off the knees and helps with the climbs. Pics today….a beautiful view of Mt. Madison and some trail magic from the laundry place.

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Through the Whites!

AMC Highland Center 8 mi.

Hiked out of Zealand Falls this morning after breakfast. Ethan was there for 2 miles then of on his own. I’ll see him tomorrow after I do this monster climb out of Crawford notch. I’ll try to get a pic of the mountain when I head back to the trail tomorrow morning…..gulp !! Today was another 8 mi. And 3.5 to the center off the trail. I caught a ride the last 2 miles…Yahoo! We will hike 2200 miles on the trail willingly but not 1/10 off the trail without complaining. If you have never been up this way….get off the couch and visit…even just as a tourist…The beauty can’t be described ! Hiking today was again awesome and other than the pain of climbing uphill for about 4 hrs tomorrow…I expect another incredible day. Pics are of a waterfall again…sorry and me…. You can’t possibly be tired of seeing pics of me….lol

Mizpah Spring Hut… 7 mi

The climb out of Crawford Notch really tough…. 3 mi climb…took me 2 hr. 30 min. I only took 1 wrong turn. The views again were awesome. I did summit 2 mountains today, Webster and Jackson. Tomorrow will be Pierce, Eisenhower, Franklin and Monroe. I’m excited that tomorrow stay will be at Lake of the Clouds… looking at Mt. Washington. Pics today…..Mt. Webster climb. A look at Mt. Washington in the distance and the Mizpah Hut where I will reside this evening.

Lakes of the Clouds…. 8.3 mi

Today was fantastic hiking….it was only 5 mi. to the hut today and since it is the last day of good weather, We decided to hike up and summit Mt. Washington to see it in beautiful blue skies. It isn’t that common to get a day like today! Tomorrow we will hike out in rain gear one again. I can’t complain tho… I got thru the Whites and almost the Presidentials with perfect weather, my guide/hiker/friend Ethan said it doesn’t get any better than that!! The Harley Davidson annual rally was going on in Laconia NH this week and many were at the top of Mt. Washington. Most were stunned to learn that we had hiked here and not rode or drove up…lol. The Cog train was making it’s hourly trek up to the top with loads of people gawking at the animals in hiking gear sweating their way to the top…Do Not Feed The Hikers (animals). A quick side story, My wife and I visited here almost 20 years ago, did the cog tourist thing. When we walked into the summit snack bar I saw this dirty bearded guy with a pack and a bad smell standing next to the door. I commented to my wife, “Why would a bum come all this way??” LOL… Now I am that bum. If I had known he was a thru hiker I would have bought him a meal!!! Pics today…. The summit of Mt. Washington…. The snack bar where the current bum stood… The Cog train… And guess who at the summit!!! Also my new belt holding my pants from falling down!! Update. 30 min after we made it back to Lake of Clouds, he mountain was fogged back in… Happens so quickly, We lucked out (pic attached).

Madison Spring Hut…. 8 mi

With the bad weather forecast today we thought a really early start would be a good choice, So we skipped breakfast and were on the trail by 6:30. We stepped out into moderate rain and possible thunderstorms for later in the day. Fog and clouds were rolling across the mountain tops so we had occasion visibility…. but still had to hike cairn to cairn. The worst part was the winds. We hiked thru 70 mph wind gusts, We were even knocked to the ground by a microburst once. Wee were up and moving then both of us were down hard, unbelievable. I’ve never experienced anything like it before. Several times we just made a tripod stance and tried to ride out the wind gusts until it was almost safe to move again. We rolled in about noon and quite relieved to be able to tell the tale! Tomorrow will be better weather but still could be challenging. No pics today since I had to keep everything buried in my pack to keep it dry, just one of the hut. They look nice but are cold and only provide the bare essentials. No heat, no electricity, no phone service, no showers, just ice cold water. Dinner and breakfast are the same at all huts with minor variations. I’m ready to move on from the hut system. So thankful for my Trail Angel and making it safely thru the Whites and Presidentials. Tomorrow afternoon Ethan and I part company as he heads home to a hot shower and clean clothes. My blog tonight was interrupted by the dinner bell and I have to mention the very proper couple from New England that were aghast and the lack of table manors in the hut. It was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time. They are bunking above us… They are in for a treat tonight… LOL.

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The Phones Ain’t Talking…

Kinsman Pond Shelter…11.6 mi

Ok, I took a chance and pushed out this morning for the hike hoping the rain would hold off. It sprinkled on/off throughout the day but I pretty much started dry!! Yahoo !! I rolled into the shelter at 4 pm. 8 hrs to go 11.6 miles… its slow going in the whites. Steep climbs and steep descents, scary steep! It really is unsettling to be alone now but I can’t do much about it.
Tomorrow night I get into a hut which will give me dinner and breakfast. It’s a bunk, but it’s two meals and dry! I just have to get there. Another 11 mi day, the first 2 miles a very steep downhill….slow. 4 others are in the shelter, a father daughter, and two other guys speaking French…. Pics…me having lunch and two view shots.

Greenleaf Hut…. 12.2 mi

I left the shelter at 5:30 this morning to get a good jump on the days mileage. I rolled in at 4pm. I climbed for 6 mi and was able to cross 3 mountains using the saddles in between. Above the tree line today was a bit windy and chilly but still an awesome day to hike, even though my feet are ready to explode! I can’t do 12’s in the whites with the hurting so I’m cutting back for a few days. 7/8 miles should bring some relief to my feet. When I got to the tops of each mountain today there must have been 100 people on each peak!! Weekend hikers. I humped for 6 hrs to get up there and they drove to within 1 mile, oh well. I’m in the hut tonight well fed and expecting a good breakfast too before I begin my hike in the morning. I’m the old man here, all young adults in their 20’s running up and down the mountains… lol. The pics are views of the mountains and a morning sunrise as I was hiking when the sun came up. The last is my bunk in the hut… I can sleep thru anything!!!

Galehead Hut….. 8 mi.

Finally, 2 gorgeous hiking days in a row….. What’s happening !!! The hike was very tough and well known for its difficulty. I’m very glad I did only 8 mi today. I sat on top of Mt. Garfield for an hour taking in the spectacular views. The mountain ranges were endless and beyond beautiful. If I am only to have 1 week of good weather I’m thankful it is thru the Whites. I had another hiker take a couple pics for me, but I haven’t received them since AT&T phones ain’t talking today! I’ll send them later. I did take a pic of the hut I’m at… basically bunk rooms with 2 meals. no electricity, no shower. I can’t charge my phone battery for 2 more days until I reach the town with 1 plug. The feet are still hurting but no blisters. The downhills are extreme and painful for the knees but so far I can deal with it. A couple more weeks and the worst will be behind me… I think.

Zealand Falls hut…. 8 mi.

Once again a beautiful day to hike. I need 4 more days to get over Mt. Washington… definitely an answer to prayer!! I have also had a hiking buddy for 2 days now. He is a local and knows the Whites inside and out! Tomorrow we part company for a day so I can resupply in town then we will have 3 more days… another answer to prayer!! I’m back on my own when I cross into Maine. I’m so thankful to have access to so much knowledge about the Whites. Awesome! Only 11 people in the hut tonight. Dinner and breakfast and I’m on my way again! I’m holding together pretty well for an old guy…lol. They don’t know I’m very young at heart. I had to replace my favorite hiking socks this morning as a hole has rotted thru on the heel. Here is a pic of the hut I’m at tonight and a couple of view shots again, beauty beyond belief!!! Except for the dude! Ethan my hiking muse.

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Hiker Hostel… Part 3


Finally!!! One good day, 10 Miles… but more rain tomorrow!!! I can’t decide if I’ll head north again in the morning or not. The thought of being soaked again is revolting! But I can’t get there if I’m not moving north. Today I climbed Mt. Moossilauke, up and over in 5 hrs. I did it from north to south since I’d rather climb than descend, and I end up back in the Hostel. The climb was next to a waterfall for 2 miles then 1 more mile just climbing. After I finished I felt that I could have done it south to north just as well. But, I’m in a hostel and not getting rained on tonight, that made it worth it. I’d like to make it to Kinsman Pond Shelter which is 11.5 mi… but again it’s the weather. LOL. We will see but I want so much to get back out there!! Pics today are self explanatory.

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Rain and the Hiker Hostel


Another drowning at the hands of mother nature. I’m in a terrible shelter (Hexacuba), very drafty. It’s raining and everything is wet, even my sleeping bag is absorbing the moisture. I wish I could have pressed on today but I couldn’t have made it before dark and it would have been a 27 mile day. No way in this mess. I put my tent up in the shelter to get better protection from the weather. No one else is here as usual. I hung my food bag in the only branch usable… I hope its still there in the morning or I’ll be wet and hungry! It was a tough tough 12 today. The bogs didn’t end and the mud is like grease! I just gotta get to the hiker hostel tomorrow to dry out and get cleaned up, then I hit the whites Wednesday morning. I can’t see the weather forecast since my phone doesn’t work, no reception. I’m still praying for good weather over the next week while I’m in the whites. No pics today since I was in the rain all day and I try to keep my phone dry.


Today I headed out at day break to hike the worst 15 mi ever!!! Since it poured all night long the trails were just rivers of mud and water, throw in a million or so roots and rocks, and add a pinch of granite cliffs and edges. The rock edges were very slippery, very dangerous. I moved along at a snail’s pace and still managed 3 falls, it took me 9 hrs to hike 15 miles. I was almost freezing at altitude and soaked on both sides of my rain gear. I didn’t stop for water or food because I couldn’t get into my pack in the downpour and moving did generate a little heat!! So I just kept moving. As I walked into the hiker hostel. I saw about 10 hikers who had been here 2 or more days waiting out the rain. I was the only one who hiked over the mountain today!! I couldn’t spend another night in that shelter… I had to get inside. Anyway.. no pics again, too much rain to bring out my phone and I just couldn’t stop anyway. Ok here is a pic of me in my rack at the hostel doing my journal… I’m taking a zero tomorrow to get cleaned up and dried out again. I’ll summit the first climb on Wednesday! The good weather forecast is a bust as usual. Thursday/Friday call for more rain/storms. I don’t know what that means in the Whites…. But I’ll find out.


Well… the Whites have already thrown me a curve. So I’m on to plan B. I’ll summit the moose on Thursday. I’m trying to line up with the huts because they feed you dinner and breakfast. But the first one is full when I need it, why wouldn’t it be. Fri/Sat calls for rain/storms again so that means hiking wet above the tree line which can’t be good! So I’ll have to just go for it but keep the days short… hoping for the next hut to be available. I’ll carry 4 days food just in case. My boots have been in the sun all day and feel pretty dry… until Friday haha. They smell like rotten sewer water!! There was 27 people here last night, so far I’m the only one left! Could I smell that bad?? Well, out the door in the morning. Hikes in the Whites are about half your normal distance because of the difficulty. I have a couple of pics of the Hiker Hostel today. This really could be an awesome place for hikers with just a few improvements. But I’m thankful it was here!!

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Trapper John Shelter… 11.2 mi


Beautiful day for a hike!! I bid farewell to my trail angels and the camper, they call it… The Tank, lol. Two flashes with me tonight, 1 will finish this month and the other in early July. I will stick to my plan of 10 to 15 July! Pics today are scenery. One with a really nice looking guy in it, and the other is of our warm fire burning before the coming rain drowns it. If I am lucky the rain will pass tonight, although it is in the forecast for the next 2 days… ARGGGGG! The good news is that it looks like good weather as I head into and over the Whites!!! 10 days of pain and sheer breathtaking beauty!!!

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Etna, NH – 12.2 mi


Doesn’t sound like much but after my 21.7 day but it was all I had in the tank. In 3 days I begin the BIG climbs and descents, they are about 35 miles ahead of me. I didn’t see a sign for NH but I’m here. I forgot to mention that the big toe didn’t turn black but it still hurts when I roll up on it in an awkward way. I have a hairline on my toe but not on my head, how is that fair! I just tape the two toes together and keep going… We will see how they handle the next couple weeks. If I can get over the whites, I’ll feel better about going all the way. Today’s pics… Roots are becoming a problem now, navigating them is giving my feet fits. The next is a pic of the bogs and the trail goes right thru them, they go on and on and on, a very wet spring!
Next, a very BIG and very good thing happened….TRAIL MAGIC!!! Ice cold watermelon and banana nut bread. It doesn’t sound like much but it was very welcome!! Last but not least, is my abode for the night… Don’t laugh it’s inside and dry, plus they did my laundry and took me to the the grocery store for resupply… A very good day!!

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Happy Hills Shelter… 21.7 miles


Awesome day today….except for putting on the rain gear… then taking it off… then putting it on… then taking it off… etc… etc. I planned a 17 mile day today but the stealth hostel I planned on staying at was so stealthy I couldn’t find it, so I pressed on to the next shelter. I can’t make these mistakes in the whites! I’m in a shelter with 8 flashes… it holds 4. The pics today are… A bunch of cheeseburgers in a field, a flower, and a tree across a stream which is the bridge… I made it. Tomorrow I’m in NH, 2 states left. The easy stuff is over!

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Winturri Shelter….. 17 mi


Up at 5am and hiking by 6am… The owner of the lodge left me some breakfast so he wouldn’t have to get up so early… good way to start the day..yum. I planned a good day of hiking without rain!! Not so fast hiker dude… The skies opened up on me once again 2 hrs before I made it to the shelter, oh well I’m here. The rest of the week calls for rain….onward!!! The pics today. Thundering Falls, killington ski run (still with snow and open), and the last pic is of the trail with the modern convenience of a ladder, no other way up or down… I’m sharing the shelter tonight with flash… he will disappear tomorrow… I call them all flash because they move 3 to 4 mph…. I’m a steady 2.

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Mountain Meadow Lodge – 8 miles


I thought 8 mi to my food drop would be a pretty easy day, tough terrain and constant rain made it much worse! I rolled in a little after 1:00 pm and enjoyed a hot shower, did my laundry and ordered an early dinner. I’m the only person in the lodge tonight. Their business is weddings on weekends and hikers during the week. I didn’t get any pics today, I was worried about ruining my phone in the rain. This is an awesome place tho, they even have a dryer for my totally soaked boots, I’ll take a pic of that… I forgot to mention that I’ve had to ford a couple of streams in the last few days and I’m told another tomorrow. A lot of rain this spring makes the normal rock hopping impossible. So, off come the boots and on go the crocks. The water is like ICE!! Off come the crocks and on go the socks and boots… takes a lot of time.

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