How would identify yourself? - Page 2


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  1. #11
    Greg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Thomaston, CT
    Welcome LyndyS! Looking forward to your contributions. All right, time to get this thread back on topic:

    I would consider myself both a backpacker and a dayhiker. While I enjoy backpacking, often times I combine a backpackign trip and a dayhike. Generally, I'll backpack 3 to 10 miles into a valley and set up camp.

    Day 2 will usually consist of a 8 to 12 mile loop over several peaks or along a ridgeline. The benefit is that I don't need to carry everything on the summits - just food, water, clothing, emergency gear, etc. The tent, sleeping bag, some clothing, and most of my food remains at camp. Less gear during the day hike means less weight on the back and generally more miles covered on the trail. Sometimes I'll even bring a daypack into the woods as even a lightly packed backpack can get a bit uncomfortable during a long hike, at least my external frame can be.

    It's great to get back to camp at the end of a long day and not have to set anything up. It also feels more like 'home'. It's also nice to have a camp already and not worry about finding something suitable.

    Day 3 usually consists of packing everything out. The Whites are perfect for this kind of hiking - many valleys with a lot of peaks to choose from and plenty of trails to form the Day 2 loops. The Great Gulf, the Pemi, and Dry River are some of my favorites.

    I also do a lot of shorter day hikes twice or three times a month, usually on a Sunday - generally 4 hours or less covering 6 to 8 miles. I spend a lot of time in the Southern Taconics/Berkshires of CT and Mass.
    I ski double black diamonds.

  2. #12
    Greg, do you find that no one else is around in your base camp valleys, or are there a lot of other hikers but they leave your tent and things alone? I was under the impression that the Whites were very crowded with hikers. You don't have to camp in designated campsites?

    Also do you use a bear cannister, or are you able to hang your food?

  3. #13
    Greg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Thomaston, CT
    While the Whites can be very crowded on holiday weekends, rarely will you have to camp within eye-shot or even ear-shot of other hikers. I tend to avoid designated sites unless it's late and there is nothing else available. In addition to staying at least 200 feet off of any trail and river, backcountry camping in the White Mountains is subject to these guidelines:
    • Above treeline (areas where the trees are less than 8 feet in height), camping is allowed only when there is at least two feet of snow on the ground.
    • In the Great Gulf Wilderness, all camping must be below treeline, and 200 feet off the trail OR in one of the designated sites along the trail. No camping is permitted beyond the junction of the Sphinx and Great Gulf Trails in the direction of Spaulding Lake.
    • In the Cutler River Drainage, which includes Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines, camping is allowed only at the Hermit Lake Shelters.
    • No camping, wood fires, or charcoal fires within mile of any hut, shelter, tent platform, cabin, picnic area, or campground.
    • No camping, wood fires, or charcoal fires in any Wilderness Area.
    • Hiking and camping group size in Wilderness Areas must be no larger than 10 people.
    • No mechanized or mechanical equipment in any Wilderness Area.
    A complete list of official 2001/2002 backcountry camping rules can be found at

    So, if you're patient and look for a good spot, you can usually find a camp that no one else will even know is there. In over 15 years of backpacking in the White Mountains, I've never had anything stolen from my camp. It's certainly possible though so leave items at your own risk. However, the way I see it is that someone taking something from my site will have to pack it out. I'd also like to think that anyone who made it up into the areas where I generally camp will respect others' property. Most backpackers are pretty cool like that.

    Bears have never been a problem. Food is always hung. Hope this helps!

  4. #14
    Thanks for the info! I bookmarked the link for future reference. The area sounds much better than I originally thought.

  5. #15
    Lyndy: I prefer Maine to the Whites as a place to hike. Its less commercialized, less expensive and less crowded and I feel further away from civilization.

    For most trips, however, I go to the Whites because they are closer. The crowdedness and the kinds of people you'll run into really depends on the trails you pick. If you go to the Whites, be sure to get some feedback or do a little research on the trails you'll be using.

  6. #16
    Oh yeah.. I might add that I am mostly a backpacker. I am happiest when I am hiking for 5 days or more along a trail... going from point A to point B. I'll bag a peak, hike a loop and do day hikes when thats what I have time for.

    So far, the best hiking I've done has been backpacking the AT in Maine.

  7. #17

    The Whites can get crowded during the weekends, especially in the summer. My wife and I hike a lot, so we have gotten pretty good at avoiding the crowds. First, try to get an early start. We tend to get started around 6:30 - 7:00am depending on the hike. If you start early, you can usually have the summit to yourself before the throngs of hikers hit.

    Also, be selective on which hikes you want to do. The Franconia Ridge can be a zoo during weekends. If you want to climb any of the peaks, try to do it during the week. The Presidentials can also be crowded, so choose a Mt that isn't as popular. If you plan right, you can have a wonderful time in the Whites. Enjoy your hiking.

  8. #18
    Thanks for the advice, y'all. I love Maine too. There are so many places to go, north and south of me. The end of Aug. I am spending a week in Maine. I would like to stop in the Whites for a couple of days, even if just to get familiar with the area. I'm not interested in peakbagging, I just want to get away from crowds and still have a good hike with good views and a quiet campsite.

  9. #19
    LiveFreeorDie NH
    I would consider myself a dayhiker.
    I enjoy hiking in the white mountains as I am a new comer to NH. I do alot of traveling in the NE (work unfortunately)and would have to agree with pedxing about ME. I have driven by Katahdin 5 times so far this year and hope to make it up and across the knives edge by the year end. It is just more convienent to hit the whites for a day.

  10. #20
    Great job Greg, the site looks nice.

    I believe I've responded to this before on this site. I consider myself a woods wanderer, whether dayhiking or backpacking, being in the woods is best. I love the self sufficiency of backpacking, and just being in the woods in general.

    I hike exclusively in Maine, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't get out and about - just that there's so much to see and do right here in my own backyard and only so much time to do it in. I get out at least one day of every weekend, vacation either in Western or Downeast Maine (sometimes Canada, although I've never hiked there), and spend several weekends and one week in Baxter. I make advance reservations to stay in BSP, which avoids the early morning starts and worrying if the gate'll be closed, but only a few of my trips are for Katahdin itself anyway. There are so many things to see and do in other areas of the park.

    This past weekend my nephew and I hiked up the Hunt Trail to Baxter Peak, then down the Saddle and Chimney Pond Trails. We saw moose and had a close encounter with a startled bull on the way into Grassy Pond. Had a great time !

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