Camp Moosilauke maple syrup

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Aug 19 , 1983 Friday (413.8 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

I became aware this morning that the descent from Smarts Mountain, and the descent from Mt Cube are probably what the rest of the Whites would be like: steep and rocky, no switchbacks, just down. Or up as the case might be. Mt. Cube's descent was worse than Smarts, being a little longer in the steep part. As I began hiking more towards the base I ran across many rubber tubes strung from tree to tree. It looked like surgical tubing, and it might very well have been, but this web of rubber was the highway leading to the vats of maple sap that the folks at the Mt Cube Maple Syrup Farm had installed among the trees on the mountainside so that each spring they could boil and produce Pure Maple Syrup. At route 25a, I made a detour to the right to visit the restaurant at the farm. It is here that the wife of the ex-governor (Mel Thompson) of the state of New Hampshire was known to serve some of the best pancakes in the world - with real maple syrup of course. I arrived at the Cube House before eight, and had to wait a while before being served. As I waited, I talked with an old gentleman whom I thought was a counselor at Camp Moosilauke, just down the road. He asked me if I had ever considered being a camp counselor. I responded that I would like to be, but I really thought that only those with recreation majors were chosen for that. He assured me that was not true, and that if I could do something in particular, such as hiking, I could get a job. I took a name and address and tucked it away in my pack for later use to try for a job. I must have looked hungry as I received five rather than the four pancakes that I ordered. The rumors were correct, these are the best pancakes on the trail. Of course the genuine maple syrup provided does a lot to enhance the flavor of any pancakes. I managed to consume a piece of homemade pie and ice cream as well after my pancake breakfast. A good stop.

I walked back up the road one quarter of a mile to the trailhead and turned right into the woods and continued to make a gradual descent toward Upper Baker Pond a few miles north. I remember this particular section as being the most mosquito infested area along the entire trail! I hiked as fast as I could and still the little buggers were able to land on the exposed parts of my body and suck my blood! I had never seen anything like it, and hoped that I never would again. I drew a mosquito on my map of the area so I would never forget where it was. For the remainder of the day the trail rambled through the woods mostly, with gradual ups and downs and no real climbing. I passed Walt Witman boys camp as I traveled on one of the back roads that the trail followed. I reached Glencliff post office on route 25 before two o'clock. Post offices along the trail in small towns are amazing and unpredictable. Because I had gotten there when I did, I had to wait until two PM when they opened!

I took the opportunity to call mom while waiting at the post office. The record shows two calls from the Pike, NH area, one of four minutes (cost $3.51) and another we talked for thirteen minutes (cost $7.47). I estimated 7 to 8 days until Gorham, where she was to send me some guidebooks for Maine, money orders, and white liner socks. In about five days I would hopefully be on top of Mount Washington, the highest peak in New Hampshire, where I would try to make a call. (notes from Mom)

I eventually received my mail, which had been sent by mom on Aug 15 and cost $7.42 first class, traveling from Illinois to New Hampshire in four days.

I met a couple of other hikers named Ray Perry and Lysle Nikoloff at the post office while we waited for it to open. They informed me that they intended to hike on to Beaver Brook Shelter, while I chose to move on only to Jeffer's Brook shelter, not far up the trail. I had already traveled 17 miles by the time I arrived at the shelter, and moving on to the next shelter would include climbing up Mt Moosilauke, and going down the other side, adding another 7.6 miles and a big climb at the end of the day. I was in no hurry, I saw the profile of Mt Moosilauke - the altitude change involved 3000 feet practically straight up! Welcome to the White Mountains of New Hampshire!

While at the shelter I read an entry stating that anyone was welcome to walk down the trail a bit, follow a road off the trail for a short distance and visit Appalachian Al, a burly, plump fellow who had a great interest in hiking and particularly the area around Mt. Moosilauke. I visited with Al for a while, after all he had the same name as I, before returning to the Jeffer's Brook Shelter for the night. Four southbound hikers spent the night at the shelter with me. Jeffers Brook shelter had one of the weirdest outhouses that I had seen so far. Almost like an obstacle course, the user had to open the door, walk up two or three steps, then down two or three steps, and then turn around and sit on the ledge. Interesting.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

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