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     We were hanging out at my place watching nature documentaries on Netflix.  We stumbled across one that caught our eyes.  A documentary by National Geographic about hikers "thru-hiking" the Appalachian Trail.  We watched it and within 3 days we were shopping for gear.  Our intentions were very clear that one day down the road, we would start our end-to-end hike of the beloved long distance trail that is the "AT".  Living within only two hours we decided to start small and hike in sections for practice.  Our first destination, the Presidential Range in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

     We woke up early on a Friday morning, got dressed and packed our Osprey Atmos 65 liter packs.  We headed to the local breakfast diner to grab a quick and hearty meal to hold us over until lunch time.  We arrived two hours later at the Highland Center on Route 302 in Bretton Woods at about 10 am.  We got our parking permit and drove to the trail head of Crawford Path, the oldest continually used hiking trail in the country today.

     So our adventure begins.  Within five minutes of embarking from the trailhead on foot with thirty pound packs, we start to have second thoughts.  We have had some experience hiking in the past, but nothing quite like this.  We put our self-doubts into the backs of our minds and press forward up 3000 feet and roughly 3 miles on Pierce Mountain to our first checkpoint for the night, Nauman Tentsite.

     Upon arrival to the campsite, we were greeted with smiling faces and rumors of what's cooking in the nearby Mizpah Hut for dinner.  We paid the tent site's college aged care taker 16 dollars for two nights of stay.  We found that either using a "bear bag" to keep our food safe at night was not really an option but something of being mandatory in nature.  The region is known for black bears and other smaller mammals known for tearing through food rations while hikers/campers sleep at night.  This was our first time bear bagging.  We also were informed that any camp fires were strictly prohibited.  We took an early night to be ready for the big day ahead of us.  We slept soundly in the serene calm of a summer night in the mountains.

     We woke up the next morning chipper than ever.  We made breakfast, and set out on our way.  We summited four "4000 footer" peaks in the first half of our day.  First was Pierce in the dense morning fog.  Next was Eisenhower in the clouds.  The rest of our day was spent in the clouds in a delicate and precious region known as the alpine zone.  We pressed forward to Mt Monroe and stopped to cook up some Knorr noodles at the Lake of the Clouds Hut at roughly 5300 feet.

     And so began our accent of the beast known as Mt Washington.  Where our mettle was trialed and our endurance tested.  Scenic vista like we have never seen before in our lives.  We climbed, and climbed, and climbed some more.  And when you think your at the top, you have another 200 feet to go, and then another 200 feet, and another 200 feet.  Reaching the summit of Mt Washington, I have never felt a greater rush of pride run through my veins.  We were in hysterics to say the least.

     One we calmed down and took in the views, we went into the summit restaurant to grab some hotdogs and sodas.  After spending about an hour inside,  we began our return trek to Nauman tentsite just over 6 miles away.

     We arrived at Nauman just as the sun was going down and the rains moving in.  We set up camp again and went straight to sleep.  We woke the next morning to walk back to the trailhead where we had left the car 2 days prior.   We got to the car and almost unanimously exclaimed "We made it!'.   Needless to say we will be returning to the Appalachian Trail in the very near future.


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