[at-l] Gathering Info

Art Cloutman Art at crystalacresnh.com
Wed Sep 8 09:34:44 CDT 2010

Yesterday, Tuesday September 7th,  I drove up to the Whites to try to 
finish some field editing for the Thru Hiker's Companion.  I drove 
through Crawford Notch and Pinkham Notch, spen time at a couple dozen 
establishments that offer services to hikers and checked out trail 
heads for thru hikers.  I met Two of the Same - a man and women who 
had identical equipment when they started their hike - who needed a 
ride to Crawford Notch Camp Ground and General Store.  Unfortunately 
the folks that own the store decided to no longer maintain one of 
their cabins as a bunkhouse for thru hikers.  Certainly hikers can 
rent the cabin as a cabin.  People had been asking them if they were 
going to flip so that they would make it to Katahdin before it was 
closed for the season.  I confirmed their belief that you can hike in 
Baxter State Park any time of the year.  The park is never totally 
closed.  Camping is closed after October 15th.  When I hiked in 2004 
I was constantly being told that I would not make it.  That the park 
would be closed and Katahdin would be covered in snow. 
Interestingly, I finished on October 25th.  It was a balmy day with 
temps in the 50's and a slight breeze at Baxter Peak.  It was 
perfectly clear and to top it off there were only two other hikers on 
the mountain that day.  I didn't have to stand in line at  the summit 
to get my picture taken.     Two of a Kind were enjoying their hike 
immensely.  They were not rushing through the Whites.  They were 
smelling the roses if you wish.  There was another hiker named Mike 
who wanted to go to the General Store to pick up some supplies. So, 
The three piled into my truck and off we went.

I stopped into the Willey House to get some lunch and gather 
information about their establishment and the Dry River Campground 
nearby. Then continued north past the AMC's Highlands - I make my 
contact with them via email and their public relations officer Rob 
Burbank - on to the Above the Notch Motel.  They claimed they had a 
very good thru hiker season.  They do some shuttling and there 
appears to be some gear and supply businesses nearby.

I stopped and Hiker's Paradise in Gorham.  Bruno and Marie Anne were 
both there with their dry negative sense of humor.  They have been 
taken advantage of frequently in the past by Thru Hikers.  One 
example is a hiker who wanted to share his all you can eat breakfast 
with another hiker.  Figured he could get two for the price of one. 
Saturday mornings are busy at Hiker's Paradise because a lot of 
locals come in for breakfast.  Quite typically some hiker who did not 
spend the night at Hikers' Paradise but did have a mail drop there 
will walk in and ask them to drop everything and get the mail drop 
immediately.  The hikers tend to put up a big stink if Bruno asks 
them to come back in a couple of hours.  Here Bruno and Mary Anne are 
offering a service for free but the hiker wants to be treated like 
someone deserving special attention.  I can understand why the two of 
them are getting tired of the way some of us act.  Another issue is 
they offer free shuttles to and from the trail for their guests.  But 
they are busy in the morning and later in the afternoon, so they 
schedule an early morning shuttle back to the trailheads.  Some hiker 
who decided to get up late then wants  a special shuttle back to the 
trail or even worse is someone who stayed across the street where 
shuttle service is not offered will come over and ask for a free ride 
back to the trail at 10 in the morning during their busiest time of 
the day.  While I was there at 2PM a hiker came back from town after 
shopping.   Checkout time is 11:00 AM.  He wanted the time he spent 
in town to be free because he was "Just storing his gear in the Room" 
and he wanted a free shuttle back to the trail.  If he had talked 
with the owners first it might have been easily worked out.  They 
could have found some place to leave his gear while his room was 
cleaned and maybe arranged to drop him off when they went back to the 
trail to pick up the next crew coming into town.  Bruno and Mary Anne 
get a little bitter with the Entitled behavior of many Thru Hikers.

I went to The Royalty Inn which I suspected would get few Thru Hikers 
but was surprised to find out that a lot of hikers stay there as 
guests of some caring friend or relative.  They hear reports of how 
dificult the Whites have been and offer a couple pampered days in 
town.  It is as very nice establishment -  I've stayed there a few 
times on ski trips.  Nice pool and dining room.

I found three hikers at the Rattle River/AT trailhead outside of 
Gorham on Rt 2.  A couple had two dogs so were not going into town 
but E-sue (sp?) wanted a ride to Walmart.  The Shaws in Gorham has 
closed but Walmart is a Super Store and Gorham now has a trolley/bus 
service from Gorham to Berlin.  It runs every two hours and costs 
$2.00 for the day.

The White Birches Campground has been running a hostel in the loft of 
their camp office/store.  They claim they were very busy this season. 
But Bruno and Mary Anne claim they had half of the hikers they had 
last year.

I forgot to runoff the Maine section I usually cover so I will have 
to go back next week to visit a few more places.  It is always fun to 
visit places that help hikers.  They are usually very nice folks.


Life is Good!!!
Art Cloutman

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