A report of our final days of Hitch 7 in the White Mountain National Forest

White Mountain TrACS

Hitch 7 Report

Pemigewasset District – Algonquin Trail, East Pond Connector Trail
8/6/2012 – 8/12/2012
Total miles TrAC-ed: 6
Total miles hiked: 10
Total service hours: 135
Prepared by Alice P. Webber

Monday, August 6, 2012:

7:30 a.m. marked the first minute of the first day of the final hitch. Emotions ran high while demeanors remained cool; there was still much work to get done. Thanks to agency contact Jenny Burnett, the team had a great week planned. They were to head to the Sandwich Range Wilderness for the first time as a team and TrAC the 4.5 mile Algonquin Trail. Both excited for and respectful of what Wilderness areas behold, the team prepped with a full communication meeting of what the week will bring: hiking, TrACing, and ice cream. They took off on the mountain after their rallying cry and took in the beauty of the Sandwich Range Wilderness. They powered up the mountain, driven by the accomplishment of making this far in their internships. The team TrACed a total of 2.7 miles of the Algonquin Trail, turned around and mentally prepared for the BBQ feast that was to become their dinner. TrACed: 2.7 Hiked: 5.4 miles.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012:

Quadriceps, biceps and triceps were fueled by the Cinnamon Toast Crunch and a crisp breeze this Tuesday. Mother Nature blessed the White Mountains with a second day of stunningly temperate weather and blue skies filling the spaces between the white pine canopies. A return to the Algonquin Trail meant a return to Sandwich Notch Rd., a historical rd. built in 1801 connecting NH 49 to the town of Center Sandwich and NH 113. A narrow and bumpy trip, though oozing magic from each over-hanging branch, brought the team back to the Algonquin trailhead to TrAC to completion. Enjoying each minute of the steep climbs and bedrock stretches, the team eagerly reached their previous day’s ending point and sat on down to enjoy a lunch with a view of the White Mountain National Forest. Bellies full, they arose to pull out the wheel, the silver folder, the green binder and their two pencils to help them complete one of their final days of TrACing. As smoothly as ever (as if they had been doing it for the entirety of the summer), the team TrACed the remaining 1.7 miles of the picturesque Algonquin Trail up to the summit of Sandwich Dome. A popular, and small, summit amongst the locals amounted to the team having to sit in the shade and await their turn to stand at the tallest point, mark the final foot, and just take it all in. A 9 mile roundtrip hike brought the team up and down Algonquin trail this Tuesday. Luckily, there was handmade ice cream and bacon to ease their quadriceps, biceps, and triceps. TrACed: 1.8 Hiked: 9 miles.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012:

One sentenced was running through all our minds the moment we woke up, “Last day of TrACing.” It was almost too much to bear and Cinnamon Toast Crunch was consumed quickly to mask the intensity of the reality. The team headed back to Tripoli Rd. to complete the last trail assigned to them: 1.5 miles for the East Pond Connector Trail. We decided to hike up Little East Pond trail to arrive at the start of East Pond Connector, which would mean being able to hike the whole of the loop by the end of the day. The trail was slightly wet at the beginning junction due to the flooding of Little East Pond in years prior. After the initial swampy 0.1 mile, though, the trail maintained an easy grade traveling over multiple ups & downs which allow for natural drainage. The good condition of the trail made for quick TrACing, and before we knew it, we were just a couple hundred feet from the end! Installing a new step was one of our final features before reaching the end at the junction of East Pond trail with the final number we’d ever write down for the 2012 season being nothing else, but a spectacular palindrome: 8118 feet. And just like that, we had wheeled our last foot, recorded our last sign, and clicked our pencils closed for good. The moment was flooded with indecipherable emotions. Luckily, David had prepared an epic speech to commemorate the season. Propped up on a rock, David had us captivated with his words and emotions, all jotted down on a few sheets of paper. In the end, our claps were as loud as our smiles and we took off towards East Pond for a few silent moments to appreciate where the entire summer had led us. TrACed: 1.5 Hiked: 4.6 miles.

Thursday, August 9 – Saturday, August 11, 2012:

Our final days were full. Full of paperwork, cleaning, evaluating, eating, pushups, and more eating.
A few sad goodbyes to Jenny and the White Mountains and each other, and then full excitement for the next big thing.