Gribley and I walked into NH soaking wet. We'd gotten drenched the night before and also again during our slack pack. It didn't matter - we were so joyed to be in New Hampshire!! It represented so much - the second to last state, and also the big, bad, beautiful White Mountains that I had been fearing and was excited for.
Hanover is a college city trail town (home to Dartmouth) and not even a mile into NH. The AT led us directly into downtown and we made our first stop at the outfitters. Mom & Dad had mailed my warm weather gear (warmer sleeping bag, fleece jacket, socks, warm long johns, and of course lots of goodies!). Posts Offices also accept mail drops, but they tend to have shorter hours, especially on weekends. Various outfitters and hostels have proven to be a better bet.
I also had a package from Saloman - my third pair of hiking boots.
Gribley's mother sent him a similar package and after a big time of show & tell, we consolidated boxes and headed to Ramunto's Pizza to meet up with the crew we were slack packing with. Upon arrival we learned that hikers got a free slice! We did pay for a beer, and it was so nice to sit and relax.
At this point I need to back up a bit - a few weeks earlier I posted something about my AT hike on my Facebook page and got a message from an old childhood friend, Jackie, that had moved away while we were still young. We had connected on Facebook but otherwise had not been in touch. She messaged me saying that she and her husband, Will, lived near Hanover and offered to have me & Gribley over for a night - warm bed, shower, dinner... all things hikers dream about! I excitedly agreed - in addition to the generous things she offered, I was so excited to see an old friend! We planned for her to meet us at Ramunto's. I bought her a beer and introduced her to my hiker trash friends. (Side note - "hiker trash" is the expression used by hikers to describe a group of their hiker friends. It is always said lovingly and with a smile. We are all otherwise more or less upstanding citizens in society, and it's so crazy to always be dirty and stinky, having to hitchhike around town).
After retrieving our packs from the uncle of the hikers who offered to slack pack us, Gribley and I left with Jackie to meet Will at the grocery co-op. We picked out lots of fresh veggies for a salad and chicken, sausage, corn and zucchini to grill. We drove back to their apartment and got started with the shower/laundry process. Jackie prepared dough for grilled flat bread and Will started making the amazing dinner.
We went back downtown for gelato and then crashed pretty hard. We'd been so exhausted leading up to NH that it was so nice to be warm, clean, full and then get a good night's sleep. The next morning, they dropped us back downtown. We mailed home our summer gear and got groceries and eventually hiked out. Stay tuned for the next bit!