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Hello All,

I tried to post this three times yesterday and each time my AOL locked up. Here's hoping the 4th try is a charm.

I went up to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire Friday night for an overnight camping trip with a buddy of mine. Despite being 30 years old, I have never actually been camping before - lots of day hiking but just never had the gear or the opportunity before. My buddy has pretty much two of everything, so he offered to take me on an overnighter...just one night so as to give me a good introduction without overdoing it. is the official site for the White Mountain National Forest.

There are tons of trails there, we went to one called Hancock (there is a North and South Hancock). The use fees were pretty reasonable...I think it was $3/person per day. (an unofficial site) We got there about 6pm Friday night, and hiked for about an hour til we found a good campsite. Set up camp and made a great meal of chicken (took frozen chicken that thawed throughout the day), rice and instant garlic bread (just add water and grill - almost like a garlic flavored pancake) and then built a small fire and roasted smores. Mmmm...

Content and full, hit the rack for the night. Got up around 6am to the pitter-patter of rain, hoped against hope that it was just a passing shower but alas it just kept coming. After breakfast we debated whether to just call it or head up, and the adventurer in us decided to make a go for the "summit" of North Hancock, since the guidebook and a local shop told us North Hancock had the prettier view. We didn't expect much of a view with the rain but hoped maybe it would clear up by the time we reached the top. (PS - Never let your buddy talk you into having peaches and cream oatmeal mixed with hot chocolate for breakfast...let's just say...interesting).

From where we camped it was about 1.7 miles to the top of North Hancock, it was 1.6 I think to South Hancock, then there was a 1.4 mile trail that connected the two. If it had been a nicer day the guy at the shop did recommend climb South Hancock first then take the connecting trail over....perhaps another day however.

The first mile or so was up and down, over several streams (even with the rain still crossable), but overall not too bad. There were some stunning rock formations which made for some neat falls along the way, nothing too big just very pretty. Did not see much wildlife except for lots of little frogs underfoot and a few birds. It wasn't very crowded either. We saw no other campers or used campsites along the way, only saw two people on Friday (day hikers heading out), and barely a dozen on Saturday.

About a mile into it you go down into a deep ravine, then start the last big climb...and climb we did. It was very steep and rocky - had to really watch your footing. The rain never stopped, so we were pretty much soaked by the time we reached the top. The rain and clouds did not let up, so there wasn't much to see...

We headed back down, I was concerned that the steep climb would be more tricky coming down, however it wasn't as bad as I imagined it would be. Eventually got back to camp, then packed out and started the long ride home. Feel a little sore today...I don't think it's from the hike as much as from sliding off the therma-rest and sleeping mostly on the ground and the weight of the pack (even though I didn't spend a lot of time with it on).

All in all, it was a pleasant trip. I believe there are several access points to the White River Forest, we accessed through Lincoln, New Hampshire - a nice small town with some ski areas that seemed to be open for summer mountain biking and some small restaurants. It seemed that there were lots of trailheads accessible from this area, and I may head up there in a few weeks with my wife.


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