Day 125 – Tuesday, July 12: Stealth Camp (Hanover, NH) to Sunset Motor Inn (West Lebanon, NH), Zero Day, 1,747.0 miles

Greyhound and I both woke early, breaking camp as soon as the sun came up. Out hidden nook on the pedestrian trail looked more like a jogging path in the early morning daylight – we both were packed and ready to leave before 7:00am. The Dartmouth crew teams were out rowing on the Connecticut River.

We were exhausted having slept less than seven hours. Nonetheless, we put on a cheery mood and headed back into New Hampshire and downtown Hanover. The AT Guide listed several restaurants and cafes in town that offered free menu items to thru-hikers. We first headed to Lou’s and received free glazed donuts – we ended up buying coffee as well.

We had problems finding the other two restaurants and gave up, opting instead to head to the post office and pick up our packages. After breakfast and with maildrops in tow, we walked down to the community center where we were able to wash our clothes and take a shower. We donned loaner clothes and headed across the street to resupply. The co-op proved too expensive, so we decided to walk back to the Irish pub for an early lunch – we were both starving. I ordered a buffalo chicken sandwich – it was really good. I also texted Black Santa.

Greyhound was getting ready to head back to the community center and put our clothes in the dryer, when Black Santa arrived. He was hiking with Ralphie and a few others – they had been hostel-hopping for the last week and were having a really good time doing it. I moved to an outside table and joined them – Greyhound returned 20 minutes later.

We all had a great time – I ended up finishing off another plate of chicken wings by the time it was ready to leave and get our clothes out of the dryer. Greyhound and I organized our packs and stored them at the CC while we went back to town to complete our resupply. I bought overpriced snacks from a convenience store and headed back to the co-op where I spent way too much money.

I texted Black Santa and told him we were getting ready to head to the trail – he wanted to meet us there. We organized our packs at the CC and left – the AT picked up again behind the baseball fields across the street. We met Black Santa maybe 150 yards into the woods and hung out trailside for a long time. It was nice to have Black Santa in the mix – we were all ready to go.

As we were packing up, a hiker approached and asked if anyone had left a wallet at the CC. Greyhound dove into her pack and looked panic – she couldn’t find her wallet. She literally ran into town – I stayed behind with Black Santa and, now, Ralphie and hung out by the trailhead. Greyhound returned with good and bad news. They CC had her wallet safe and sound – but they wouldn’t be opening until tomorrow morning.

Black Santa and Ralphie decided to hike on towards the next shelter – I stayed behind with Greyhound. We walked back into town and quickly caught a hitch right in front of the convenience store I partially resupplied at. A younger woman, whose anniversary is tomorrow, picked us up and drove us directly to the Sunset Motor Inn in nearby West Lebanon.

The hotel was quite nice and very, very clean. We ordered a pizza, devoured it, and quickly went to sleep.

* * *

Fun Fact: We ran into our first large group of Southbounders today. We didn’t speak to them.

Author: Chris Kummer

Hey y'all - Cool Dad here. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to thru-hike the AT. It remained a nagging thought for nearly a decade - then it got loud enough to warrant my attention. So I quit my unfulfilling job(s) in Seattle and commenced hiking north from Springer in the spring of 2016. And I'm exceedingly thankful I did. The people I met, the things I saw, the gross foods I ate - not a day goes by without fondly remembering life on the trail. If you've already thru-hiked a long trail, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're thinking about tackling a long-distance hike, do it. Do it now. I'm probably gonna do it again...

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