Here is a photo of me atop Mt. Killington in Vermont. But I won't bore you with stories of such petty mountains. I'm in the Whites!
And they have been absolutely...amazing. Nothing else in my thru-hike has compared to these mountains. I'm very glad they arrived at the end of my journey instead of, in the south-bounders' case, the beginning. The whites just dwarf everything else on the trail...literally. As soon as we hit the Franconia Ridge, I knew we were in for a treat. It consisted of three mountains in a row, all above tree-line, on an exposed ridge. Also, the weather was perfect: Sunny and warm, with a light breeze...something very rare in an area known for the worst weather in the world. I summitted Mt. Washington this morning around 8AM, before any of the tourists, with clear skies and a spectacular 360 degree view of New Hampshire and Maine. It was sublime.
I'm sure I'd be singing a much different tune if it we had rain and heavy winds. With all the rocks and exposed ridge-line we would either be slipping down the mountain or blown off it entirely. But I guess south-bounders did it in those conditions, and survived.
The Hut system here has been great as well. Normally, people pay $80-$90 for a night at one of these huts, but thru-hikers can stay for free in exchange for a night (or morning) of work. This has worked for us three times. We get the leftovers from dinner and breakfast, a warm place to stay, and all we have to do is organize a bookshelf or scrub a wall. A good deal.
We've been taking some amazing photos (and even better videos), but I can't post them yet, because we don't have the cable to do so. But hopefully I can get some up here when I get to Gorham, which is only 2 days away.
Right now, I'm sitting here in North Conway, drinking a microbrew, and eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's. An '07 thru-hiker, M&M, has taken Rock, Roll, Hot Tang, and I into her condo for the night, and she is truly a trail angel. Thank you, if you are reading this!