I am planning a 3 day Presidential Traverse in July. I will be hiking solo, north to south, and camping at backcountry sites or tent platforms. My main outdoor playground is California's Sierra Nevada range, and I have moderate experience hiking in other ranges around the world. However, I have no experience in the White Mountains aside from a couple of easier day hikes when I was growing up. I've done some online research on the Traverse (this site in particular has been very helpful!), but there are a few logistical puzzles I'm still trying to work out. Any insight would be great!
I plan to hike up Airline Trail, and if possible I'd like to avoid backtracking down Valley Way to the tent platforms for my first night. However, by the time I make it up to the Madison Hut, it may be that I've run out of time or energy (after flying in on the red-eye the same morning!) to make it to the Perch. I've read that there may be a suitable backcountry site below Edmonds Col near the three-way junction of Grey Knob Trail, Randolph Path and Perch Path. Can anyone think of any other backcountry sites or alternatives between Madison Hut and Edmonds Col?
I can't bring a fuel canister on the airplane, and since I'm somewhat tied to the AMC shuttle schedule, I won't have much time to look for an outfitter store to pick up some fuel. Unless...can anyone recommend a place along Rt.3 or Rt.302 (coming from I-93)?
Sticking to the one-pound-on-your-feet-equals-five-pounds-on-your-back school of thought, I am planning to wear my trail runners. They're sturdy, but offer little ankle support. With that in mind, I've bought trekking poles especially for this trip! I haven't seen much discussion on footwear, so I wanted to make sure that my plan isn't completely idiotic.
It seems that there are a few different options for how to end the trip on the south side. I'm hoping to leave my car at Highland Center (Can I park there for 3 days?), but I may come out at the Webster Cliff trailhead. So....are there any arguments for which peaks to visit and therefore which trailhead to finish at? If I do finish down the road from my car, is hitchhiking a common and safe practice for hikers in the area?
Thanks in advance for any wisdom you can impart, and happy hiking!