Wednesday, September 12, 2001

day 123, Imp Campsite, NH

Start:  Pinkham Notch VC (Hikers Paradise)
End:  Imp Campsite
Miles:  13.1 today, 1860.6 total

Had an extremely bad episode this morning involving the Hikers Paradise staff.  Bruce woke me up at 5am, like we had planned last night.  I started getting my stuff together by the light of my headlamp.  The plan was to depart for the trail at 5:30, but I figured it would be no big deal if we left at, say, 5:35.  I mean, we're on the trail and, in general, people are pretty easy going (and slow to get out of bed at 5am!).  So at 5:30 I'm brushing my teeth when I hear the car start.  I grab my stuff and get down to the planned meeting location at 5:33 or 34.  No car.  I set my stuff down, look around a bit, and then head to the front of the building to see if the car was up there.  Nope.  I look in through the window at the "bird clock" and it reads 5:35.  So Bruce had left without me (Logos was the only other guy going at that time) and didn't bother to check if I was almost ready.  So then I ring the bell at the front door.  The door's locked, but there's two signs saying the place is open (this is maybe 5:45).  The other male staff member (2 males, 1 female) comes out in his robe saying he doesn't know where Bruce is and that I shouldn't have woken (is that a word?) him up.  Anyway, some time goes by, I wait some more.  A little after 6am I go to the front.  The door's unlocked so I go in and sit to warm up while I wait.  The guy comes out again and asks me to go outside.  I start to say that the "Open" sign is up, and he starts screaming for me to leave.  I pack up, argue with Bruce, get half my money back, and hitch back to the trail.

Post-hike note:  I had to cram the last few sentences as I was running out of space on the journal page.  Obviously, this wasn't a fun way to start the day.  I'll certainly take the blame for being a few minutes late down to the meeting spot, and, yeah, I knew I was pushing some buttons by considering the "Open" signs as indicating the place was legitimately open that early in the morning... despite the likelier cause being that someone had just forgotten to flip them to "Closed" the night before.  But, I was nevertheless a paying customer, and a certain level of friendly or at least professional service... receive I did not (to say the least), from two different staff members.  I had initially paid them to stay two nights, and after the various arguments that we had, I was glad Bruce at least agreed to reimburse me for the 2nd night.  Regardless, there was no way I was going to stay there again.

To be fair, I have no doubt many other hikers have had better experiences at Hikers Paradise, and I certainly wish the hostel success going forward.  However, being that this is a journal of my personal experiences hiking the Trail, and that the events of the morning were, by far, the highlight of the day, it seems appropriate, at least to me, to include in the blog.

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