After a good night sleep and breakfast at the hostel, I'm off to Pinkerton Notch again only with my full pack and going south again. We get off to a late start 7:50am. Today I'm hiking with a couple that just got engaged on top of Wildcat Mountain, Whirley Bird & Over Easy are their trail names. I'm hoping to hike at a good speed with them. It's predicted to be bad weather thunderstorms, not good for hiking to Mt. Madison of the presidential range. WB & OE & I all decide that Osgood tent area is all we should do this day to stay under cover and not be exposed to the storms and winds. We take our time getting going. About 11am after it begins to rain we get going. They go first I'm a little behind already if I want yo hike with them. In the whites it can be more confusing to know if you are on the AT or not. I'm hiking and low & behold WB & OE come from a side trail they are already confused. It's still raining making life slippery on the rocks & roots we have to step on or over.
The Oshkosh tenting area is only 5 miles in. We are all hiking along they get out in front of me I cannot keep up to their pace. As I'm hiking I see others going north that I had met in Hanover while doing my book buying job. It's good to see them again. They are pleasantly surprised that I'm really doing the trail we exchange stories and highlights and go our separate ways. That puts me even further from catching up to the couple I started the day with. Oh well alone again. Hiking in the rain I prayed to God to have a window of opportunity to set up my tent when I got there, He not only did that for me but the sun came out and the wind dried all my wet clothes!
I have a clothes line with me to hang things on The couple had been at the site before me and had set up tgeir tent in the rain. They were cold & tired I never saw them until the next morning. Since it wasn't raining anymore I explored the camping area. Very nice place to camp if you want to only go 5 miles a day. So far I have yet to go very far in s day in the Whites. There is a special box that bears can't get into to store your food for the night so no bears come to eat it & you don't have to hang it from a tree branch. I'm still a novice at this skill. I eat dinner pea soup that filled me up! Put my food in the bear box. All in all a good day short but sweet I'll get a long nights rest in bed by 7 pm. Big day planned for tomorrow I hope to make it to Lake in the Clouds hut tomorrow.
Big day planned up over Madison Adams & Washington today OMG that's a hard day for sure. Total of 10.1 miles I'm going to have my work cut out for me this day! I get out early before WB & OE. About 3 miles in they pass me I still don't have what it takes to go up tough elevation areas. I did get to the Madison hut to have a muffin & some soup. I got off after WB & OE so no hiking with them again on my own I'm quite used to this alone time hiking, I have yet to find anyone who is my pace. Pushing on I know it is tough terrain as well as elevation. My physical and emotional is like these mountains up & down one moment I'm thinking I'm doing well the next I'm feeling like I'll never make it. It's a slow moving day on the whole. Hard day for sure, I'm finally nearing the summit of Mt Washington and out of a side trail pops Whirley Bird & Over Easy, they had taken a wrong trail that took them off under the railroad bridge and realized they took a wrong turn somewhere. They were almost at their 1000 mile mark. They had started in Georgia and flipped in Harpers Frrry to Maine. So I got to celebrate and take photos of their special moment! A friend of mine Steven calls Mt Washington "The Rock Pile" I agree there is nothing but rock surface for miles in every direction. The tree of us get to the summit of The Rock Pile at 5:30pm 11 hrs of hiking for me and I still have more than a mile to get to Lake of the Clouds Hut! We all take photos of our summit and go to the bathroom flush toilet yippee! I don't get the often. We all decide to pay to stay do we can garrentee our meals. That means we have to hustle.
Me at the summit! Oh happy day!
I lead the three of us bounding down the rocky boulder surface toward the hut. The sun is going down pretty fast and the dinner is served at 7pm we leave the summit at 5:55 I'm in my glory watching every boulder I step on with look ups to the skyline such awesome beauty up at these heights!
Just before the hut is this view amazing like I said so majestic in the evening light. It's a Thursday and we don't have reservations to stay, we get in and they are able to fit us in. They had started serving the dinner already, so we got our very own table. They gave us cold rice & broccoli to start with. They were heating up more soul for us and making more enchiladas and bread. We were all very hungry! Hiking all day everyday has changed my appetite a lot. They bring out hot bread & soup for us I put my cold stuff in the hot soup to eat. The bread went down easy too. Then came the main dish we all had 3 servings of the enchilada and ate everything else up too. For dessert carrot cake with cream chees frosting! It all went into my belly! Yummy! Filled with good food and ready to sleep I went into the room assigned to me and the only bunk available was the top one of a stack of 4, ugh I said my body hurting from the emended day. Then a gentleman, a big guy, said I could have his lowest bunk he would take the top! I thanked him and gladly took him up on the offer. His friends wondered if he would even fit up there. Too funny, he did alright and everyone was happy especially me!
This is L-R Whirley Bird & Over Easy!
Day 37 mid Sept
I'm up before the sun as usual. Breakfast is not until 7am so I take all my stuff quietly out of the room and pack up ready to hike out right after breakfast. Another tough day to go all the way to Carter Notch! 11 mile day again in the Whites! I left the hut 9:30 not as early as I wanted to be but it is what it is! I gave great cell service on top of the range, so I chatted my my good friend Maureen. I know the temps will be getting lower so I ask her and Steven to be on the lookout for a 0* sleeping bag. I'm kicking myself for selling my LL Bean bag -20. I didn't make very good time so far today but I turn on the jets. I'm enjoying the still amazing views as I traverse the ridge trail. There are many people out hiking, 1 gal named Karen I had seen at the hut was limping real bad, I asked her if I could pray that her knee would be healed she said yes! I did and also continued to pray for the rest of the day for her. I knew she had some seriously painful hiking ahead to just get off the mountain no matter what trail she took. I do pray for many people and if you have requests & know my phone # text me I'll pray for your needs too! When I got to the next hut I had my usual soup but added bread and pastry & my salmon that was my protein lunch. I need to stay fueled. I'm hoping to get to the Highland Center before dark. The descent is grueling steep,STEEPER,steep down into the notch seemed like it would never end
Looking over an edge to the road. You can't have a fear of heights on this trail!
I make it to the road and begin to hitchhike toward the Highlands. A truck pulls over after a short time there. It's a park ranger! He informed me that he needed to get trash and close a visitors center and would let me stay for free @ the campground he oversees! My lucky day! I take him up on it and go to a small state run campground. He also gave me quarters for the shower! If I wondered if I smelled bad I guess I got an answer, haha! As I was charging my phone at the bathrooms people would ask about my hiking and were impressed I was doing the AT. There was a few families there and 1 mom said she would help me get back to the trail in the morning. I was very grateful it would save me from hitching or walking 2 miles back to the trail. All charged up I went to bed in my cozy tent!
It was very wet morning not from rain but from dew. I'm glad when the ranger told me where to set my tent up in a field I asked if there were any tree covered areas instead. I had rented under tree cover that night and very happy for it. The picnic table I had breakfast at was soaked but I was carrying a small foam to sit on. This would be the last time I'd see it I left it behind. The mom who said she would give me a ride did! She even gave me food fresh fruit a real treat for a AT person. It was a cool morning and I lugged up the road which was the trail for a bit until a parking lot then I got back in the woods. It was still a weekend day so a group was gathering to do a day hike. I chatted for a bit but moved on. Up hil starting is not my favorite thing, it takes more energy to move. I never know what the trail will be like for sure. I have an ap on my phone that gives me an idea what the elevation and mileage is but I never really know if it will be rocky, smooth, rooty, or a mixture of thrall at once. Today I'm hoping I'll get to Zealand Hut in time to do work for stay. Along the way is a beautiful falls slightly off trail but I went to have a snack and check it out.
The water levels are very low this year. Where that man is sitting usually has lots of rushing water flowing over it. The next happy scene I come to is a side walk type trail with boulders on both sides. It looks like someone plowed a path to make it easy to walk, I'm not sure but....one never knows.
I had a day hiker take this pic of me on the boulders but the actual path is like a sidewalk. My day has been quite easy for the white mountains. Just as I think it's easy the ascent to Zealand Falls happens and kicks my but, literally. My but and thighs on fire I arrive at the hut about 4:45, I've been told that is the time to ask to work for stay. So I get in and ask if that is possible? No it's too early said the one in charge and told me I need to press on. I ordered my usual soup & pastry eat and start to move on. Other through hikers are coming in asking no one gets in. I meet another hiker named Happy Feet, he is NOBO! I'm glad to meet him I had been told there were 2 of us. It's almost 5pm and I look at where I need to go to get to the next shelter. Another 4 miles all uphill and it says it's .2 off trail. I'm. It a happy camper! I don't think I can get it done before dark. Along the way I needed to stop for more food to keep my energy up, these cray jay birds flew near me, I put food in my hand and they ate it from there amazing that a bird would do such a thing.
I saw the sign that said the shelter was .6 away, hmmm I have conflicting info. I knew I would descend into the shelter. It's getting dark by now the sun has gone past the horizon and just the dusk light is there enough to see with but it would soon be very dark. I take the side trail for a bit, I'm ascending not descending so I'm confused, I'm very tired, and datkbess is becoming an issue. I take my pack off and pray for guidance what to do? I get my headlamp out to be ready for the darkness to set in. I make a decision to go back to check what I read on the last signpost. As I'm going that way a man comes bounding down the trail toward me. I ask where are you going tonight? He says to the shelter I'm aiming for! That God for sending s messenger at a time when I most need help. He is coming in from Boston late hiking to get his weekend fix of hiking. So I follow behind him happy to know I'll have a place not too far now that dark I moving in and I'm dead tired. We arrive to a very busy busy shelter. We both have to pay then walk past lots of hikers eating & cooking their dinner meal. It dark by now and I walk right past the shelter not even seeing it. I realize and get to the right spot and low & behold there is plenty of space for the 2 of us. The other great thing, I'm talking with the others already in the shelter and it comes out that they live in New Boston! Then we realize we have a mutual person in our lives. Amazing we need to go into the woods to meet our neighbors! They were very kind and shared their venison jerky with me! What a great end to a potentially bad night! Lost but found, dark and possible rain coming in this night room at the shelter so many good things came to me in the very last part of the day. I'm happy to be under cover and safe in the night.
This is what it looked like as I found the sign to get to the shelter. Clouds rolling in with doubt as to where to go. My prayers were answered on so many levels. Thank you God!