Day 66

I woke up groggy and tired but excited to start the day. It was going to be amazing. Last September I drove up to the south side of Moosilauke for a day hike to the top. My friend Melanie/Peanut had talked about the impossible descent on the north side of the mountain. I would get to experience it today but climbing up the steep side as I walked south back to the hostel. I joined Ten Four, One Step, Jack, and Sir Stops A Lot in the common room for breakfast. Jack asked me, “Are you research?” and I said, “Yes, I was trying to change my trail name to something more fun.” Jack said, “I like research better.” We were in the van with Bag of Tricks at the wheel by 7:30. We were at Kinsman Notch by 8 and saw a mass of middle school hikers with day packs. This was the location where I met Melanie/Peanut for my first backpacking trip in August of 2016. I started off at a power walk to get some distance in front of the kids but soon I needed to take my wind pants off since I was overheating. They passed me shortly and we leap frogged each other all the way up to the shelter where I took a break with Ten Four, One Step, and Jack. The climb was steep, no doubt averaging a 1000 feet per mile grade. Wooden blocks had been bolted to boulders to help traverse the mountain side. The trail followed a water fall straight up to about 3000 feet.

Once we reached the alpine zone, the trail flattened out to a nice ridge walk. It was chilly up here and the wind was blowing hard above the trees. Soon we walked out of the trees onto the bald summit. Winds were blowing 25-30 mph and clouds were swooshing to and fro allowing for some views of the valley below. We couldn’t stand to stay more than 20 minutes. We began our 5.5 mile descent downward at about noon. It was gradual until we hit the treeline again. We carefully navigated down a cascade of boulders for 3000 feet. One wrong step in these parts means a broken something and a trip home. At the bottom of the mountain we were greeted with a flat dirt trail for the last 2 miles, plus a wide stream crossing. I also reached my 700 mile mark.

It was 3:30 before we reached the hostel and I headed for my carton of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I was planning on taking another bad weather rest day tomorrow and Lucy agreed to drive up and fetch me to help me save on hostel costs and to have the comfort of a home-like space. She arrived 30 minutes after I returned and I quickly packed up my things and said goodbye to my new friends. I’m sure I’d see them again.

Miles: 1802.6 – 1793.1 (9.5)

Total: 702.2