Day 73

The on and off rain last night woke me up several times. So did 3 headlamps and three male voices speaking in a foreign language. It was 2 am and it startled me. It seemed like they were arguing, maybe about which trail to take. There were several branching out from the visitors center. I held my breath and soon they moved on. That was a little scary. Luckily, I was able to get back to sleep. I woke about 7:30 and slowly made my way out of my tent. I looked out and noticed their was a sign that said no camping right above the tent site. Oh well. I packed the wet tent into my pack and walked down to the visitors center where I found turnip eating breakfast. We said a friendly hello and I went inside to see about the breakfast buffet. I loaded my plate with French toast, home fries, eggs and grapefruit. Tree Trunk was there and so I sat down to talk. Tree Trunk is from Australia and a principal at a school for indigenous children. He’s about to retire. I wanted to ask more but it was nearing 9 o’clock and we both needed to get hiking if we were going to make it to a suitable place to camp. I had one more grapefruit and I was off. Today I’m climbing the Wildcat Mountain range. Some say it has the hardest climbs up.

I step out at 9:30 with my phone charging in my pack. I cross the highway and pass a pond and then up we go. About 30 minutes in I get the feeling I may be on the wrong trail. I pull out my phone to check the map and I am indeed on the wrong trail. I turn around and go back down about half a mile.

I was moving slow today. The climbs are steep. Some just two sheets of rock with foot and hand holds to pull yourself up and over. Wooden blocks bolted into the rock helped a lot but there weren’t many of those. The views on the way up were stunning with Washington and the presidentials in the forefront. I passed by the ski lift on Wildcat Mountain about noon and kept going. A few hours later I stopped for lunch on an up hill. A young shirtless hiker barreled passed with American flat shorts and headband. I later learned his name was Hot Knife and was a part of the Warrior Expeditions, a group of veterans “walking off the war”. With another peak to climb and descent I reached the Cater Notch Hut about 4. Tree Trunk was just leaving and told me they couldn’t guarantee him a work for stay before 4. He thought the croo didn’t like him so he was walking on. I waited a few more minutes before going in to the hut and I saw Doc walking up. We both went in to ask for a work for stay and got it. Quest and Anchor were there too but as guests. They were day hiking the section. I sat around outside until after dinner when Doc and I could eat. We had kale and mushroom crepes with ginger carrot soup and corn bread. It was pretty dang good. Carter Notch Hut was all vegetarian. Croo member Amanda said AMC huts were planning on going all vegetarian in the future to reduce their carbon footprint.

After we ate, I scrubbed the bottom of a pot and Doc washed a few dishes. Not much work at all. This hut was much smaller than the previous ones. It was built in 1914 and only had 4 small tables. The bunks were in separate buildings behind the kitchen and dining hall. A group of siblings were playing Uno until about 8 o’clock. Of course, Doc made friends. At 9:30 Doc and I arranged the benches into two cots and we placed out sleeping mats on them. Doc and I went out to look at the stars. The Milky Way was visible. It was so dark. A few minutes later we went into to sleep.

1872.6 – 1878.5 (5.9)

Total: 762.5