Start Milepost: 1870.4 Time: 07:35
End Milepost: 1883.5 Time: 16:00
Miles hiked: 13.1
Miles to go: 306.3
Weather: sunny, windy, cool
Temps: 20’s°, 50’s°
Blue Side trails:
Map: Click on map pin
I owe a few remarks about the Presidential peaks of yesterday. When I got to the Lakes of the Clouds Hut the backdrop was Mount Washington. I knew little about it except for what Citadel Yankee relayed and what other hikers conveyed about its uniqueness. Washington is all rock at the top and the west side was the only portion of the Presidential Peaks that had slippery rocks. As the second highest peak on the AT, it matched all its reputation except for nasty weather and tourists. The weather was perfect and there were no tourists. I had reached its peak less than an hour after leaving the hut and twenty minutes before the site opened to the pubic.
Passing over it I continued on towards Mount Madison. I got to Madison’s base where I stopped for lunch at the aptly named Madison Hut. When I exited the hut after lunch there was a sign indicating Mt. Madison was .5-miles away. It took all of thirty minutes to climb its rock face. It was easy so I wondered where it had earned it’s tough reputation. I soon found out. The descent on the back side went on for a long, long time. Hours is probably accurate. I stepped from rock to rock to rock when I was not trying to scramble down super large rocks. Reputation earned and acknowledged.
The Presidentials are behind me for good!!
I scheduled an early wake up so I was not standing in line to use the WC. Then I had to recover my laundry that was not complete by lights out. Breakfast was served promptly at 06:30 and it was grand from a hiker perspective: a waffle, a waffle mixed with berries into a pudding of sorts, a banana, coffee and apple juice. It lasted well into the hike up the Wildcats. Those are a mean set of climbs associated with a ski slope of the same name.
Given the amount of rock climbing involved, I strapped my sticks to my pack and kept going just as I had done yesterday after crossing over Mount Washington. As the climb continued, two young women passed me: Sweat-pea (apt) and Ducky. I encountered them later when they took a break. Moments later I discovered that one hiking stick was no longer attached. One expletive later I hiked on with one stick while grousing to myself. How was I to explain the loss to Scamper?
The more I hiked the more grousing I did. At the Carter Hut I saw my solution; a pair of Leike sticks hung on the wall. I bought them.
Not true. About 45-minutes after losing it (the stick!) and while mumbling to self, Sweet-pea said, “I finally caught you. Are you missing something? And from her day pack she pulled my lost stick. She said a day hiker found it and asked her to bring it forward. (I don’t know how the found-stick was mine.) I cannot begin to describe my delight. The best thank you I could work out was to buy her a pastry from the Carter Hut where I did in fact see a pair of Leike for sale.
Sweet-pea and Ducky hiked on from the hut with the intent of completing the full 21-miles before dark. I caught up with them at 16:00 near the trail junction to my camp site. Both attempted to entice me to join them in the last 7 miles. I declined with a smile. I would lose sleep and might not even have a bunk at the hostel. Plus, I was wasted from the 14-miles already completed. I sure was impressed with their energy and ability.
I set up my tent on a platform and was asleep shortly after 18:30 and slept soundly until three other hikers (who had been with me in the shuttle this morning) arrived at 20:10 – exactly four hours after we all started together! The hiker who would share my tent platform kept me awake for thirty minutes with his activities in setting up a tent in the dark. – Reminiscent of the white lights at the Clouds Hut, although he was kind enough to apologize before he banged a few stakes in the platform cracks so his tent would stabilize.
And back to sleep I went to recover much needed sleep.