The wind didn’t stop all night and in the morning we woke a bit shell-shocked, yet rested.
I made coffee and ate breakfast in the kitchen area then packed up. Gormet had a big day and I wasn’t sure I would see her again…she was going to try and beat the storm over Mt Washington and I was going to wait for it to pass. I’m sad I might not see her again, but that is the way of the trail. The good news is that I hear Hero is only a day behind, so if I slow down maybe I’ll see him again!
And these are the days of trail life.
While I was snug in my sleeping bag I booked myself a bunk at Madison Springs Hut in a few days to avoid the storm (4g here!). It was a spendy thing to do, but if I paid to stay at the hut I could climb up to treeline before the storm, have shelter during the storm, enjoy a few hot meals, and then continue on to Mt Washington already having climbed up above treeline when the weather cleared. It was a decadent thing to do, but as I’m in my last month of vacation, decided to splurge.
We are hiking over the Carter Range today, and there are multiple peaks over 4,000′. Fortunately most of the climbing is behind us, so we only have the short steeps (by short I still mean 1,000′).
But there was some nice walking today, and even though the climbs did get a little Maineish, the morning was quite enjoyable.
The sun was out too. And I basked in the rays after the cold and windy day yesterday. Contrasts are needed to feel the full appreciation of a thing.
I did see Gormet again at a climb and snack break, but then she motored on and I slowed down. I don’t want to get to camp too early, but the effect of slowing down makes the miles go slower, and it starts to feel hard to make progress…my feet in molasses.
But then I come to Carter Hut, my first hut! I remember this place from 2002. We all went swimming here. We did a lot of swimming back then.
I walk into hut hoping for soup and find that they have free leftovers out from breakfast! I eat two plates of pancakes and eggs and no longer have room for soup. I hope most of the huts are like this.
I push my way through the rest of the thick, slow afternoon, but have small glimmers: chatting with Freebird, a 2018 thru-hiker who lives near by and yearns to thru-hike again; seeing Anna, a sobo hiker who is hiking this section in reverse to spend another night in Gorham, she too is slowing down for the weather, so it sounds like I will see her again; and snacking at a fabulous view back to where I came today even with a perspective of the hut below.
I find a little spot I can tuck myself into on the descent from Wildcat Mountain, and I definitely remember this beast. Very steep and exposed slabs of rock tower over the busy Pinkham Notch and road that passes through. I’ll be there tomorrow morning and the goal is an all you can eat breakfast in the lodge. With all this extra food maybe I can do the Whites without an official resupply. That would be nice.