One more big climb to go….well, that’s what they say. I remember tons of climbs throughout the whole AT, but this should be the last technical, full-body, dangerous scramble. Us sobos actually get the better end of the deal on Moosilauke. We have to climb up a steep, wet, waterfall area filled with slick wooden steps bolted to the rock. It’s sketchy going up, but terrifying going down. I specifically remember this descent 20 years ago 😬
We woke up after a full night of rain, but had a bit of dry sky for the packing up, which was nice. The climb started right away.
We took one step at a time, and when the rain really started to fall it barely phased us, we were already soaked through with sweat. Last night has been the warmest night yet of the trip. If possible the air has been getting warmer and holding more moisture…the rain was a welcome relief and helped cool us down.
The steepest stuff was over by the time we made it to the next shelter…still over 2 miles from the summit. We found numerous hikers waiting out the rain, if fact we hadn’t seen one hiker on the trail yet that morning! Both nobos and sobos were not eager for Moosilauke, but we took solace in the fact that this was the last one…the nobos looked nervous, and they should be! They were entering THE WHITES.
We knew there would be no views today, but it was still sad when we reached the top and only had views to the next cairn.
At the summit sign we lined up with some other hikers to take photos in the wind. It’s so interesting how the tides have turned. Now that I’ve reached this point, the nobos look to the sobos with trepidation, “How bad is it?” they implore, just as us sobos watched the nobos in Maine fly through the terrain with a triumphant and haughty air.
NEMO and I flow down the mountain, the going gets real nice for a while: obstacle-free trail in a short pine forest, lovely! And then it gets steep again, just not like the other side of the mountain steep.
The rest of the afternoon brought walking that was nice and easy, and we even passed a field filled with milkweed and Monarch butterfly caterpillars.
We pulled into the Hikers Welcome Hostel (just off the trail) to find a well-organized system. Food and drinks were in the fridge, forms were on the table to fill out how much of what you took, and what you owed the caretaker. We drank sodas and hung out for a while in the shaded back yard. Other hikers milled about…this was a popular slackpacking base, and hikers arrived after their pack-free hikes (slackpack: someone drops you off and picks you up at the end of the day…road to road day hikes with a bed at night.)
Back on the road. Literally.
We had a short two miles to reach a lake where there is supposed to be a nice camp, and there is!
We swim and are serenaded by a chatty Kingfisher (Marina!).
What will tomorrow bring?