Thursday, August 28, 2014

More in the White's

Easing myself out of a Trail Angel's pick up, I thought nothing of the bad weather not forecasted.  Up out of the parking lot I rose to the ridge line above.  I pushed on under beautiful sky.  The trail at times requiring the use of my hands on the rocks to pull me up.  Other times I used the trekking poles to push or balance.

I made Lonesome Lake Hut past the hour to ask for work for stay.  I went in anyways and asked.  Two other thru-hikers already there meant a yes near impossible.  I got it.  I took a quick swim to wash off before coming back to the porch to wait for the call for us to eat and work.  WFS at the huts mean we get to eat left overs after thr paying guests finish, do some kind of chore, and sleep on the dinning room floor between lights out and the setting for breakfast.

The chore, inventory and clean the chest freezer.  The meal, pulled pork, the sleep, meh, I don't care to sleep on floors.  This night I did get a view of the galaxy above through the window.  To see the stars, wow.  I'd like to say I see them often, in reality, I seldom do for the trees.

In the morning, I waited until after breakfast before pushing on. The forecast changed over night from not a problem & enjoy the views to be ready for rain and winds on the ridges.  Today, the near the top winds pushed me around.  I chose to detour from my goal and bail out to Greenleaf Hut.  I got WFS of washing dishes.  There ended up being six they'd that evening. Very late, a young family comes in and the crew took care of them.  This family on a day hike realized they weren't going to get back to their car and detoured as well.  Kudos to the dad and the croo's for taking care of the family.

The wind whipped all night long.  A thick cloud blew on the mountain.  The mountain I needed to get back on top of.  I waited until the reading of the weather report and grabbed a little breakfast leftovers.  The day more wind in exposed areas, damp with high chance of rain later on.  I hiked a good portion of the day in rain gear while above tree line.  Below tree line, I wore a long sleeved shirt, shorts, and a scarf.

I made a tired decision and bailed to a campsite where I did WFS again with the emphasis, I won't stir the privy compost.  I picked up the little micro trash instead and talked with a host of weekenders. There are six tent platforms and a shelter that accommodates fourteen.  It's all full, tally is 36.

I write in pieces.  At this moment it is raining.  Tomorrow, I'm sure more of the same.  What's making the misery of the White's different from that of the Smokies is I'm dry.  My feet down south were wet for 5 days.  I've only had my feet wet once here due to muck.  I'm sure that could change but let's hope not.  More as I continue.

Aug 25,  as the week continued, the weather improved.  The sky I woke to on the next day, clear and bright.  I'd like to say I made fast miles however the ruggedness of the White's kept me slow.  I kept a pace that got me into the next notch in time to grab a bite to eat from a snack bar before they closed.  After the quick bite of daily leftovers, six hot dogs and two slices of pizza, I found a stealth site to camp.    Stealth camping is no trace camping amped up and typically done where not allowed.  In this case not a lot of options so I did.

In the morning I climbed up the trail of Webster's Cliffs, over to the next hut and then on to Lake of the Clouds.  Another WFS opportunity and an awesome sky of stars to see from the floor of the dining hall.

On August 25, the time came to hike over Mount Washington.  This mountain's weather is known for being the worst in the lower 48 and can change instantly from being great to below miserable.  I lucked out all day.  It was sunny and slightly cloudy.  The hike over to the next notch, harsh.  Think stair masters on broken glass except after getting on top of the mountain, all down hill.

Now there's a lot of details I am leaving out as this post is bordering on being lengthy.  As I lay again in the hammock, I think of the little stories the last week encapsulates.  Little things like asking for leftovers and leaving full.  Like asking how far the next land mark will take to reach and getting a snack.  About hiking with a family of thru-hikers and learning of the lifestyle they've chosen for this year.  Which story is my favorite?  It's hard to say, other then asking which do you want to hear.

Tomorrow, more up and up as I hit the Carter Ridge.  Soon the White's will come to a close.

I'm sitting in White Mountains Hostel, the White's officially behind me.  I did WFS at Carter Notch Hut.  Love the intimacy of the hut however the walls of the notch intimidating, steep beyond imagination.  Once going, it wasn't so bad, steps most of the way with sticky slabs in other areas, up 1500 feet gain Plus.  The ridge easy comparative, then the drop.  The drop, at times I looked over a few sloping areas to see 'oh my!'   Only to get halfway down and realize the drop was only half as bad, the next half added the punctuation mark.  Thankfully those parts were few.  I stayed at a shelter for the night before a quick drop into the hostel.

The White's took a lot out of me and gave me renewed sense if awe and wonder.  The rumors of the White's being brutal are true as well as understated.  My truth for the White's rugged awesomeness requiring huge amounts of humility.  One cannot hike the AT alone, even less the White's.  Don't try to keep up with people yet don't forget to enjoy them.  Remember to look behind you as it may prevent you from hiking the wrong way and you may get views not expected.

As I wrap this up, I've left out a lot of details. Stories and details that just can't be added due to time and space.

1 comment:

Chuck said...

Nice to have good weather on Mount Washington!