Day 122: The Northern Presidentials
Day 122, 8/28/23
Mt. Washington Summit to Pinkham Notch
13.5 miles, mile 1,878.8
I woke up at 5:30am today to get driving up to Pinkham Notch so we would have no chance of missing the shuttle back to where we left off yesterday at the summit of Mt. Washington. They only guarantee one shuttle from Pinkham to the summit and they will only send it if you call them right at 8:15am from Pinkham. We got there around 7:50am and right at 8:15am I called. We waited for about 35 minutes for the shuttle. The drive up the auto road is really cool and I got a hiking sticker in the gift shop at the summit. We saw some friends up there who slept in “the dungeon” at Lake of the Clouds hut last night. They said it smelled bad but other than that it was okay all things considered.
We started to hike around 9:20am and got to see the Cog coming up full of people. I made sure to give them a wave! It’s so neat to see it coming up the tracks. Then we continued down the trail, around the summit of Mt. Clay, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Adams. The sun was shining and we had some incredible views. We descended further down to Madison Hut, and could see the (very steep) trail up to Madison as we were coming down. I wanted to take a quick break and eat some snacks before continuing on. There were some people there with external frame packs with quite a lot of things in them. I felt bad for how heavy those must be!
The climb up Madison had me nice and winded, and there were two 75 year old ladies who were out for a day hike. They were nice to talk to. I felt like I was crawling coming down the other side of Madison. It was super steep and very rocky. All of today was rocky. Once we got below treeline the trail turned into a lovely granite slip and slide. The rocks down here do not have the exposure like the ones above treeline do to dry. I fell but my trekking pole helped me land softly. It definitely could have been worse! Then, Kevin fell shortly after when a root he stepped on broke right out from under him. He is also okay. The trail remained to be slippery, rocky, rooty, and full of streams all the way back to Pinkham Notch.
Yesterday felt shorter than 12.5 miles, and today felt much longer than 13.5 miles! I am a tad nervous for our long day tomorrow over the Wildcats, Carter’s, and Mt. Moriah. It will be the longest day we have hiked in a while, and the day with the most elevation of the trail so far (6,600 feet). I would rather do it in one big day and then take another zero than break it up over two and carry our gear and not take a zero. I’m a big fan of a day off!
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