Day 136 – Mr Blue Sky
It was a toss-y turn-y night. Perhaps my worst hostel sleep so far. I’m not sure if it was the shitty mattress, or if I was just anxious about the first mountain in the whites, but I did not sleep well.
I was up before 7AM and most my things were ready to go. I got a few small resupply items from the hostel and drank a Mountain Dew and packed one out for the road (my coffee, protein, and oatmeal drink was also had, man cannot live on Mountain Dew alone).
Before leaving, I listened to Toto play guitar for a few minutes. He’s really good and he showed me a video of him playing a guitar solo behind his head at a concert. I don’t think I’ll ever reach that level of cool.
Feeling fully caffeinated I was ready to go. On my way back to trail I snagged a couple crab apples from a tree just off the road. Sunshade and I crossed paths as he was headed to the hostel before going up to Mt Moosilauke.
The climb started gradually for the first few miles. It got progressively more and more steep but my body felt good and energized. The battle scene I was listening to in the 5th Red Rising book, ‘Dark Age,’ didn’t hurt my motivation either. The last 0.5 mile was a near 20% grade. I made it up the 5 miles to the south peak in a little under 3 hours.
I hung out on the south peak of Mt Moosilauke for close to 30 minutes. The views were spectacular and was not nearly as socked in by clouds as the main peak of Moosilauke. I eventually made my way to the main peak. Along the way I ran into Toto who was slackpacking in the opposite direction wearing a sombrero from the hostel (he’s not in Kansas anymore).
I arrived at the main peak with no views to speak of. The light grey clouds were ripping over the windy peak and people had stopped to hunker there behind stone rock walls to eat; I kept going. Less than a half mile passed the peak, the skies opened up. I sat down and watched the clouds roll off into the distance. Mountains as far as the eye could see, and clouds flowing quickly over nearby ridges, all juxtaposed against a pale blue sky. These are the views that make the green tunnel of the AT worth it.
The hike down the backside of Moosilauke was precarious. It was closer to a 30% grade and all the rocks on the backside were wet. Going down was slow and methodical and seemed to stretch on forever. There was a waterfall that paralleled the descent that was nice to look at when you weren’t trying to avoid a fall and certain bodily harm. Sunshade cruised passed me on the way down with much less concern.
The bottom of Moosilauke marked the halfway point for the day. What was left was a fairly standard up and down for 8 more miles. It was mostly uneventful but there were some large boulder scrambles to get up and over and more mud after the previous evenings rain.
I was losing daylight quick and had 3 miles left by the time I got to the last peak of the day at 6:30PM. More mud and rock scrambles slowed my descent and by 7:45 it was headlamp time. I hiked the last mile in the dark with my headlamp to Eliza Brook Shelter. I ran into Corndog there and took the last spot available next to him at the shelter.
By the end of the day I had done 17 miles and over 6000ft in elevation gain. Tomorrow should be a little easier. I plan to summit North and South Kinsman which is not as tall as Moosilauke and should be less elevation gain due to starting higher up. My feet and knees made themselves noticed today, however they held up well considering the significant elevation changes and long miles. Let’s see if that continues tomorrow.
At present I’m 82.6% complete with the Appalachian Trail.
Stow away in my pack for day 137 on the Appalachian Trail
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