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Stuart "Tintin" Skinner
Begins: Mar 14, 2010
Date: Mon, Jul 26th, 2010
End: Ethan Pond campsite
Daily Distance: 50.6
Trip Distance: 1,787.1
Entry Visits: 343
Journal Visits: 10,510
Guestbook Views: 457
Guestbook Entrys: 8
Lincoln to Ethan Pond campsite
The Whites laid out it's welcome mat today letting us know exactly where we were and who was boss. We made a latish start after a Dunkin Donuts breakfast and a catchup with Castor and Scruggs. Darkstar is a little way behind so Castor decided to take a zero and wait for his buddy. We're all trying to coincide our summit dates to create quite the atmosphere. It didn't take too long to get a hitch, normally a tricky affair in tourist towns as Lincoln is. There was a slight problem though, the guy who gave us the lift told us he knew the trail well, yet he ended up dropping us off at the wrong trailhead.
There was a sign for the Franconia Ridge Trail which was a trail we had coming up. The trails existed before the Appalachian Trail, so they have different names and it can be a little confusing at times. We thought we were heading the right way, but we didn't come across any whiteblazes. I looked at the map and quickly realised that we were on the Falling Waters Trail instead of the Cascade Brook Trail. We thought about turning back and hitching back to the trailhead we'd left the day before (if those who gave me rides didn't know where the trailheads were then I'd be lost), but the heaven had opened and rain was beating off my map. It made no sense to go back other than for purist reasons. This trail would take a little of the day, but with the weather being what it was and the time of day, it would be pointless going back.
I believe that this all happened for a reason. The Falling Waters Trail has become my favourite section of the trip so far. I love water; I love the sound of it falling, running or crashing; I love being submerged in it, jumping in it, standing under it or splashing about in it. Water makes me happy. I also love mountains and the awesomeness of them. I can't comprehend the amount of force that created them nor fathom the period of time it took for them to be created. To hike up a mountain in the pouring rain along side a series of cascading waterfalls made me a very happy man. I was very much in my element in the elements.
Then we got to the top and quickly learned why the Whites have the reputation they do. The winds from the west nearly whipped us off out feet. The mist rolled up the mountain, over the ridge and off into the sky. We stood still and felt the full force the 30 knot winds, falling back when it would suddenly die down. We could only take small steps up the rocks as lingering too long on one foot was not wise when you really needed both feet planted on the floor. We may not have had the spectacular views, but it was exhilarating. It felt like we were in the heavens, amidst the clouds with the world far down below. The mist was so thick that we could only see twenty feet in front of us.
However, after two hours of this with no sign of the rain letting up, it became a tiresome affair. I kept telling myself to keep focused and stay safe. It would not take much for a nasty slip or fall. Slippery rocks are not something I care for too much! We eventually made it to Garfield Ridge Shelter and after only eight or so miles, we called it a day. I ended up going to bed at 8.30 pm. Something I have not done for as long as I could remember. It's tough going at the moment. I haven't felt as tired as I do now in quite a while and I'm certain that having Lyme Disease has something to do with that.
The hike out of Garfield was fun. The trail was effectively a waterfall as we walked down a steep series of rocks with water falling down. The weather had made a turn for the better and so we weren't being battered by strong winds or pouring rain. We stopped off at Galehead Hut and enjoyed the sunshine whilst hanging out with the 'croo' who work there. There were great views and I enjoyed the luxury of being able to sit back, relax and appreciate a good view. I was sorry to go, but move on we must and we set off for Ethan Pond campsite.
Long gone are 23 mile days. The hike from Garfield to Ethan Pond was just over 15 miles and it was a long 15 miles. This 13th of August deadline is starting to get to me a little. It's hard enough to make it as it is, let alone with an illness that is kicking my backside. I'd rather take my time at the moment so I'm not hiking to the point of exhaustion. It was another night of getting into camp, eating dinner and going straight to bed. I was so tired that I just wanted to be left alone and so set up my tent on another platform from the others and ate dinner on my own. I know I'll start making a recovery; I just hope it's soon. Even though it's going to be really tough going for the next few weeks, I want to finish with Megladon and I think I'd enjoy the summit more for doing so. I just hope we have enough time to enjoy Maine and all those beaches I've been hearing about in the 100 mile wilderness.
I'm really excited about hiking Mt Washington. I would say I hope the weather is good, but I hope it's not in many ways as it's notorious for it's bad weather. I'd feel robbed of an experience if it was a nice day. The plan is to hike to Lake of the Clouds Hut 1.4 miles short of the summit of Mt Washington and then get to the top in the morning and hang out for a while. That's the plan...
The Real Adventures Of Tintin
Thru hiking to Maine whilst raising awareness of mental health issues.
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