Dead Presidents

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What a ridiculous day. I stealth camped just before Crawford
Notch knowing that rain was coming. Got rained on just before dark and found myself digging ditches to divert the flow of water from going under my tent. Woke up wet and unhappy but started off toward the Presidential range at around 7:30am. Crossed route 302 and started up an empty Mt. Webster. I had an 11 mile day on my mind up to Lake in the Clouds Hut but knew in the back of my mind that a hurricane was bearing down and above treeline 5000 feet up was no place to be. Made my way and paused first at Webster Cliffs which were a flat slab of rock with a matted down sandy platform overlooking a valley and a parallel mountain range shrouded in early morning clouds. I kept moving up and over these ridges and mountaintops which initially wound through pine trees to eventually give way to fully exposed 360 degree views. These views were amazing the whole day as Mount Washington towered over the entire days hike. I basically had the day to myself up there as I didn’t see my first person until just after noon.

I stopped in at Mitzpah Hut to get some leftover baked goods and spoke with the girl who worked there. She informed me that White Mountain National Park was going to be closed on Saturday at 6pm. Since it was such a nice and clear day I had entertained the idea of pushing on to soak in a large portion of the range but this information pushed me along. I rolled out of Mitzpah and climbed Pierce and Franklin with more ridiculous views of the range ahead. By this time Mt. Washington was completely out from under cloud cover so it was a spectacular site.

Got to Lake in the Clouds and ran into Radio and Strawberry who got a ride over a portion of the last stretch. I was at Lakes at around 3pm and picked up a few more baked goods. Climbed up the intensely rocky mountain surface up to the summit of Mt. Washington 1.6 miles up. Paused here and took in the surroundings with the tourist mobs.

Kept rolling along toward Madison Hut where the terrain turned into boulder hopping and the views turned into something out of Lord of the Rings where Mt. Adams towered over a deep, shadowy crevase as the retreating sun played shadow games with me the rest of the walk down to Madison Hut which I rolled into at 7:30 to find several hikers including an old friend Pancho already in place. I descended down and assumed that all the photo takers standing outside the hut were snapping shots of the sunset but came to find out that their lenses were pointed towards a moose grazing on the trees alongside the hut.

Our work for stay at Madison consisted of regalling the guests with our tales of the Appalachian Trail. Afterwards we got our fill of honey buns, brownies, breads, pumpkin-curry soup, pesto pasta, etc… As we closed out the night the sky produced such robust stars that you even saw what appeared to be star dust as every available inch of sky was crammed full of stars. Saw about a dozen stars to close our a day that will live on in my memories.

Damn those Beautiful Presidents

  • August 28th, 2011
  • Posted in Trips

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