Saturday, August 15, 2015

Day 134- Done With The Hiking

Aug 13, 2015 
Eliza Brook Shelter(1807.3) to Stealth Site(1819.0) 11.7 Miles

Today did not start off very well. I had one of my lowest days on trail, but I also had one of my best days. We were all up early this morning. We ate breakfast, got packed up quickly, and were on the trail by 7:00. The morning started off with a sketchy stream crossing, but somehow I managed to keep my feet dry. It was a short lived success though. About a mile down the trail we had to walk through ankle deep water, there was no option to go around it. Oh, man was that water cold. My feet remained cold and wet all day long. The trail leading up Kinsman mountain was no picnic either. At points it was more of a stream than a trail. Not to mention that the forecasted partly sunny day never materialized. I hiked in a cloud with rain off and on all morning. To make matters even worse,, the climb up was more mountain climbing than hiking. I gained 2,000' of elevation over two and a half miles by putting my hiking poles away and scrambling up sheer rock faces. 
Easy part of the climb
Two miles of this

By the time I reached the first summit I was cold, wet and cranky. South Kinsman was supposed to be a fantastic view, but I couldn't see anything. 
Not exactly the epic view I had hoped for

I didn't even bother checking out the view from North Kinsman. The only cool thing I saw from Kinsman mountain was a rock cairn/chair. 
Dual purpose rock cairn

The climb down Kinsman was treacherous to say the least. It took me two hours to go two miles. 
Slippery steep boulders
Slippery log ladders
Wooden steps that stopped halfway down the rock (Outro sitting down to safely make it down)

Waterfall across the trail 

By the time I made it to the hut at Lonsome Lake, I was in a very foul mood. Outro, Adios, and South Paw were already inside enjoying a nice hot bowl of soup and free leftovers. One of the nice thing about the AMC huts is that if you show up at the right time you get free leftovers or you can buy a bowl of soup for two dollars, refills are only one dollar. I wasn't in the mood to eat, so I just had a cup of coffee. 
Lonesome Lake Hut
First view of the day, Lonesome Lake

After my hot cup of coffee I was feeling a little better. We didn't linger at the hut for long. It had taken us over four hours to go less than six miles. We still had another six to go. The descent from a Lonesome Lake wasn't too bad. We made really good time and my mood was improving. I managed to stay with the group and I think that helped me emotionally. I didn't feel like I was the only one struggling through the day. 

After crossing underneath, I-93, we had to climb up Mt. Liberty. It was a tough climb, but at least it was hiking, not rock climbing. We went up for 2.6 miles and gained almost 2,000' of elevation. By the end of the climb, we were all exhausted. The AMC manages a camping area just before the summit, but they charge eight dollars to camp there. We didn't feel like paying eight dollars just to camp, so we pressed on. Camping in the Whites is very difficult. You really only have a few options; you can pay eight dollars to stay at a campsite or shelter, you can stay at a hut for free if you can get a work for stay spot(difficult to get), you can pay $125 to stay at a hut(no chance of that), or you can find a stealth spot(also difficult). I have a list of stealth spots that I got from a previous thru-hiker. We used that list to find our spot tonight. 

We made camp at 4:30 and had plenty of time to get our camp chores done before sunset. Since we are camped .2 miles from the Mt. Liberty summit, after dinner we went to the top. We weren't very hopeful that we would see anything, but just as we got to the top, the clouds cleared and the sun came out. 
Mt. Liberty 
Presidential range of White Mountain National Forest
 Mt. Lafayette in the background
Me, South Paw, Outro, and Adios
Watching the sunset
Sunset over Kinsman Mountain

Today I felt the lowest of lows, and the highest of highs. The weather tomorrow should be nice and we have some epic views ahead of us. Our mileage has dramatically decreased, but we are still having fun and enjoying ourselves. It helps that I'm hiking with three amazing people, who love to laugh. 

"One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks."
— Jack Penn


  1. Highs & lows for you & the trail. That rainbow & sunset made me smile. Hi to the crew. So happy you are with them.

  2. Beautiful views at the end of the day to soothe your weary soul. So so glad you have friends to journey with through this long last, difficult section. Hang in there.

  3. Again, great pictures. I especially like the carin chair. I can see why you had to put away hiking poles! I can only imagine how hard this part of hike is, but remember to keep a positive attitude on a job well done. You ROCK. LY

  4. When I saw the rainbow I said oooooooh! Bet it was nicer in person. Good to see y'all still smiling.

  5. So glad your day ended on such a positive note with beautiful views and hope for better day tomorrow - press on Yoda, you're amazing and you are going to finish well I'm sure! I love your positive attitude!

  6. Today's title gave my heart a jump.."done with hiking" ???
    NOoooooooooooo!!! !!! !!!
    Thank goodness you were not telling us anything more than the day had some very low points!
    The chair and the rainbow were awesome, but not as great/beautiful as the smiling faces of the crew.

  7. I thought a bit more about your blog title for today. I wondered if you meant that your day was more about climbing than it was about actual hiking.

    1. You get the gold star. I was trying to highlight that I felt more like I was rock climbing than hiking.

  8. I was happy to read this entry. As it was published later than usual I was beginning to worry about your knees. But they seem to be ok or you would not have been able to to what you did today. Love the pictures.
    Groetjes, Anja

  9. How great was that sunset?! I've walked this part of trail. The wooden bit at Lonesome Lake in you photo is exactly where my daughter had the tantrum to end all tantrums. Such wonderful memories......take care of your knee.

  10. Wow that rainbow photo is amazing. I can not wait to read your blogs post hike. I am sure once you settle in the wisdom you have gained will make wonderful reads.