Saturday, August 15, 2015

Day 135- The One With Franconia Ridge

Aug 14, 2015
Mt Liberty Stealthsite(1819.0) to Zeacliff Pond Stealthsite(1834.4) 15.4 Miles 

I've been looking forward to traversing Franconia Ridge since I started planning this trip, and it did not disappoint. We couldn't have asked for better weather. It was just cold enough that while we hiked we were comfortable. When we stopped to take a break it was a little chilly and we put on our puffy coats. The temperature really dropped last night, it was in the low 40's, but I stayed warm in my hammock. 

The climb up Mt. Lincoln wasn't too bad, we did most of the work yesterday. We only had to go up about 800', but it was pretty tough. 
More rock climbing

Franconia Ridge is the ridgeline that connects Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Lafayette. What makes it so special is that it is completely above treeline. From the ridge you can see all of the Presidential mountain range, you also get 360 degree views of all of White Mountain National Forest. It was amazing!!! 
Looking back to Mt. Liberty
Franconia Ridge
Iconic picture of Franconia Ridge
Adios and Outro help give the picture scale
Looking back Mt. Liberty is the high peak in the center of the frame
Looking forward: Mt Garfield is the small peak on the left, from there we will go across the mountains to the right. Mt. Washington is visable in the distance. Highest peak in the background. 

We stayed on top of Mt. Lafayette and celebrated how far we have come. We took turns taking pictures. When I got to the top I was surprised to see China Rock was there. I hadn't seen her for a few days. She used her Gopro to take an epic picture of the five of us. 
Outro, China Rock, Me(Yoda), South Paw, and Adios

Eventually it was time to head out. We still had three more mountains to climb. Climbing five mountains in the Whites was a very ambitious plan. 

The climb up Mt. Garfield was very steep, I gained 500' in less than a half a mile. Right before the top I slipped on a wet rock and fell down. HARD. I banged my knee and twisted it at the same time. This was the first time I have cried since I started the trail. I laid there for a few minutes trying to figure out how bad it was. I heard something pop, which reminded me of when I tore my ACL, so I assumed the worst. I had a deep gash below my kneecap, that was already beginning to swell. I made myself get up and start walking. I could put weight on it, but it still hurt really badly. I did the only thing I could think of, I continued heading north. I made it to the summit of Mt. Garfield and paused to take a few pictures, then I had a very steep, difficult hike down Mt. Garfield. 
View from Mt. Garfield

As I slowly made my way down the mountain my knee was killing me and I was still crying(just a little). A nice couple out for a day hike stopped to see if I needed any help. I tried to downplay how I was feeling, but they insisted that I stop and let them help me. The man carried a first aid kit and washed my wound and wrapped my knee in an ace bandage. They offered to take my pack and help me down the mountain. I thanked them for helping me, but explained I could get myself down. I couldn't let them carry my pack, that would be slack packing, right? 

It took me three hours to hike 3.1 miles to the Galehead Hut, where I was supposed to meet Adios, South Paw, and Outro for lunch. I didn't think they would wait for me and I was super surprised to find them there. As soon as I limped in, they were all concerned. They immediately jumped into action, discussing different plans to get me out of the woods and into a doctor. I quickly told them I was hiking on. By now I was pretty sure that it was nothing serious, just a bad bruise and a little cut. I ate my lunch and we hiked on. By now it was pretty late in the day, 4:00, and we still had six miles to go. I told them I wasn't sure I could make it into camp before dark and they should press on ahead of me. They wouldn't hear it. I felt bad about holding up the group, but they reassured me that it was ok. I had waited for them for 6 days, they didn't mind waiting for me for an hour. 

We all made it to camp, but it was almost dark. We quickly ate dinner and went to bed. I was so exhausted that I didn't even write my blog post, I didn't have cell service to post it anyway. 
Terrain walking down Mt. Garfield on a bum knee

I have been really fortunate for the last 1,834 miles to not have an injury. I woke up this morning with a bad bruise and a swollen knee, but other than that I'm doing ok. The terrain through the Whites is no joke. I can't believe how much I've had to slow down. I thought my mileage would drop throughout the a Whites because I'd be too tired to do more, but it's because you go so slow. As a group we are barely averaging 1.5 miles per hour, which is just crazy. 

We begin the Presidential mountain range in a few days and I'm hoping we will go a little faster through there. 

"A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable." - Billy Graham



  1. I worried a couple days ago when you fell. Now, I'm even more worried. I hope you are sure it's not something more serious. I'm glad there was someone there to help you get cleaned up. I'm some what disappointed that you guys are hiking at least two together through the rough parts. Don't worry about being slower on down hill, just stay safe.LY

  2. Hope the knee heals quick!! Great group of friends you have with you. I remember Adios(he went to culinary school here in Louisville) and Outro from Woods Hole Hostel. So thankful for all the real info in your blog!! It will help me and Skittles get thru the northern sections of trail when we are doing our section thru hike there. Happy Trails Yoda!!

  3. Yoda,
    I hope you find yourself healthy, rested, strong, and otherwise well.
    It was my pleasure to have hiked with you from Harper's Ferry to the nearly-sleeping-in-the-privy campsite (photo above). I was sorry that I felt 'post office hours' pressure to move on when we saw each other again in Duncannon, PA - especially after that 'big mileage day' you accomplished.
    I finished the Katahdin Summit last week and made it home in one piece, although not without spilling (or reluctantly donating) blood on the trail (head injury) about one mile into Kittatinny SP, NJ, and a broken left index finger with cuts falling while fording the first river in the 100 mile wilderness.
    I can only hope that you managed the trail without any major incident.
    A hardest and most gratifying adventure that we were lucky enough to share a part of - Thank You!
    Eternally humbled and grateful,


    "Do or do not, there is no try" ~Yoda

    Note: This is a re-post from the June entry where I saw our pictures.

    1. Glad to hear that you sumitted. I enjoyed hiking with you for a few days. Sorry to hear about your head injury and broken finger, but I'm glad it was nothing major. I finished on Sept. 15. Good luck in all your future endeavors.