Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Day 138- I Walk The Line

Aug 16, 2015 
Lake of the Clouds Hut(1855.0) to Pinkham Notch(1869.8) 14.8 Miles

4:30 am came really early this morning. I did not get much sleep, due to the hard wood floors of the hut and the steady stream of paying guests filing in and out of the bathroom all night. We were up and out of the hut by 4:55. I haven't used my headlamp this entire trip, so I sent it home last week, doh! I used the flashlight feature on my cell phone until the sky lightened up enough to see where I was going. Mt. Washington was 1.3 miles uphill from the hut. It has the most unpredictable weather in America. Up until 1996 it held the record for the highest wind speed ever recorded, 231 mph. This mountain is no joke. People die all of the time. I've heard stories of people hiking up in warm weather and by the time they summit it is snowing. Luckily for us, it was supposed to be a clear day. 
Warning sign on the hike up

The hike up was pretty uneventful. It was pretty rocky, but rocks usually aren't that hard to handle when I'm hiking uphill. Mt. Washington is the second highest point on the AT(6,288'), only Clingman's Dome in the Smokies is higher. As usual, everyone else made it to the top before me. It was so foggy at the summit, that it took me a minute to find them. It was also very cold, the wind was gusting close to 30 mph. I dropped my pack and immediately began putting clothes on. 
Third hardest climb on the AT(although most of the climb was yesterday for us) 

We enjoyed watching the sunrise in between clouds that were blowing past. 
Sunrise over Mt. Washington
Fiddler, Me, and Adios
Up in the clouds

We stayed up there for a few hours. Usually the summit is packed with tourists. There is a train and a road to the summit, but we had the place to ourselves. We found a spot out of the wind and charged our phones and I made coffee for everyone. One of my favorite mornings on the trail. 
Hiker trash
Obligatory summit photo

On the way off Washington

Outro has been carrying around a Star Wars kite since Pennsylvania, she was finally able to fly it. 

Just before all of the tourists began to file in, we headed out. It is hiker tradition to moon the cog train as it goes by, we restrained ourselves, but just because if you get caught you get fined and put on a list that includes registered sex offenders. 
Cog train

The rest of the day was difficult, to put it mildly. For the next eleven miles my feet rarely touched dirt. I hiked up rocks, down rocks, and across rocks. Going down was the worst. I felt like one slip and I could very badly be injured. 
Beautiful but treacherous

There's not much to say about the rest of the hike. I walked over and around, Washington, Clay, Jefferson, and Madison. Mt. Washington and Mt. Madison were the only two that I summited. The rocks were miserable and really tore up our feet. Being above treeline all day was fun, but we were very exposed. I think we all got sunburnt to some degree, except me. I'm a Florida girl, my burns turn tan within a few hours. 
I started the morning on the highest peak to the left and walked the ridge to the right

We stopped for lunch at Madison Spring Hut. We were all so tired we didn't even ask for leftovers. We ate from our food bags and headed back out. It was already 1:30 and we had a very difficult 7.8 miles to hike. We would lose over 3,200' of elevation. Did I mention that it was over rocks?

I carefully picked my way down and managed not to fall. I was very pleased with myself and I was just starting to get my confidence back. I have fallen everyday since I've gotten into the Whites and these kind of rocks are my kryptonite. I successfully made it back below treeline, the rocks didn't disappear, but they became more manageable. It took me over two hours to go 1.6 miles. 

The rest of the hike was steep and my knees were very angry by that point. I think today was the hardest day of my life both physically and mentally. I resembled the walking dead and I still had a few more miles to go. I took a quick snickers break and tried to pump myself up for the last four miles. I was jamming out to my music and walking fast, when I had to cross a small stream with slick rocks. I wasn't thinking about where I stepped and I fell...d$@n it. 

I quickly picked myself up and trudged on. I finally made it to Pinkham Notch at 6:30, my longest hiking day yet, 13.5 hours. We were all tired, hurting, and beat down so we called a hiker hostel/cult to come pick us up. The Twelve Tribes are wonderful, very nice people. They are called a cult by the hiker community, but it is mainly in jest. They have several communities throughout the US. The locations that are close to the trail open their doors to hikers. They feed and clothe us, and they don't ask for anything in return. I was very glad to sleep in a bed and get a hot shower. I've never felt so beat up after a day of hiking, but the Presidential Range was well worth the blood, sweat, and tears. 

"Some of my best teachers have been unkind people who have helped me feel the pain that can be caused by thoughtless words and actions. They have helped me see that part of me that can also be unkind" - Dalai Lama

If you are interested in reading more blogs check out South Paw's, sailthetrail.wordpress.com
Or Outro's; brisko.weebly.com


  1. What a gorgeous sunrise picture! Stunning! The others very nice too!
    So sorry today was so tough - thankful you weren't hurt worse though on that fall. Keep your head and spirits UP! Viya con dios Yoda!

  2. I'm so glad part is over. I followed blogs ahead of you and saw how dangerous it could be. Coming off Mt. Washington made me freak out and I was very worried about you and height. Glad you called when you got cell. That sunrise was amazing! I'm sure it will be chosen for trail Instagram. That's funny with Outro flying kite. I'm glad it wasn't skydiving. Look forward to pictures from The Wildcats. Pick up your feet!! LY

  3. Yoda you are amazing!! And don't let any AT rocks tell you different. The pictures take my breath away.

  4. Stunning. So glad you had good weather.

  5. I really love the sunrise picture. And I am sorry to read about the horrible day with the hut people the day before. No wonder you were exhausted after a night like that followed by this day. Take care.
    Groetjes, Anja

  6. Wow - to have Mt. Washington all to yourselves for a few hours! Love the Star Wars kite, too.

  7. OMG that sunrise picture! Glad the weather cooperated. Those rocks are awful. Rest up at the hostel and hope you iced that knee.
    And again a pox on those mean hut people!

  8. So many beautiful pictures though out your hike. You will cherish them as you look back on them for sure. The Whites are so beautiful. To have Mt Washington all to your selves... Good Deal!! I think you leading the stats in falls and bear sightings on the AT ;) Keep up the good work Yoda, You must be having some emotions starting to boil up as you realize your so close to your quest.

  9. Lucky you got a ride and spot at the hostel. Nothing like a hot shower after a rough day like that! Those pictures of the rocks look like something out of the Lord of the Rings. At least you aren't hiking to Mt. Doom! Hang in there and watch where you're going. ๐Ÿ˜†

  10. Beautiful photos!! Glad you roughed through it. You will look back one day and have such an amazing story to tell! Up in those clouds is much better than down in society anyways! Keep on truckin ��

  11. 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 (photos from June). 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 have shared 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 on the same page - spent time and errors catching up to the this latest entry.

  12. Its Thursday night August 20...I'm having Yoda withdrawals...hoping you are well and enjoying those tough Whites.