Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 135. A sunny but windy day along Franconia Ridge and up Garfield

Day 135. A sunny but windy day along Franconia Ridge and up Garfield

Date: July 25, 2012

Day number: 135

Wake info: 0801h @ Liberty Spring Campsite

Start Mile Marker (MM) & Time of Day (TOD): 1813.8 mile @ 0948h at Liberty Spring Campsite

Pain scale AM (1-10): 1

Happiness scale AM (1-10): 8

Hunger scale AM (1-10): 2

Start weather: Partly cloudy, very windy with strong gusts, cold, upper 40s.

End MM & TOD: 1824.1 mile @ 1814h at Galehead Hut

Approximate miles covered today: 10.6 miles

Pain scale PM (1-10): 2

Happiness scale PM (1-10): 9

Hunger scale PM (1-10): 2

End weather: Mostly sunny, cool, low 60s, breezy, great hiking weather.

Resting time: 1:15

Where slept: floor of dining room @ Galehead Hut

Bedtime: In bed at 2200h to journal. Asleep by 0015h.

Money spent: $0

Resupply: no

Trail conditions: Rocky and slow. A lot of boulder hopping and rock scrambling. Many portions were steep. Today was hard on the knees. For 0.2 miles after the Garfield Ridge Campsite the AT and a stream were one. This was a steep, rocky, and obviously wet part that had to be taken very carefully.

Issues with Equipment and Clothing:

  • I'm running low of fuel for my stove. I forgot to fill it when I was in Lincoln and I hope I have enough to last me until I meet the family.

Liters of water consumed: 8 Liters

Approx fuel burn time: 13 minutes

Approx. pack weight: 41 lbs

Number of river fords: 0

Number of paved road X-ings: 0

Number of road miles: 0

Number of named mountain summits: 4 (Little Haystack, Lincoln, Lafayette, Garfield)

Number of mountain summits: 4

Number of wrong turns: 0

Number of times I stubbed a toe: 2

Number of times I've fallen: 0

Number of bugs swallowed: 0

Number and location of showers: 0

Songs playing in my head:

  • Billionaire - Kayne West
  • Emotional Rescue - Rolling Stones

Happenings at home: Unknown.

Companions (Assume thru-hikers unless noted SH for Section Hiker or DH for Day Hiker): All Smiles, Blues, Wiffleball, Hawk, Gumpy & Peeper. (Thinking they were ahead of me, I was surprised to see them getting water at Liberty Spring. They took a zero in Lincoln last night.) Kite Runner (the only SOBO I saw today. Flint & Philly Steve. Hambone. Indiana. P Squared (haven't seen him in a while). The two guys from Israel who stayed at Liberty Spring last night. A ton of day hikers!

Trail Magic: Being able to sleep on the floor of Galehead Hut despite not having work for stay. The croo did give us a huge amount of leftover cake!

Flora: Spruce and balsam fir.

Fauna: None

Vistas: Oh, my! Vistas nearly the entire day! For two miles all along Franconia Ridge there was nothing but views! When I hit the ridge I was socked in a thick cloud bank, but soon the sun came through and the views were breathtaking and expansive. Also on Mt Garfield the view was spectacular, but there was no ridge walk.

Attractions: Franconia Ridge!

State of body: I'm feeling great! Tired each night but nothing hurts except for my callus along the outside of my right heel. I commented to Blues Clues that I've never been so stiff and yet so simultaneously flexible in my life.

State of mind: I'm feeling heat mentally, too! Today's hike was a difficult but beautiful one, filled with great views and wonderful people. It was nice to hike in and among friendly thru-hikers all day!


  • The wind howled all night long, but I was cozy and warm in my hammock with my winter sleeping bag and I slept like a log. I guess I needed the rest for I slept until 8:00!
  • Although it was cold this morning, it definitely did not drop below freezing last night.
  • The winds along Franconia Ridge and especially on top of Mt Lafayette were amazing! A scientific research team was there and measured the sustained gusts to be between 60 and 75 knots! I had to walk while leaning sideways into the wind to keep from being blown over. I was nearly toppled over a number of times - it was AWESOME! A challenge, but great fun ad well!
  • I was lucky that I got off to a late start thus morning. If I had left on time, Franconia Ridge would have been socked in the entire time I was on it. Luckily, it was cloudy for only part of my day and beautiful for the rest.
  • There were so many day hikers out enjoying the views on Franconia Ridge. This surprised me seeing how it was a Wednesday.
  • The family has definitely got to make this difficult but rewarding hike with me one day!
  • The flat-looking portion of trail between Mt Garfield and Galehead Hut isn't flat, but rather had many small ups and downs.
  • I particularly enjoyed hiking and talking with Blues up and down Mt Garfield. Wiffleball, Blues, and I came down the path/stream together after Garfield Ridge Shelter and we were laughing at the absurdity of such a steep, wet hike. Wiffleball joked that he wished we could cover ourselves in bubble wrap and just bounce down the mountain. Earlier today I commented that I fantasized about designing a hiker airbag system like the ones used by NASA to get the Martian rovers to the planet's surface.
  • There were ten thru-hikers at the hut tonight and only three of them were granted work-for-stay, which included a free meal. The rest of us were allowed to stay the night on the dining room floor, but super was not included. So we cooked our meals outside on the rocks, while the paying guests ate the delicious-smelling food. Afterward, however, the croo had heaping amounts of leftover cake that we made quick work of!
  • Tomorrow's hike starts of with a tough climb, but it should be easy after that. The weather may make it more of a challenge, however. Yesterday the forecast was calling for good weather for the remainder of the well, but the word we are getting now is that rain, thunderstorms, and cold temperatures are predicted for the next two days. There is a lot of exposed ridgeline hiking over the next couple of days, which can't (shouldn't) be done in bad weather. Not in the Whites at any rate! So a lot of us with deadlines are growing anxious knowing we can't afford the luxury of waiting out the storm. So we are examining other options that involve bad weather routes.

Lessons learned/confirmed today:

  • I knew my miles were going to decrease in the Whites, but I didn't appreciate how much my hiking speed was going to be affected. A 3.0 mph day is a long gone memory. A 2.5 mph pace is a distant memory. Even a 2.0 mph pace is unheard of. I dream of a 1.5 mph pace but 1.3 mph has been my average hiking speed the last few days. Everyone seems shocked by how long it takes us to go even shirt distances.

Droid Phone Notes: The PEG's LED was still green and had not gone to blinking. I charged the phone using the iSound charger to bring my phone from 10% to 100%. The iSound started with 3 of 4 blue LEDs illuminated and finished with 3 illuminated! The phone was asleep for part of the charge and I journaled during some of the charging time.


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1 comment:

  1. Stats glad to see you are healthy and happy. I am sure the visit from your Dad and brothers makes all the difference in the world to you're mental hike.
    I will be following you to your finish, good luck