Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 141. So long wonderful family, hello grueling Wildcat Mtn

Day 141. So long wonderful family, hello grueling Wildcat Mtn

Date: July 31, 2012

Day number: 141

Wake info: 0450h @ Will's Inn to blog

Start Mile Marker (MM) & Time of Day (TOD): 1864.8 mile @ 1230h at Pinkham Notch

Pain scale AM (1-10): 1

Happiness scale AM (1-10): 6 (sad to see family depart.h

Hunger scale AM (1-10): 2

Start weather: Warm, low 80s, windy, sunny. Fantastic, fantastic weather. A little warm, though.

End MM & TOD: 1871.0 mile @ 1828h at Carter Notch Hut

Approximate miles covered today:   6.5 miles

Pain scale PM (1-10): 3

Happiness scale PM (1-10): 5

Hunger scale PM (1-10): 2

End weather: Sunny, warm, 70s, breezy. A glorious weather day!

Resting time: 1:20

Where slept: dining room floor @ Carter Notch Hut

Bedtime: 2215h

Money spent: $0

Resupply: no

Trail conditions: Steep and rocky with lots of climbing! There were some flat spots too.

Issues with Equipment and Clothing:

  • None

Liters of water consumed: 6 Liters

Approx fuel burn time: 7 minutes

Approx. pack weight: 45 lbs

Number of river fords: 0

Number of paved road X-ings: 1

Number of road miles: 0

Number of named mountain summits: 5

Number of mountain summits: 3

Number of wrong turns: 0

Number of times I stubbed a toe: 4

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
  • The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow - from the musical, "Annie"
  • I Did it My Way - Frank Sinatra
  • Isn't She Lovely - Stevie Wonder
  • Hazy Shade of Winter - The Bangles

Happenings at home: The family is making a 9-hour drive home. They arrived safely.

Companions (Assume thru-hikers unless noted SH for Section Hiker or DH for Day Hiker): Archer, Josie, and Kathleen. Instigator & Expeditor taking a zero at the Lodge. A few SOBOs and a bunch of southbound section and day hikers. At the hut: Stilts (SOBO), Silver Surfer (SOBO), Haystack (NOBO).

Trail Magic: Kathleen made me a lunch to go.

Flora: Birch. Fir.

Fauna: Beautiful garter snake sunning on a rock. Red Squirrel.

Vistas: Several good ones, especially from Peak D.

Attractions: Carter Notch Hut!

State of body: My knees are sore and beginning to hurt on the descents.

State of mind: Sad to see the family drive away, but motivated to finish this trail!


  • This morning I asked Archer if he was OK with my being gone for so long. He said that he was fine and that it, "gave the summer a special uniqueness." I just love that boy! He always says just the thing to cheer me up!
  • Archer helped me pack my backpack and move some files around on my Droid while Kathleen and Josie went to the Post Office to mail my next resupply box to Rangely, ME and a post card to Josie's sixth grade teacher. I can't believe the kids are in the 6th and 8th grades!
  • It was sad once again to say goodbye to my family, but I was so happy and pleased that they drove all this way to see me! This goodbye was the easiest because in just a few weeks I'll be home for good!
  • The lodge at Pinkham Notch had setting wifi, but I couldn't get it to upload my last the blog posts. So I had to post without the images. Archer's haircut will have to be unveiled later.
  • The climb up to Wildcat Peak D was as step and difficult as the one out of Crawford Notch! It was a significant hand-over-fist climb with a few dicey portions that would nit be good for folks who were afraid of heights! I wasn't really in the mood to climb such a steep rock face, but looking back at the view of the Presidentials I felt proud for making it over them without much issue, which motivated me to push on today. My attitude brightened and I settled in for the long climb.
  • Near the top of Wildcat Peak D was a gondola that brought tourists 2,062 feet from the parking lot to the 4,062-foot summit where they took photos and then rode back to their cars. Knowing that I have a couple hundred miles of hard climbs like this ahead of me, I didn't feel superior to them; rather I envied them! I'd love to be carried up just one of these mountains!
  • From Peak D I called Nathan, a former student of mine who, along with three other former students of mine (Paul, Jake, and Ryan), wanted to hike with me before his college cranked up. But I didn't get the message until I was out of the Whites and by then it was too late for them. I was pleased that they wanted to make the tine and effort to share this experience with me.
  • I also phoned two of my colleagues (Tom H. and Michael E.) who also expressed a desire to meet up with me in Maine. I hope that we are able to make a connection!
  • After reaching Wildcat Peak D the Trail eased up. There were still difficult sections, but nothing to difficult or crazy. Even the descent to the hut was a relatively easy one!
  • I was looking forward to staying the night at Carter Notch Hut, for it was nestled in a lovely valley near two pretty ponds. However, there were only two guests at the hut and the croo there wouldn't let me stay because they didn't want thru-hikers to outnumber the guests. I thought this was ridiculous because they already allowed three thru-hikers to stay. Why not bend the rules a tiny bit more and let me stay? I told them I didn't need food, just a place to lay my head. I even said I'd stay away until lights out and would be gone before the guests awoke, but they wouldn't have it. What's really ludicrous is that they allowed me stay at the hut as long as I wanted. I'm not sure what the rule is supposed accomplish. I could stay while everyone was awake, but once everyone was asleep and unconscious my presence could no longer be tolerated. I've really had wonderful experiences with all the huts, so it's too bad that this one had to be my last experience.
  • So I cooked and blogged at the hut until dark, and was about to set up my hammock in a nearby stealth site. (I was bound and determined not to set up camp far away because the hut was the only water for five miles in any direction.) But just as I was leaving, Pat, one of the hut's croo, said that I could stay if I sweep the floor in the morning. Sweet! Now I have a good feeling about the hut system again!
  • I need to make a quick getaway in the morning if I'm going to make my rendezvous with Dad, Gy, and Douglas in a week. I gotta have a big-mile day tomorrow and for that I'll need a lot of hiking time!

Lessons learned/confirmed today:

  • Be positive. Stay positive.
  • Resist the urge to lash out at the croo if they don't let you stay. Be polite and don't act like you deserve a spot, and chances are you'll receive satisfaction.

Droid Phone Notes: I used the iSound charger to bring my phone's battery from 74% to 100% while I blogged. The illuminated blue LEDs went from four to three.



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  1. Hey Chris! A few weeks ago, I was leading a 3 week long hiking, rock climbing, and canoeing trip for high schoolers. The trip started near Lexington, VA, and the hiking portion of the trip was on the AT. When we stayed at Bryant Ridge Shelter, I found your entry in the log book. I think it was dated May 6. It was very exciting to find.

    Best of luck finishing the trail! You are awesome!

  2. Chris, my dad and i met you on the AT just north of madison hut. Can you give us the name of the company you used for bulk food for your trek.
    -thank you