Thursday, August 2, 2012

Day 142. An unemotional goodbye to the Whites in weird weather

Day 142. An unemotional goodbye to the Whites in weird weather

Date: August 1, 2012

Day number: 142

Wake info: 0528h @ Carter Notch Hut

Start Mile Marker (MM) & Time of Day (TOD): 1871.0 mile @ 0710h at Carter Notch Hut

Pain scale AM (1-10): 2

Happiness scale AM (1-10): 8

Hunger scale AM (1-10): 2

Start weather: Pleasant, 60s, clear, calm, gorgeous!

End MM & TOD: 1884.0 mile @ 1818h at Rattle River Shelter

Approximate miles covered today: 13.2 miles

Pain scale PM (1-10): 3

Happiness scale PM (1-10): 8 (not bad for being soaking wet!)

Hunger scale PM (1-10): 5

End weather: Pleasant, 70s, clear, calm, gorgeous! The problem was in between the gorgeous bookends there was four hours of constant and heavy rain.

Resting time: 2:20

Where slept: hammock @ Rattle River Shelter

Bedtime: In the hammock @ 2055h to journal. Asleep by 2315h.

Money spent: $0

Resupply: no

Trail conditions:

Issues with Equipment and Clothing:

  • My eyeglasses fog up in the rain.

Liters of water consumed: 8 Liters

Approx fuel burn time: 15 minutes

Approx. pack weight: 43 lbs

Number of river fords: 1

Number of paved road X-ings: 0

Number of road miles: 0

Number of named mountain summits: 5

Number of mountain summits: 4

Number of wrong turns: 0

Number of times I stubbed a toe: 4

Number of times I've fallen: 2 (Just a couple of slips and falls. I'm amazed I didn't fall more often! I had many close calls for falls that could have ended badly!)

Number of bugs swallowed: 0

Number and location of showers: 0

Songs playing in my head:

  • Coming Up - Paul McCartney & Wings
  • 1812 Overture - Tchaikovsky
  • Summon the Heros (Olympics theme song) - John Williams
  • Toxic - Britney Spears

Happenings at home: Kathleen mailed my driver's license, insurance card, credit/debit card, and cash to my next resupply location. (I left my Ziploc wallet in the pants Kathleen brought me a couple if days ago.) Josie is practicing her cooking skills, getting ready for her competition thus weekend. (She made a bleu cheese hamburger that was so good it "put Archer in a comma."

Companions (Assume thru-hikers unless noted SH for Section Hiker or DH for Day Hiker): Haystack, Silver Surfer (SOBO), Stilts (SOBO). Fetch (Tipsy is off for a few days recovering from a bad sunshine-induced reaction to giardia medicine.) A bunch of southbound day hikers. A group of nice, but inexperienced high school campers at the shelter.

Trail Magic: None.

Flora: Frasier firs as far as the eye can see. Hardwoods on the north side of Moriah Mtn. Maples. Birch.

Fauna: Red squirrels. A precocious and brazen mouse. A precocious and brazen chipmunk at the shelter. Frogs.

Vistas: Lots. Carter Dome was very nice. South Carter Mtn. Middle Carter Mtn. North Carter Mtn (but by then I was socked in.)

Attractions: Rattle River is nice and clean with a good swimming hole by the shelter.

State of body: My knees are beaten up and sore. Both knees are swollen and tight, because of the hard miles on the rocks and perhaps I haven't been dining enough water. During the last few miles of today's hike, my right big toe felt like a hot spot was developing, but when I inspected my feet they looked fine.

State of mind: Trying hard to stay positive in wet clothes. I actually had a good day despite the rain and falling short on my mileage goal.


  • I ate cold oatmeal, packed up, and then did my chores for the hut: taking out the dead mice caught in last night's traps and sweeping the dining room floor. Silver Surfer and Stilts asked me some questions about the Whites and the hut system, and then I hit the Trail, ready for a long, tough day. At least the weather looks good!
  • This is an important day; if I can do a big-mile day, I gave a chance of making the rendezvous with Dad.
  • The climb up Carter's Dome wasn't bad and I made surprisingly good time. The top looked like a moonscape - if you ignored the trees to the side and the black flies, that is. And the view from there was a nice one. The day remains exquisite and the temperature is cool and great for hiking! I'm hoping the rest of the day follows suit.
  • In studying my topo map I saw that descent on the blue blazed trail to Zeta Pass was much less steep than the AT and I highly recommend it.
  • Zeta Pass was a lovely place with a bench to eat my second breakfast. However, there was a precocious mouse that would try everything to steal my food.
  • The Trail between Zeta Pass and Imp Campsite was a nice traverse with the exception of the steep, slow, and rocky descent from North Carter Mtn.
  • It rained for four hours, greatly slowing my progress. I didn't make the big-mile day I had hoped to. I need to start thinking about other options for Dad's visit.
  • I thought I'd go into Gorham, stay at the inexpensive Hikers Paradise hostel, dry out, do laundry, and get done much needed rest. But as I was heading down a side trail to town, I thought to check to make sure I had my money. I'm not sure what promoted me to look, but I'm glad I did, fir my cash, ID, issuance card, and credit card were all gone! In a panic I called Kathleen to check my pockets of the pants I wore while I was with them thus past weekend. Luckily they were all there in my little Ziploc bag! She tried to locate a Western Union in Gorham to wire some money but couldn't find one. So no hostel for me, but at least my money is located. Kathleen put it in the mail to be delivered at the same place that my next box is. It is going to be tricky picking it up without ID, however!
  • My new boots are soaking wet. Fortunately, when I arrived at the shelter there was a large group of high school campers who had built a fire that I used to dry my socks and attempt to dry out my boots and liners. I was go grateful that I didn't mind not having a spot in the shelter.
  • The last two miles of the Trail today were unbelievably fantastic! Soft, smooth, wide, with a slight downhill grade. And it paralled streams and the playful Rattle River! I thought I was dreaming! I was able to go full speed again! My legs didn't know what to make of it!
  • I was sad to have to pump water through my filter again four I was spoiled with the huts' ready water supply!
  • I couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to journal. I'm beat. Even a 14-mile day in the Whites is hard!

Lessons learned/confirmed today:

  • Keep handy a Ziploc baggie with a sliding zipper to store your camera/phone in case of rain. Even in my pants pocket the baggie had kept my phone dry in numerous storms. If nervous, double-bag it.
  • When at camp after a day in the rain, wear your wet clothes as long as possible so your body heat dries them.

My thoughts on the White Mountains:

  • I was thrilled to see the Myakka Mules as I was slacking SOBO in the Whites, but I'm not sure I can catch then before Katahdin. They are four days ahead.
  • The Whites are definitely the most difficult part of the Trail so far, but once on the ridges they are not bad - and the views are so spectacular they really recharge your batteries! The hard part - and they are hard - were the number of long, slow, steep, rocky, and often scary climbs and descents to the ridge, especially at these notches: Kinsman, Carter, and Pinkham. Very difficult in the rain or when wet. Zowie!
  • Mt Washington is a tourist zoo with views that I thought weren't so great. Franconia Ridge, on the other hand, was spectacular!
  • Generally a number of thru-hikers can stay at the huts, but only a couple can get work-for-stay, which includes dinner and breakfast for less than an hour of work (sweeping, washing dishes, cleaning, defrosting refrigerators, lecturing/talking to the guests). Be as polite to the croo as possible and offer to do any type of work. If there is a campground nearby, you may be turned away once they have their requisite workers. Show up at 4:00 to get work. If you arrive after 6:00 they work will probably be gone. You can also work at the campsites in lieu of paying the $8 fee.
  • The food at the huts is usually delicious, but you'll need to add sugar to the oatmeal! You can always buy food during the day fir a few bucks. There is great potable water at each hut. If you need a break, do it at a hut!
  • Cell phone reception is spotty but calls and texts can be made. Excellent reception from Mizpah and Carter. Carter had good data, too. Mt Washington had power, but terrible reception.
  • The cons of staying at the hut are these: you don't get a lot of sleep because you don't get into bed until 9:30 or 10:00, and you have to wake up early (around 5:15) and quickly pack up. If you got work and want to eat breakfast, you won't Getty on the Trail until 8:15 or 8:30 because you have to eat after the guests.

Droid Phone Notes: I am charging my phone with my iSound charger as journal in my hammock. The phone went from 60% to 100%. The iSound began and ended with three illuminated LEDs.


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1 comment:

  1. Congratulations for getting through New Hampshire. Not as bad as you feared, was it?