We met up in the parking lot after I said a groggy see-you-later to Scatters in the dark of the hotel room (miss you already, Scats!), and boss and I walked towards the bus stop 200 yards away. Then the bus rounded the bend. We ran in the street and flagged the driver down and continued to run to get on the bus which had [thankfully] pulled over - 50 yards past the bus stop. We made it, but I didn't think the sprinting would start so early.
Boss got breakfast at Dunkin Donuts and then we were off - out of Hanover by 7:30. Solid start to what would be a big day. Nice hiking in the cool morning. We walked by the Dartmouth sports field I played lacrosse on so many years ago... We took a few breaks when we caught up to Bird, who had camped in the woods [and claims to have been surrounded by barking cats last night...?]. Then a break atop Moose Mountain where we saw Tripper and Wizard. Red Hat and On The Loose were hiking along, and HD Mama was in the mix, too. She was slack-packing with her husband (Rick) as support. At one of the roads, we got trail magic sodas from them. Thanks!
Today was full of climbing, as you can tell from the elevation profile picture. QUITE a leg work-out. After hopping up and over the Hoits Ledge mountain, we had already gone over 18 miles. We wanted to get over Smarts Mountain though! We made a last stop to get a free ice cream from Bill, a super nice guy with a house 30 yards from the trail. We said hello, signed the register and enjoyed a fudge pop. Thanks, Bill!
Onwards to the mountain... So THIS is what real mountains are like! The first third was brutal. After so many miles already today, my legs were feeling it. I hardly stopped at all during the entire incline since I was scared it would be too hard to get going again. Boss was ahead, feeling kinda beat, too. There was a nice flat break in between two rigorous climbs, and the last mile and a half was really hard. My legs felt like jelly, but we made it up!!!
The view was incredible. Hello, New Hampshire!! We went up in the fire tower and took a few photos before deciding not to push on any further. It was 6:15pm. We both knew we could go a few more miles downhill, but the tent site was pretty sweet, and we didn't want to damage ourselves too much. Lots more to do.
HD Mama showed up, then On The Loose, then Bird. Boss made a fire and we all made dinner as the sun set. We had a nice, tranquil view over the valley. It'll be an early bed for all of us. All that climbing = very tired hikers.
-- Posted from the trail...
Location:Smarts Mountain Tentsite