Back at the trail head, we thanked Tyler once again for all his generosity, told him to give a hug to Renee, then waved goodbye to my car for a month. (I'll pick it up soon after I'm done with the whole thing. Renee and Tyler offered to watch it for me. Nice, right?!) Back to hiking!
It hurt. We started climbing out of Kinsmen Notch, and my heart was beating like crazy. I got a little lightheaded trying to keep my old pace, but Boss seemed to be fine going uphill. Ugh. I was worried about being so slow after five days off when we're trying to catch up with Scatters and Rorshach and the rest of the gang!
It took a while to get up to the ridge, but I was much better once I was up there. It started to sprinkle, and after a lunch break at the Eliza Brook shelter, it started to rain. It was cold. We were wet. Our climb up to the first Kinsman summit was along a picturesque waterfall that would've been awesome on a hot day. But it was probably 60 degrees. Once we finally made it to the top, the wind was blowing the rain was sideways, and the view was a wall of fog. We paused for 30 seconds to feel hardcore, then we continued on, back under tree cover.
It continued to rain up and over the south Kinsman peak, then we began the steep descent. Parts of the trail were like a river. Mud. Puddles - some very deep. Slippery rocks. Of all the steep mountains I've climbed during this hike, many times I have said "thank goodness it's not raining for this hill." This descent probably would've been in the top five. We both slipped a bunch of times, I jabbed my shoulder into a tree branch, and Boss took a good fall. Luckily, we made it down to the Lonesome Lake Hut without any serious injuries. My foot, by the way, was feeling pretty good despite the gravity-assisted self mutilation. I realize now that the cut must've been kinda deep since it's about half an inch wide. It stayed dry-ish under a bandaid and athletic tape, and it didn't hurt as much as I expected it to... once I got going.
So we rolled up into the hut (our first hut!) and asked about work-for-stay. It was about 4pm, and we didn't really want to stop for the day, but everything was soaked to the core, and we were both frigid. Jess (one of the croo) said we could stay and do a few things after dinner and breakfast, so we said we would. There were two large family groups hanging out and three croo members (Jess, Ali, Phil). Boss and I changed into dry clothes and hung around until dinner time. It had stopped raining finally. So we went down to the small lake and watched the fog roll in and out. It was beautiful and very serene, and a few ducks swam by.
Soon it was our turn to eat leftovers, so we saddled up and ate ham, mashed potatoes, peas, salad, bread (Boss REALLY liked the bread), and delicious potato soup. Thru hikers are allowed to sleep on the tables in the main room of the huts if there is room for us and eat any leftovers. It's a great deal, and this is the first time taking advantage of it.
While we ate, a few of the kids entertained us by dancing (it was like tv), and then we cleaned up a few shelf sets and under a sink with bleach. It wasn't too much work, but Boss and I were super tired. We were up too early this morning! After clean up and chatting, it was lights out at 9:30. We hung all our wet stuff in hopes that it'll dry by morning. Looking forward to much better weather for the next week. I don't want to climb all these mountains and not get great views!
(Boss REALLY liked the bread.)
-- Posted from the trail...
Location:Lonesome Lake Hut