Up and at 'em and packed up before 8am. Papa Foot, Boss and I headed over to the general store for a few breakfast sandwiches which hit the spot. The forecast for the rest of the week looks amazing. We ran into Uncas again and the Canadian Geese (Carol and Richard), and Papa Foot gave everyone a ride to the trail. Thanks, Fred!
Soon, Boss and I took off to get started on the mountain. It was tough. LOTS of hand-over-hand stuff that made using poles almost impossible. I keep the pole straps on, though, so I can just let go of them at any moment. High steps and up up up. We took a break at the first lookout, and it was stunning. Uncas caught up, and we all sat there for a few minutes. It was really nice. Onwards up the mountain. More up and up, but the exceptional views continued until we were above treeline and the whole thing was exposed. White mountain national park in every direction! I loved it.
It was a gorgeous day. Bright sun. Cool (sometimes cold) breeze. Blue sky. Magical... Somewhere near the top of Webster mountain, we found a windless nook and had an early lunch. Then we walked the ridge over a few humps until we got to Mizpah hut for another lunch-ish break. Warm sun!! I laid my socks and shoes in the sun again to dry (avoiding ALL the puddles can be quite hard), and snacked inside with Boss and Uncas. I caught up with blogging a bit (sorry for the delays... very little cell service out here and no electricity at the huts to plug into...), then we filled up on water and were off.
A steep climb up to another peak and LOVELY ridge running for the rest of the afternoon. We hit a few peaks and got to skirt a few others (Eisenhower). We also walked along a part of the trail the was part of the original AT and is THE OLDEST marked trail in the country. Established in 1919 and still being traveled on!! Very neat.
Finally we got to the Lakes of the Clouds hut at 4:30 hoping to get a work-for-stay slot. Mount Washington was hovering overhead, waiting for us to climb her tomorrow. Only 1.5 miles to the top...
We asked the Lakes croo about the thru hiker situation, but they were full up. Darn. Our only option was to pay ten bucks to stay in "the dungeon" - an emergency refuge bunk room in the back of the building. We wouldn't have to do any work, but we wouldn't get any food either. We decided to stay there, and it's a bit grungy and cold, but it'll do. Uncas arrived sometime after we did and signed up for the same deal.
The three of us hung out, made dinner and eventually watched the beautiful sunset. Mount Washington is completely clear right now. We're all hoping it'll be clear tomorrow morning, too.
I love the Whites.
-- Posted from the trail...
Location:Lakes of the Clouds Hut