Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 138: Mount Washington

I woke up briefly at 5:27am when someone opened the door to the dungeon. It was all clouds. Couldn't see 10 feet! Then I noticed that there was someone sleeping on the floor. Odd. I went back to sleep until past 7am. Since we weren't doing work-for-stay or sleeping in the dining room, we got to sleep in. It was almost worth the ten bucks alone.

By the time I got up, Uncas had left, and the three guys who came in after 10pm were packing up. They got in late and one of them crashed on the floor. Boss and I made breakfast and made our way up the hill to Mount Washington around 9am. It was really warm, but the wind was very strong.

It was a nice boulder climb up to the peak of Washington that took about 45 minutes. Hello world! The day was sunny and almost cloudless. There were tons of tourists up there by way of the train or the auto road, but there were a few hikers as well. We took a few photos at the summit sign then looked around the museum at the Tip Top room. Next was the cafe. We each had a bowl of chili and cookies. Boss also had a hot dog and a Coke. We charged our phones (no good cell service - still!) and wrote a few post cards before eating more. I had a piece of pizza. Boss had two pieces of pizza, an ice cream sandwich and an orange soda. (I enjoy mentioning just how much food this guy eats.) On the way back to our packs, we got sandwiches for dinner and I got a hot chocolate. We spent a lot of money up there.

Right when we were about to leave, Deetz, Power Pack and Miles showed up. Yay friends!! We caught up with them and heard about their fantastic side trail excursion to the Bonds. I didn't expect them to catch us so quickly, but I was glad they did. I'll have to return to the Whites at some point to check out that side trail. It sounded phenomenal.

Boss and I said goodbye to "the family" then went to take a few more photos at the sign before beginning our descent. A few clouds had rolled in and were breezing right through us. It was cool and looked very dramatic. The wind was amazingly strong. Back at the visitor center, the weather report said the average wind speed was 33mph with gusts up to 69 mph. Those gusts are powerful! We were walking on rocks, trying the balance and predict the wind by leaning into it, but it was too difficult to maintain a constant balance. It was fun, but I got blown over a few times...

Luckily for us, the AT skirted around a few peaks. We didn't have to summit Jefferson, Monroe, or Eisenhower. There was still climbing, but it wasn't too bad. It was a stunning day, and we stopped a bunch to take photos. LOTS of rocks. It was like we were back in Pennsylvania.

Finally we made it to the Madison hut for a bowl of hot soup. It was delicious, and the croo was very cool. Thanks Tom! Buttons caught up and ate with us, and we soon pressed on the three miles to the Osgood tent site. We went up and over Madison mountain, which was fairly steep, but the wind on top was brutal! We were so lucky it was warm weather. I can't believe I didn't lose my visor (which was strapped on extra tight).

After the summit, on which it was hard to stand straight up, we began the steep, rocky descent. It took us two hours to go three miles. We had to be very careful, but it was worth it. Most of the rocks were quite bumpy and full of friction - good for footing, bad for falling on. It was tricky with the wind, but we managed without falling. (well, I unintentionally "sat down" at one point, but I don't think it counts as a fall...)

Down down down hill until the tent site. Finally! We were both ready to crash, and we did pretty quickly. Got water, ate dinner, bed. Tomorrow may include a shower!!!
(10.1mi 8st)

Location:Osgood Tentsite

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