Day 136 (Mile 1858.1 – 1873.2):

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Looks like I’ll be working with no notes today, though I remember taking notes, even some well thought out ones about the book I had been reading at the time, “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.  Maybe that was my imagination.  I remember writing down or at least having a better understanding the value Alcoholics Anonymous provides for creating habits.  It’s crazy how photos can bring back so much of my memory.  I distinctly for example remember as I had been hiking past Mt. Jefferson, how dull “The Power of Habit” read, constantly having to refocus.  I bet if I re-read the book, it would have the opposite effect.  I’d remember where I had been on trail at the time.

I woke up to the sun and the wind.  It was a little chilly, but as always, getting up and moving is always the best way to heat up (One of the reason’s I don’t linger in the morning when backpacking).  The shadows and the sun peaking through at low elevations were beautiful.  I can almost remember the warmth of the rays and the brisk cold of the shadows.20170829_080839

As before, the Appalachian trail skipped several more summits along the trail, this time Mt. Clay, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Adams. 20170829_081851

Stopped in for a bit at the next hut, Madison Spring Hut to see what they were serving, as well as fill up on water.  If I remember correctly, I was low, as you would expect for this stretch like this above tree line.  20170829_10365920170829_105750

After the hut, the trail pretty much jumps 600 feet in less than half a mile, as you can see in the photo above.  That wasn’t even the hard part.  The trail as you can see in the next photo of the summit photo of Mt. Madison shows the next 1+ mile as rock scrambles similar to Pennsylvania’s stretches, but in an area where if you fell, you wouldn’t be able to grab the branches as you fell, so each there had been a tremendous amount of effort into foot placement.  Usually there is, every step counts, but I had been so drained towards the end of my hike with foot placement that I had in a innocuous environment bumped my hit pretty hard against a stump.

Mt. Madison Summit

As you can see from Mt. Madison, you can pretty much see where I woke up and to the left, where I’m heading.  Here is a better picture of where I am coming from rock scramble wise.  As a south bounder the various rock levels would be called false summits…I wonder what it would be called in my situation going down, for it was a similar sensation. 🤔20170829_124259

Reached tree line! 20170829_135606

Very shortly after bumping my knee into that stump, I ran into Speedy again.  I was quite surprised he didn’t hear my cussing from behind him.  Last time I had seen Speedy was Day 123.

Speedy had been much more animated this time around.  He had been telling me that these were the trails he grew up hiking on, that he couldn’t wait to get to the Whites.  Speedy is from Peru, Maine, which happens to be quite close to the Whites.

There is a 3D-map model of the White Mountains in Pinkham Notch Visitor’s Center.  A representative there was telling us about the trails and their hardest ones.  Then Speedy said, hmm now I am thinking that I should have not taken previous dates up that route for first time hiking.  I just laughed.  We were idling to eat at the buffet dinner there.  The food was plentiful, but okay.  Nothing amazing and the prices were high so I don’t recommend this stop for future hikers.  From there, we talked about splitting a room in the next town Gorham, NH.  I agreed, but I had no way to communicate, we set up a meet up location for Rattle River Shelter, which was quite the feat at Mile 1891.8.  Speedy had convinced me it was doable, and I was game.  We left late from the Visitor’s Center, sorta kinda walking in the dark until where we camped together on the edge of Lost Pond.

Side Notes:

  • I don’t have any flattering photos of Speedy, so for his sake, I’m not going to post them.
  • I don’t know if I mentioned this earlier, but Speedy doesn’t listen to music or anything else on trail. He is already an impressive dude, but that had impressed me the most.

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