Oh Mt. Washington.....
So. After our amazing morning to the summit of Mt Washington, and after spending way too long at the snack bar, we got ourselves together and started the rest of the hike. The top of Mt Washington experiences some of the worst weather in the US, and though it was a gorgeous day, we still needed jackets, coats and gloves for the first part of the descent. Kind of funny to walk past the shivering tourists in shorts and flip flops in our winter hats.
So down the hill we start... the path follows the cog railroad tracks for a bit but we resisted the urge to moon them. The view of the rest of the range laid out in front of us looked incredible....Mt Clay, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Madison. We knew it was going be a day of ridge walking and hoped it would as amazing as the Franconian Ridge.
The day turned out a little differently....ridgewalking we were, but on a never ending boulder field. One that we literally had to move cairn by cairn (rock piles to mark the trail) or else you'd have no idea where the trail was. At first it was fun (for me anyway). But after miles and miles of it, your body is exhausted and feels like you've done twice the distance. But you havent. In fact, you come to a sign that informs you that you've done a mere 3.4 miles and you cant help but yell "are you kidding me???????" because that surely must be a typo. They must have meant 7 miles. Right? No. They didnt. Oh, the views are still epic, but you start to care less, since you almost fall every other step and the wind is attempting to throw you off the ridge. In fact, we had a horrible realization....
This was PA! IN DISGUISE! Definitely the same terrain, only this was with a view. Blah.
Finally get to Madison Spring Hut - beautiful new hut. Couldnt wait to get there to rest, eat and most importantly, pee. Except there was a camp or something, of 14 year old girls, and they had taken over the entire bathroom and stalls to wash their hair and sponge/wipe showers(!! Are you kidding me?). My mood was, at this point, at risk of boiling over to the point of meltdown.
Onward we go...we were attempting to make it to Pinkham Notch, another 7 or 8 miles away. We trudge on to Madison and the rocks and ridge are as hard as we've seen. The top is just ridiculous. Steep, narrow, sharp boulders, and windy. Its getting harder to appreciate the view (ha).
We finally make it below the treeline and the terrain gets steep. Still rocky, still going downhill, and it continues, for what feels like, forever.
And then i fell. Was thinking to myself as i made my way down the hill, literally seconds before, that i was probably due for a head-first fall, since all of my falls had been minor, butt first ones. Awesome. Misplaced my feet stepping down and around a tree and just lost my balance, while leaning forward, on a rocky hill. As i saw rocks heading my way mid fall i thought "huh. Thats ironic", all the while yelling a series of "F********CK" s. Luckily, i fell, or managed to turn, on my side and my bag took the brunt of it, with my tricep taking a bit too. Heard adam racing up the hill before i could remember to yell "im ok!". Pretty amazed i was.
Somehow though, falling broke my bad mood and i joked (this is amazingly cheesy) that i got "rockpunched" and that finally a rock punched back....hhhhhaaaaa.
Anyway, it wasnt long before we got to Osgood campsite, where we decided to call it quits for the night. Pinkham notch would have to wait till the next day.
Made pretty good time to the notch the next day and then headed up Wildcat, the last big mountains of the Whites on the AT. Rough climb but fun. If you like rock climbing and backpacking, and want to combine the two, i recommend climbing Wildcat :)
Camped that night at a great stealth site by crawford notch, and managed to score some amazing leftover soup (we have no shame asking for leftovers) from our last hut - Crawford Notch Hut. Got up super early the next day - our eye was on the prize....White Mountain hostel in Gorham. Had been hearing since Hanover about how amazing it was and we were determined to get there in time for dinner, 16 miles away. Made it by 4 pm, and now we've been here 2 (amazing) days.
And now Team Not-Getting-To-Maine (self named, on a double zero) is almost to Maine. Only 15 miles from the milestone....after tomorrow, we'll have to change the name to Team-How-The-Hell-Did-They-Make-It-To-Maine....
Ps. Come to the Whites at some point in your life. Madison wasnt that fun but damn this area is gorgeous.