Trail Notes – July 21 – 23

Oh, people.

It feels good to lie down. It has been a very hikeful few days, but the cell phone reception has been terrible. Also, somehow I cracked the screen on the phone, but it still works. Maybe I can get it repaired.

So, let’s see what my notes and memory can come up with…

July 21:

I bounced out of Tigger’s Tree House bright and early, about 7 am. I was planning a long, 17 mile day; I was five miles behind schedule and needed to make them up.

Moose Mountain was first, and not very difficult. No moose to be seen, but it did have two peaks, a north and south peak. Such bifurcated mountains, I quickly found, are common in the White Mountains.

So I came down off Moose Mountain onto Goose Pond Road, where I decided to take a break on a handy rock, have a snack, and drink water. Aaaaaaaand just as I was standing up and putting my pack back on, up rolls a car, parking in the tiny lot next to my rock.

“Would you like a Coke?”

Five minutes later, I was occupying one of three lawn chairs next to a cooler full of soda, chatting with trail angel Chuck, and enjoying a Coke! Five minutes later and I would have completely missed some great trail magic. I ended up staying about 45 minutes, but reluctantly had to move on. There was a lot of distance yet to cover.

So… Let’s talk about Smarts Mountain, because it was the first taste of what the Whites truly have to offer. There was an 800 foot climb, then a bit of level, then a 500 foot climb, then a bit of level, then another 800 foot climb, then a bit of level, and a cabin that served as the shelter. But these climbs were not the steady dirt and rock paths Vermont offered in the last three days. These were boulder scrambles, and stretches of white granite bedrock. These were “throw the poles up, and use your hands alone”. These were FUN! The only problems were a) late in the day, and I was getting tired, and b) no water sources for about 4 miles before the summit, and about 4 miles after, so I had to be very careful rationing water – and it was still hot. I finally made it to the second summit where the cabin was about 7:45; no water for cooking and daylight was waning. I quickly ate a dry supper, set up my gear, and crawled into the sleeping bag. There were some people tenting, a father and daughter who were hammocked, but I had the large cabin to myself. Very nice!

July 22:

Late start; I was lazy. I hit the trail about 8 am. Still rationing water; it was a long 4 mile downhill to the nearest spring. Compared with the path up though, the path down was a piece of cake. Steep, but dirt and rocks, not boulders. I made great time, and was feeling good about finishing the 10 mile planned day quickly.

And then came Mt. Cube.

While not as high as Smarts Mountain, it was similar… I think it had even more white granite “whalebacks”. But tackling it in the middle of the day, with enough water, I had a lot more energy. Still, it ate up a lot of time; really loved it though!

Coming down was not as much fun. I was relieved to reach the road. Originally, I planned to stay at the Mt. Cube Sugar Farm, about 2 miles up the road, but there was a notice posted at the trailhead that Toni and Jerry were willing to put up hikers, including dinner and breakfast, for a donation… and they were only a quarter mile up the road. So… It was off to their house!

They were lovely people, a retired farmer/maple sugarer and his wife. There were three hikers staying, including me, and they fed us each a sandwich when we got there, followed later by crackers & cheese, clam chowder, and fruit cocktail.

Lost the network again, and a lot of what I typed, will do another entry in the morning to bring this up to date. Apologies!

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