The word of the day is “wet”, as that is the current state of – well, pretty much everything!
Breakfast was a buffet of tasty tasty food, and some day reassessment. The forecast for the day, you see, was for rain and possibly strong thunderstorms, particularly up on the high peaks. I studied my maps as I ate – the original two-day plan for this section was high peaks today, and lower-elevations tomorrow. Having no desire to experience a strong t-storm above treeline, I decided to switch it up by hiking southbound instead of northbound, and staying below tree line today instead.
Fortunately, the hostel I was staying at does a daily shuttle to Pinkham Notch from where the northern end of this segment crosses the road. And the shuttle is at 7:30 am, so they had no problem giving me a ride to where I needed to be – in fact, since the hostel is right there, I had a cup of coffee before walking down the driveway and hitting the trail.
The first 2.5 miles or so we’re a hiker’s dream. Trail sloping upwards so gradually you didn’t even realize it. A lovely walk in the woods next to the Rattle River. That it didn’t last of course was a given… This is New Hampshire, and the AT must always, always go UP. About the time the serious up started, so did the thunderstorm…
It didn’t last very long. The thunderstorm part of it. But long enough to make me uncertain if I wanted to get any higher up the mountain; I kept walking, but started scanning for stealth camping spots. Lots of steep rock steps, now wet and slippery. I was very careful. The rain continued though the storm moved on, and I kept hiking.
All in all, not one of my favorite days. But I did reach the Imp Shelter as planned, roughly eight miles in, so that is good. The caretaker kindly let me change into dry clothes in her large tent, and that instantly made me feel a lot better. Well, so did the hot rum and cocoa I fixed up for myself.
It is still raining as I type, so I can only hope the weather clears so that my wet clothes and the rocks dry out overnight. The shelter is draped with the wet clothes of four people- me, the two section hikers, and the Chinese thru-hiker from New York named Chickenfeet. He is 68 and hiking the AT – very cool! He snores. Very uncool.
Ah, tomorrow will be a better day. I plan to cover the Carters, then do work for stay at the Carter Notch Hut. I will finish on Sunday with the Wildcats, ride the gondola down, stay overnight at the hostel and do some resupply, then move on for Maine. Finally!
I hiccup on!