Trail: Appalachian Trail, from Guyot Shelter to somewhere past Zealand Falls Hut, New Hampshire
Distance: 7.3 miles
Date Hiked: September 15, 2016
Today dawned clear and crisp, a perfect day for ups and downs in the White Mountains.
I basked in the sun for a few minutes this morning after I collected water from the spring at Guyot Shelter. I still wore ALL my clothes on after my brush with hypothermia last night. And even though we skipped dinner, I still had to force myself to eat my ration of breakfast.
I just wasn't hungry, even for my special Blueberry Coconut Cream freezer bag yum.
Mt. Guyot transformed from Mr. Hyde to Dr. Jekyll overnight. When we crossed yesterday it was all I could do to stay upright in the 70 mph winds. And the view was exactly what you’d expect from inside a cloud.
White. But not fluffy like you'd think.
Today, what we got instead was skies parting and angels singing.
Stick Boy under the Ladder
Not much climbing today. It was a day of steep descents.
Which meant anyone coming toward us was having a day of sweaty climbs.
At one point we got to a ladder where we had to find an alternate way down for Rico. Ralph and Rico wound up perched on the side of a pseudo-cliff and I was at the top of the ladder when an overweight twenty-something guy huffed and puffed up with an older, fitter guy.
I think the older guy was trying to get the younger guy interested in the great outdoors.
But it didn't appear to be working.
The young guy had a fancy pair of trekking poles which unfurled like tent poles, snapping into place in a second then folding up to the size of a box of Little Debbie's.
He stood at the bottom of the beefy White Mountain ladder, snapping and unsnapping his trekking poles a half dozen times, vacillating. Ralph held Rico on the side of the granite slab that was slick with rain and tilted down like a water park slide.
Fold up. Snap open. Fold up. Snap open. Fold up. Adjust waist band on pack. Snap open. Take a sip of water from the Camelback. On it went for several minutes.
Dude was totally oblivious to us, who were waiting less patiently by the second.
I gave up and moved down the ladder.
Which should have spurred him to action.
More folding and unfolding of the sticks ensued and the oblivious fellow earned his trail name: Stick Boy, even as his companion shot apologetic glances our way.
Finally he huffed up the ladder and out of sight, not once acknowledging or even noticing us.
Did Not Expect That
We hiked on to a real treat at Zealand Falls Hut. Cornbread!!
The croo (that's how they spell it here) had platters of cornbread for sale. Ralph surprised me with a serving, which tasted like heaven and was doubly special enjoyed next to the beautiful Zealand Falls.
I went back for three more pieces (one for Rico, too).
Then three more.
Hello, Hiker Hunger! I've been expecting you.
We finally pushed on down the mountain to the level Ethan Pond Trail where camp sites were in short supply.
We broke all the rules when we set up camp that night. We pitched the tent right on the trail which crossed a talus field, detritus from the Whitewall Mountain cliffs looming over our heads. It was too good to pass up, though, with views up and down the gorge and a night lit up by an almost-full moon.
I got up in the night and sat on the rocks and bathed in the light of the moon and the stillness of the wilderness. The only sound was the river rolling over stones way down in the gorge below.
Beautiful end to a beautiful day with views, laughs and cornbread. Oh my!