Sunday, September 10, 2017 (Day 131)
Though early to bed, I was not so early to rise. I began to hear people pass. I burrowed deep within my sleeping bag. Then, heavy panting and rapid sniffing and hot breath surrounded my head. A dog had come to greet me. I stayed hidden. Finally, the loving little beast heeded its owners calls, and off he went. It was time to get going.
I packed up my things.
I took a break by the first little stream I came across. As I was sitting, trying to hydrate, boiling water for coffee, a hiker came by that I had not seen since New York. They stopped and we chatted. It felt good to see another familiar face.
We hiked together briefly, and took a short spur trail to take in the view from Mt Wolf.
I passed Harrington Pond, and in the early evening, began the climb up South Kinsman Mountain.
The ascent was challenging. There was hopping and crawling and climbing and scooting and root grabbing. It was terrifically enjoyable.
Reflexes of a cat.
By the time I reached the first peak it was dark and windy. There was a shallow descent, and another short climb up North Kinsman.
After that, the true descent began.
It was steep, with long, sheer faced, slanted slabs of stone. I moved slowly, sometimes stopping all together in search of the best way down. It is times like these that make me realize that hiking is a skill. I was thankful for my experience, and my ability to stay vertical.
By the time I was nearly to the bottom, I was exhausted. It seemed the descent was more mentally draining than anything. The amount of focus traversing the rocks and roots at a downward slope demanded, was quite taxing.
Shortly after passing the Kinsman Pond Shelter, I collected water from a stream and began to scan for a suitable place to sleep as I continued down the mountain. The descent became significantly less steep, and I found a space to the side of the trail where I could sleep comfortably.
I had only travelled around 11 miles. The reality of the difficulty of the White Mountains were sinking in. These mountains take time. I must get started earlier. There is no other option.