Wednesday, September 13, 2017 (Day 134)
I was tired. I did not begin my morning routine until after 8 am.
So very many people passed me. Where had they all come from? It seemed they were all in a group.
I began the climb. I stumbled upon a snake, and quickly noticed that he was eating a frog. I crouched down and watched for several minutes.
As I continued I was overjoyed, the mountains were enchanting!
Soon, the climb became a challenging rock scramble. I literally had to crawl up the mountain. It felt as though my knees and shins and thighs would bruise beneath the weight of my body and pack and gravity as I used them to shuffle and push my way up the stones and ledges.
I felt stronger and more capable with each climb.
I began chatting with one of the hikers that passed me that morning. Yes, the group was all together. And, yes, they were in fact the “Dirty Thirty”…though there were far fewer of them now. I had heard of the Dirty Thirty. They had a reputation of partying. The majority of them started the trail in February/March. This particular hiker seemed proud of their reputation.
I crossed the summit of Mt Jackson, and entered the Presidential Range.
It was absolutely incredible.
I stopped in at Mizpah Hut for water. This stretch of trail was very dry, and I was terribly dehydrated.
I then continued on to Mt Pierce.
The weather was amazing, the sky blue. Mountain after mountain came rolling in to view. It was pure bliss!
I stopped in at the Lakes of the Clouds hut.
It was late afternoon. The sun would set soon. I drank instant coffee and ate a vegan baked good and charged my headlamp. I would night hike over Mt Washington and sleep beneath the stars.
Climbing at night gives me the feeling of adventure, of excitement! I take a strange sort of pleasure in getting lost on a mountainside beneath a starlit night. The wind blew strongly as I found may way to the summit of the rock covered mountain.
I had gotten turned around once or twice. As I continued towards Mt Madison, I was thankful for the rock cairns that guided my way.
The wind blew stronger as the night grew deeper. I began to worry that I would not find a place to rest my head along the exposed rocky ridgeline.
A little over two miles north Mt Washington, I came to a small, flat clearing of dirt, free of any delicate foliage, and unaffected by the high winds.
I settled in the little spot, staring up at the luminous night sky with satisfaction. I looked to my east, a tiny yet vibrant orange moon peered through the clouds in the distance. I smile.
I look forward to the sunrise.