Friday, July 31, 2009

My best day on the AT

18 July 2009

Today marks one month on trail and it turned out to be the best day so far.

Spent last night at the Osgood Tent site just down the trail from Franconia Notch. The morning started with a big climb in the clouds up the end of "The Presidential Range". The first big peak is Madison. There are many false peaks where it seems the top is just ahead, only to arrive
there to find another apparent peak yet to be climbed. During the long ascent the weather started to change and the occasional view flashed by. Streams of clouds whipped across the mountain tops.

Stopping at the Madison Hut for a break, several hikers ended up helping cook Maddie in return for some leftover baked goods. She gave us a note "these hikers are awesome" to use at the next hut.

Continuing onward, the skies cleared up and the views were spectacular - at least for a few minutes until the weather changed again!

The big climb of the day was to the top of Mt. Washington. It is a tourist attraction which can be reached by foot, car, or Cog Railway. The minority arrive by foot. Unusually, the summit was cloud-free and the views excellent!

From there, a short hike brings one to the "Lakes in the Clouds Hut", the largest and most popular of the huts. Four of us get a work-stay.

That evening as the sun set a large cloud descended first on the summit of Mt. Washington, then around the hut. Sunshine was reflecting off the valley below resulting in colored clouds outside the hut windows. Even the Croo were amazed. Soon those clouds moved away and the views
were excellent. There were 4 to 5 layers of clouds above, valley views below, and the setting sun reflecting everywhere. One of the Croo stood on a rock outside and played his fiddle as the sun descended. Many guests sat outside in the chilly wind to enjoy the experience.

And that, friends, was my best day on trail so far.

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