Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Day 102: to the tower

7/30: Hanover fields - Smarts Mountain Fire Tower
Mile: 1747.7 - 1770.3

I walk back to the coop for breakfast and am chatting with a guy who works with the ATC.
He asks if I know his coworker and First Man walks in. I got to hike on and off with this guy for a good chunk of the CDT last year and I can't believe I get to catch up with him. It's a great start to my morning.

Don't be fooled by the pretty flatness, the day of course was mostly climbing. But there were some nice dirt roads and meadows sprinkled in.

But it's still so dry. This sign was pointing to water which would have been funny except it was just dry rocks.

Dropping down to marshes and then back again to head off to Moose Mountain and rock ledges with great views. There's a couple with water and hot dogs halfway through the day in a particularly hot dry stretch which was fantastic. I don't stay too long because I have my fire tower goal hovering in my mind and it's still a ways away.

The Ice Cream Man was a bit of a legend as far as trail Angels out here and I'm sad to have never met him. His family posted a small memorial on trail where people used to head to his house which was very sweet.

After reading I start the final climb. It's a long one, a few thousand feet and it's not quick.

It's very hard to see but there is a tiny dot on that ridge that is my goal for the night, that a fire tower up there. The climb takes a bit of a breather as I walk on the ridge with giant open rock ledges with great views. It's gorgeous and fun.

It starts to get really steep the last 1000 ft, looking back down at the trail you can see all the things they've built into the rock to help the hikers not fall.

The rocky steps may not look steep but they are just as bad as the stuff with the steps. I'm peeking through trees at the beginning of the sunset trying to race to the top. I manage to make it just in time. There's a small group of us huddled inside against the wind having a great time.

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