Sunday, August 21, 2016

Day 114: Mahoosuc

8/11: Carlo Col Shelter - Little Baldpate
Mile: 1907.7 - 1926.4 (19 miles)

My first night officially in a shelter is uneventful and I pack up as quietly as I can. There are other people stirring but I have the trail to myself. It's sunny but misty and all of the rock is slick and makes for slow going as I climb up to the goose peaks.

There's a ton of walking on boards and through a bog that I seem to move through like molasses. I think yesterday tired me out more than I thought.

It's a long steep descent down to Mahoosuc Notch and I'm excited but a little nervous, a description of the notch:

I collapse my poles and strap them to pack setting out unsure how fun this will really be.

Can I just say the notch turns out to be absolutely amazing. It's the most fun I've had in trail in I can't remember how long. I feel like I'm buzzing I'm having such a great time. The rocks weren't slick and it's this crazy jumble of bouldering and bouncing that I enjoy so much more than I expected. I would happily repeat the thing but instead it's time to head up Mahoosuc Arm. 1500 ft in a mile it's one of the steepest climbs on the whole AT.

The photo does it no justice. It's crazy steep, more boulder style climbing and straight up sheets of rock using tree roots as handholds. But it's fun and other than being semi exhausted I'm reenergized and having a fantastic day.

The trail heads down last Speck pond and then straight back up Speck Mountain. It's more insane steep and very exposed rock. I would very much not like this in the wet. Up and over its a knee jarring kind of afternoon. Making it all the way down to a parking lot at Grafton Notch I collapse on a rock, take full advantage of a trash can and stare into space for a bit. This hike is exhausting.

I start the climb up Baldpate Mountain it's steep and I'm tired but I've heard it has a ton of steep open rock face trail and with possible rain overnight I really want to get as much of it done as I can.

I make it up and over West Baldpate which is rocky and steep and tiring as expected but the big open dome of the East Peak looms as the sun sets. I scramble to the top in the gorgeous light and think about how much ice truly loved today. I eat blueberries and start the steep descent. It's wide open swathes of rock and it's quick with dry rock but I'm exhausted. When I find a perfect campsite at little Baldpate tucked right below treeline and 10 minutes before dark I can't pass it up. I'll finish the descent in the morning. For now I sit on the rock watching the clouds change colors loving life.

The expected clouds never roll in and instead I'm treated to the Perseid meteor shower, a trade off I'm pretty thrilled with.

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