Today was a big day for us, as we finished the Northern Presidential range of the White Mountains.
Another night of heavy rain; another morning waking to a wet tent and damp sleeping bag. Before it rained again, I quickly packed up and stuffed my wet tent in its waterproof bag then checked on Tandem, Jukebox, and Bacon Dog. The guys were still packing up their hammocks, and Tandem had gone inside to the hut.
Jeremy, the Caretaker of the Nauman campsite by the Mizpah Spring hut, waived our $8 per hiker fee for the four of us if we did work in the morning around the camp. I asked him what to do, and he said to police the campsite for trash.
I checked around and under every tent platform in the camp and along the trails and found about twenty pieces of trash, which I put in a tortilla shell bag I’d found, zipped it up, and gave Jeremy. He said that covered the work for stay for all four of us.
There were low clouds over us and all the mountains around us, keeping everything wet. I joined the other eight NOBO through hikers in the hut’s warm library upstairs to wait for the guests to finish breakfast. Once they were done, we were invited down to eat. There was egg casserole, fresh oatmeal, bacon, and homemade doughnuts, and we finished it all.
We departed the hut in small groups for the long climb up Mount Washington, which included Mt. Pierce, Webster Cliffs, Mt. Eisenhower, Mt. Franklin, and Mt. Monroe. We arrived at the Lakes of the Clouds hut around noon and enjoyed their coffee and hot chocolate. This hut is very popular due to being only 1.3 miles from the top of Mt. Washington. They were fixing the chimney while we were there, but there is no fireplace. Weird.
After a 15 minute break, we left to head to the summit of Washington, which I have been looking forward to this the entire hike. Just for a moment the clouds lifted enough to look back and see the Lakes of the Clouds hostel.
We got to the top and explored the buildings. The main building had food, seating, a post office, cog railway ticket sales, and a place on the lower floor to put our packs. I plugged in my battery and phone and got a chili dog lunch. Many NOBO hikers were hanging out there. Tandem took her previously-dead phone from the rice in which it had been drying, and it works, but the screen is so dim it can been seen only at an angle in strong sunlight.
The cog railway was busy for a Tuesday, probably due to the clearing weather. By 13:30, the clouds had broken and I got a picture of the cog railway train coming into the station. We collected our belongings and headed out to get in line for the obligatory Mt. Washington summit sign picture, kindly taken by those who had been in front of us in line.
We simply turned around after that and started hiking down the AT. There was one more cool sign with mileages that looked slightly dated.
The next 5.5 miles to the Madison Spring hut were rocky and rugged. It was bald, so everyone could see the other thru hikers near them. We caught up with Ragnar and Scout, who offered us snacks. They were working for stay at the hut by bringing equipment there from the Mizpah Spring hut. All other hikers were being turned away.
We had no plans to stop there, intending instead to camp in the Osgood campsite, which was free. On the way there, I hiked over a very steep Mt. Madison, which tired me. I did reach a section where I had a great view back to Mt. Washington.
Before it got dark, I found Tandem waiting for me, and we hiked into the dark to Osgood. Jukebox was just finishing dinner near the trail and informed us that the tent platforms were all occupied, so we hiked on downward to the Peabody River suspension bridge.
It was very dark before we found a flat spot for my tent, and we were now only four miles from Pinkham Notch. I saw that the others had set up their hammocks and it was lights out. I set up my dripping wet tent and basically felt like I was floating my air mattress and sleeping bag in it.
I cooked a Ramen dinner under my vestibule and finished my trail mix for dessert. I am down to a few dinners, about five snack size Snickers, and a single Carnation Breakfast Essential. After a hard 15.5 mile day wrapping up the Presidents, I was too tired to write the blog for the day.