I'm starting to find that out!
Today I did the other half (fourteen miles) of the section I'd originally
planned for yesterday, plus another 9.8 miles. As long as it took me to do the
first fourteen miles - rested - I'm so glad I didn't do it yesterday!
This was another beautiful, interesting section but very rugged and slow.
There isn't much running here, at least for clumsy old ladies! The trail surface
was a challenge, as were the climbs.
There were two major mountains to cross in the first fourteen miles, Smarts
(elevation 3,240 feet) and Cube (2,911 feet).
The climb to Smarts first goes up Laurel Ridge (a 1,300-foot ascent), then
down a bit, then up another 1,000 feet to the summit of Smarts - within the
first four miles. The pitch ranged from gradual to moderately steep; there were
a lot of roots and rocks, including many rock slabs marked with white blazes and
rock cairns (functional ones, not just for fun). I was glad most of the rocks
Although this was probably my toughest climb since Virginia, it's only a
preview of what's to come in the next few days.
After a three-plus mile gradual descent of 1,900 feet, I climbed up the rocky
Eastman Ledges (with nice views to the east and south) and Mt. Cube. This
section was an exercise in bouldering. There were several boulder fields to
cross or climb and more huge rock slabs. I was glad to be going up and not down
this rough section.
CUBE IS COOL
The views from the summit of Cube were great. The sky was blue as I climbed,
but once on top, it turned cloudy. I didn't want to get caught up there in a
thunderstorm so I started my descent sooner than I really wanted. I liked it on
top. I highly recommend a hike here.
It was not an easy descent. In the first mile I dropped about 1,000 feet
over rugged trail. I fell on my right hand, cutting it on top. It swelled up
like my arm did a few weeks ago (last time I went to a clinic). I realized the
wrist sweatband right above it would make a great compress. I slid it down
and the swelling soon subsided. So did the bleeding.
You make do with what you've got!
The total descent to NH 25A at fourteen miles was about 1,900 feet. The trail
was rough and the climbs were hard. It took me 7:15 hours to do this part.
Fortunately, the rain fell to the north and south and the trail didn't get wet
where I was.
I made better time the last 9.8 miles (4:15 hours). It was up and down and rough
but had a few more runnable sections.
I know you won't believe it, but I really liked some of today's rocks! Since
I'm forced to look down so much I'm well aware of the rocks beneath my feet and
within my peripheral vision. I'm just fascinated with some of the beautiful
designs, the swirls of pink and orange, the streaks of white. Some of them have
clear or gray sparkly flecks, some have shiny copper ones. So pretty!
Here's an interesting rock slab the AT follows, almost like a painted highway
stripe. It's not; the white streaks are indigenous to the rock. Isn't
"GRANDPA BOB" AND "AFRICA"
There were several day and section hikers on the Trail today, including a
young couple backpacking with their nine- and eleven-year-old daughter and son
on Cube Mountain. The kids loved scrambling over the rocks and were the ones
who informed me about them before I got there. I'm always happy to see young
folks on the Trail.
I was also glad to see an older woman with a full backpack who is section
hiking and seemed very happy to be in the woods. What struck me about her
determination was that she's a good fifty pounds overweight. I can't imagine
going over these mountains with a full pack, let alone extra weight like that. I
admire her toughness.
I met two delightful older gentlemen who are thru-hiking north, each hiking
with a friend this week. First was "Africa," who was at the summit of Cube. On
the way down to NH 25A I met "Grandpa Bob," who is doing a flip-flop. He went
from Georgia to Daleville, VA (near our home), then had to return to Fort Worth,
TX for several weeks. In order to get Maine out of the way before the snow
flies, he returned to that point and is heading south to Virginia now.
Bob told me Jim was waiting with the camper down at the highway. I knew he'd
be going that way to move from our last campground in Vermont to the new one in
the White Mountain National Forest but I didn't expect him to be waiting for
I hustled the next two miles as fast as I could. Unfortunately, he was gone when I got
there. A woman who was helping "Goosebump" and a couple other thru-hikers do a
slack hike today from Glencliff told me that Jim left about forty-five minutes
earlier so he could get set up at the new campground. I was disappointed but
not surprised. What surprised me was that he waited over an hour for me to come
While there, he and the woman in the car played trail angels, leaving several
boxes of goodies and cans of cold soft drinks for hikers.
I also saw four Dartmouth Outdoor Club volunteers working on the trail coming
off of Cube today, mostly installing rock steps and water dams; that's hard
work and I thanked them for it.
DARTMOUTH OUTDOOR CLUB HUMOR
The DOC is known for its humor, including unique privies that I have read
about but haven't, um, used. They also have great signage along the
Trail, bright orange signs you can't miss with more information than most states
On isolated Mt. Mist today there was a bright orange sign pointing to an
overlook close by. It read, "Scenic View. Beware of Tourists."
hand-wrote between the lines, "Cynic View. Beware the Scenery." Someone else
added, "Stupid college kids!"
That gave me a chuckle as I headed on down the mountain to meet Jim.
After yesterday's pick-up fiasco Jim and I made sure we knew where to
rendezvous today. That was made more difficult by the fact that I crossed three
highways today that have very similar numbers: 25A, 25C, and 25. We were
to meet at plain old 25 (and we did).
Now wouldn't you think that a state as small as New Hampshire would have more
numbers to go around??
We do not have an internet connection at our new campground in the national
forest and we're likely to keep running into the same problem as we head
further and further into the wilderness, all the way to Katahdin. Sorry if some
of the entries are a few days late! Keep checking . . .
NO PAIN, NO GAIN?
After a couple weeks of no pain I suffered from a sore little right toe all day
that I first noticed last night. It's not blistered, but puffed up near the nail
and hurts where it rubs on the side of my shoe. Running made it feel worse, as
did going downhill. Double the dose of Naproxen throughout the day didn't help.
Tonight I'll break out the Celebrex I've been saving for a major hurt!
Since today took so long, and my toe hurts, I'm cutting tomorrow's planned
run from 25+ miles to only 9½ but they include my toughest climb thus far:
Mt. Moosilauke. That's the first Bad Boy in the Whites and I can't wait!