Thursday June 29, 2017
Franconia Notch, The Notch Hostel 16.3 miles
Total mileage 793.1
We had another slackpacked for today, but the hostel had prearranged shuttle times and I didn’t think I could make it in that time frame so I arranged an earlier shuttle. I am very glad I did because I struggled to make it to our 5:30 pm pickup time.
SOULFLOWER and I started our hike at 6:30 this morning and we only had one 15 minute break to eat lunch. The rest of the time was spent hustling over some of the hardest terrian in the Whites. I did not know it at the time, when I decided to this over 16 mile slackpack that this was one of the hardest sections of trail.
There were some rock climbs that really scared me and had me thinking about wether I wanted to continue to do this. It was later that I learned that this was one of the hardest sections. No wonder why I was having such a tough mental and physical day.
We started the day climbing Mount Wolf which was pretty strenuous and a mud bog. South Kinsman and North Kinsman Mountains had some scary rock climbing both ascending and descending. Then to add to the difficulty it started to rain and that makes everything slippery and adds to the mud, but at least it wasn’t windy and freezing. Only the summit was windy and cold, but the views weren’t great because it was cloudy and rainy so I moved on quickly. There had been more mud in New Hampshire than there was in Vermont!
I did make the 5:30 shuttle but I truly didn’t get there until 5:38. I called ahead so they knew that I was coming and held the shuttle for SOULFLOWER and I. I am faster on the up hills than SOULFLOWER so we were separated after lunch, but she is faster on the downhills so she caught up to me at the very end and we finished together totally exhausted.
After lunch I really didn’t think I was going to make it pickup time. I was just moving as fast as I could safely go and really didn’t let go of my tracking poles until I finished. I didn’t stop to drink water or eat! I just kept moving and focusing on my 5:30 pick up. My feet and knees were sore, but I just kept hustling along.
When I got into the shuttle van I drank a full leter of water. Then when I got back to the hostel l had a large spinach salad and a bowl of hot split pea and ham soup before showering. I was filthy dirty with mud covering my legs up to my knees, but I didn’t care.