10-17-07, Lake of the Clouds Dungeon(5040'), SOBO mile:333.8, 10 miles hiked today. 38degrees on Mt Washington at 3:50pm, winds 20-30mph.
It was nice this morning. Not too cold, not too windy, very few clouds against a blue sky. 8.5 miles to Mt Washington (6288') and all above treeline was with snow. Icy, slushy, muddy and snowy would be how I would summarize todays terrain.
I hit the trail at 9:08am fresh from a weeks worth of rest hoping for great weather and good responses from my ankle. A climb of 2800' got my blood pumping and got me on top of Mt. Madison (5363'). Mt. Madison is the first and last Presidential peak before Mt. Washington along the AT. Mt.Adams (5798') and Mt. Jefferson (5715') are accessible, however, via summit blue blazes.
The views were breathtaking and visibility ideal. Looking back I could see Wildcat mountain and the many ski runs that make up the Wildcat ski resort. Also, I had great views of Pinkham Notch and Maine in the distance.
Todays hike was slow going. I took my time and really paid attention to each step. The terrain was comprised of boulder fields for most of the hike and with 2-3 inches of snow caked to them I wanted to be sure I was stepping on rock, not air. With more new snow misstepping between rocks would be less of an issue.
From last nights campsite- Osgood tentsite, it was about 3.5 miles to Mt Washington as the crow flys. But the AT route, from Osgood, headed North and slightly East bending back slightly West to Mt. Madison where the trail then headed West and slightly North to Edmands Col. From here, the route headed South and West to Mt. Washington. The route I just described, when viewed on a map will look like the outline of a human brain. Check it out.
So the hike today was mainly above treeline and followed a ridge of peaks and always gave me a great view of whats ahead and whats behind. It was nice to see the snow again, especially in New Hampshires White Mountains Presidential Range.
For dinner tonight: Mountainhouse chili mac, ADD: sharp cheddar cheese and creackers, coconut macaroons and water. For breakfast today: Pop Tart, granola bar, coconut macaroons and water. For snacks today: sharp cheddar, cashews, granola bars, peanut butter Little Debbies, cheddar goldfish crackers, cheese crackers and water.
I saw a crow hanging out, stationary, on top of Mt. Madison. He left his position and glided down past me all the while screaming. Once past me, while gliding down the mountainside, he turned and looked back at me. I could not believe my eyes. His body moved with his neck and head but he kept flying ahead. His glance lasted maybe a second but it just seemed so akward.
The cog railroad engines were running today. My goodness, the tracks go right up to the top of Mt. Washington. The tracks are very steep and when going downhill, I noticed the car went very slow and seemed to have its' brakes applied the whole way down. I would never ride that train up or down that mountain. Talk about your extreme roller coaster!
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