Thursday, September 1 - Day 161 - Mile (since we're hiking south I'll update mileage once we are heading north again) - Madison Spring Hut
Woke up early on a very cool morning on our camp site on the ski lift platform. This was a great camp site.
We were in the trail by 6:40 facing what was reportedly the toughest decent (or climb) in New Hampshire down to Pinkham Notch. It lived up to it's reputation! It took us three hours to do 3 miles down. Typically downs are quicker then ups but this was a real challenge for me. I haven't checked the seat of my pants yet but I'll bet the material is worn thin from sliding down slab rock for 3 hours.
We arrived at the AMC NH Headquarters about 9:40 but the all-you-can-eat breakfast ended at 8:30. We didn't go hungry. We were able to get sandwiches, fruit, cookies, etc.
While having an early lunch we met Double Check who we hadn't seen since the hurricane. We may meet up with him when we get back to Gorham at the White Mountain Hostel.
While at the AMC we heard from several sources that we could hike to this hut today with no problem time wise. After a relatively easy 5 mile hike to Osgood Tentsite we had a 3 mile 3,000 ' climb up to Madison Peak and then on to the Hut. The last mile to the Hut was indescribable. I'll just leave it at that. We arrived at the Hut about 6:30 PM just in time for dinner. There was a moose standing right at the door to the Hut when we arrived and we were afraid we might spook her but it turns out she's been hanging around the Hut for some time Brother of the Wind got a photo. I'll have to get a copy. Dinner was great but we were beat after an almost 12 hour day of hiking. By desert time Buffalo Bobby was ready to fall asleep at the table. It was well past hikers midnight.
This has likely been the most challenging day of hiking to date. I sure hope we don't top this one.
Now were in our bunks and all the kids here are singing songs in the dining room. Sounds great.
The Huts are occupied mostly by families who drive to an access point and do a couple of days of hiking. Thru hikers are a treat for these folks. Typically there are few thru hikers because of the cost. Tonight we shared a table with two families and they were very interested in our stories and particularly how we got our trail names. I was able to tell some of my jokes to the girls who were 10 or 11.
Tomorrow we tackle Mt Washington finally. Hope the weather holds. We're only doing 7.1 miles so hopefully we'll have a relatively easy day.
Looks like it will be early next week before we get to Maine. New Hampshire has been a bear to hike. I had hoped to be in Maine by today but short mileage days and the hurricane have taken a lot of time My third pair of boots are finished. These rocks have taken there toll. Can't wait to get a new pair Jane has sent ahead to Nick & Janels.
Well, it's 9:20, the Hut is beginning to settle down and I'm beyond ready to sleep.
Peace, love, joy & hope,