Day 108: Etna, NH to Hexacuba
Trip Start Mar 15, 2010
134Trip End Jul 23, 2010
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
So my first full day past VT and guess what? It didn't rain. Unfortunately we haven't yet totally eliminated the mud problem, but my acrobatic jumping, dodging, and balancing skills kept my feet mud-free!
Woke up to the alarm this morning and got to go in to a real bathroom and also watch the weather channel for a few moments. Flatlander and I jumped into the car a little after seven and Karen drove me to the trailhead and Flatlander a little further up so he could slackpack.
The morning was crisp, to the point that if you weren't walking it was cold. As a hiker that is just pure gold, being able to hike on level terrain and even uphill slightly without sweating has been unimaginable for the past month at least
The morning goes really well, a bit of level walking to warm up but then, uh oh I saw a field coming up and figured "there goes my first day of dry shoes." but someone had actually bush-hogged the trail so my shoes just got a little damp on the outside. It's the little
Before lunch I have a 1000 ft climb up Moose Mtn and a 1500 ft climb up to Holts Ledge. Someone was really on the ball at the Moose Mtn shelter and had left a copy of Benton MacKaye's Appalachian Trail proposal from 1920 or so. I extended my break to read all 9 pages. The idea was brilliant and his thoughts on society in general were really
in line with my own. I owe at least a part of my misery to the guy too though, so it's not all happy thoughts...
Up at Holts Ledges I eat lunch. Just a great view, you can see for probably 50 mi with the big afternoon mtn right in the foreground. Also I hear this screeching during lunch so I go look over the cliff and there is a peregrine falcon flying around and then swooping through the valley at another one
Right after lunch I got to tiptoe around some flooding due to beaver activity, and I heard the big tail whack but didn't see anything. I'm pretty sure they are really hard to spot. The big part of the day was the 2500 ft climb up Smarts Mtn. Fortunately the climb has a flat section halfway up along a ridge, so you can catch your breath and regain your legs before the final push. At the top there is an old firewardens cabin and firetower. The cabin is now an AT shelter but I just used it to get out of the wind which was quite chilly.
The view from atop the firetower makes the climb all worthwhile. You can see clear back to the Green Mtns in VT and over to Mt Moosilauke in the Whites looking ahead along with other peaks stretching to the horizon. To the north there is a little rainshower going on and the clouds everywhere create a patchwork of shadows along the ridges and valleys. What an amazing place. Spend a bit of time up top to relax and chat with Sandpiper and Kite an older couple that started in Harpers Ferry. Noobies with only 700 miles under their belts!
The last five miles are easy, gradual downhill and then short up and back down. I'm staying at the Hexacuba Shelter which is laid out in a hexagonal floor plan. Interesting but not always the best way to accomodate a bunch of people laying down. Of course once again it's just me in the shelter, still existing in a total thru-hiker black hole
but still say hello in the morning.
Crawling into a dry warm sleeping bag on a chilly night is pure bliss. Of course getting out of it in the morning will be equally challenging :)
Hopefully everyone is doing well. Uncle Marko thanks for the comment, if you all need something else to do you might look into canoeing for a day or something on the Buffalo National River just down into Arkansas. Just a thought, I was there in the fall and thought it was
Alrighty good night!