August 9th 2018
Kinsman Notch – Lonesome Lake Hut (mile 1814.9)
13.4 miles
Total miles: 1837.3

If someone had said hey let’s zero here today I wouldn’t have said no. We had to wake up early at 6am so we could eat breakfast and be packed up and ready to leave on the shuttle at 7am. I was so tired. I would have loved to have just stayed there in bed all day long, and the weather forecast wasn’t great but we had to get some miles in. 


We had pancakes for breakfast. I only ate half of mine, I don’t really enjoy pancakes. We were all running around trying to get ready and I felt really rushed. I was worried I was going to leave something behind. Books was herding everyone into the shuttle, she runs a tight ship. We set off back to the trail head and she gave everybody a huge hug before she left. She was about to drive off and she asked who had left their shoes in the car. It was Peaches. I don’t think she would have gotten very far in her crocs! 


We dilly dallied for a while. My chafe was still causing me problems and I put some cream on it before we started hiking. We saw the two girls carrying, by the looks of it, everything they own and we met back up with Jukebox. 

We set off and the temperature was so much cooler than it has been. It threatened to rain on and off with a couple of very light showers which didn’t come to anything. The day started with a very steep uphill from the road, rocky and intense straight away. It levelled off to slightly more gentle ups and downs and went across big boards and through the misty forest up to Mt Wolf. The trail was steep and rocky and it is exhausting. It’s not just walking. You’re climbing over boulders. Trying not to slip on wet rocks and tree roots. Trying to to break an arm or an ankle or crack your head open. Trying not to break a trekking pole or fall off the edge of a cliff. 

Down the other side I caught up to my friends who were sat by the power line eating lunch. I ate some of my crisps and hummus and then Shred, who will be going home tomorrow, gave me a tortilla some pepperoni and some cheese, I added hummus and crisps and made it into a cracking wrap. 


Animal scared me by sneaking up behind me. I deserved it. Then came the big climb up to South Kinsman Mountain. The first part was beautiful as we went through mossy forest and walked up the trail next to waterfalls and swimming holes. I kept stopping just to look and take it all in. The first mile or so was ok. A climb, but gentle enough. It soon got steeper of course and the rocks got rockier and the tree roots got slippier. Some of the rocks were huge and it was difficult to find a way around them. For the last half a mile the rocks got even more intense and I had to stop and stow my trekking poles so I could use my hands and I basically crawled up the last bit of the mountain. I managed to smack my kneecap into a rock and had to take a moment to breathe through that, but no serious incident. 


At the top there was quite a party. Jukebox, Peaches and Shred were already there, plus Bloodhound and Lord Snow, then we were joined by Animal and Chaco. I had spent the last couple of days thinking Animal and Lord Snow were the same person and I was always confused that he would pass me twice. Now it all makes sense. 


Airdrop party

We hiked the mile over to North Kinsman and Peaches and I took the side trail to see the view of Franconia ridge. Met a guy hiking barefoot. So far he has hiked from Katahdin barefoot. Totally crazy! 


Then it was just the small matter of the 6 mile descent. Again the descent was worse than the climb. The downhills are so slow going. It feels like you are taking your life in your hands with every step. I was still sore from yesterday. All sorts of parts of my legs hurt and my right knee is especially sore. I move slowly, conscious that I could cause a serious injury if I’m not careful. My arms and sides are also sore from all the heavy leaning on my trekking poles I have been doing. 


The rocks are big slabs and I shuffle down some of them on my bum. There are wooden steps attached to some of the steeper parts but some of them are built for giants! I can’t describe how exhausting it is. We inch our way down, and I have also run out of water and I’m so thirsty. The water we pass is yellow and full of tannins so I don’t really want to drink it. I go thirsty. 

We descend slowly and eventually we come to a Hut. It wasn’t really a hut, more like a lodge. It was huge and inside was a full on kitchen, with benches and games and books. There were things to buy there. Snacks and drinks. We filled our water and took a seat for a few minutes. All exhausted from the downhill. 


There is a pass you can buy that allows AT hikers to get their first stay in the hut for $10 and then subsequent huts you pay only $5. It sounded like a good deal to me but the others wanted to push on to the trailhead and try to hitch into town, find somewhere for dinner and then hitch back and camp at the trailhead. 

We packed up and headed down the hill and saw the lake. A beautiful lake. We went onto the dock to take photos and a guy started chatting to us. He booked 20 places in the lodge and only 13 of his party were able to make it. He told the people running the lodge to give away the other places to thru-hikers. I thought it sounded awesome and the others were a bit on the fence. When Bloodhound heard about the offer he practically ran back to the lodge to get his space. He knows when he’s on to a good thing. 


No one had said anything to us about it. So we went to ask and the guy was a bit funny about it at first but  we ended up getting a bunk room for the 4 of us and three other hikers, Bloodhound, Lord Snow and Friend, got the other 3 beds. The guy in the lodge said we would have to wait until everyone had finished eating and then we could go in and get leftovers. This is something they do occasionally for hikers and they sometimes let them stay in the main room on the floor. But technically we are paying guests, just someone else had paid! 

We couldn’t be bothered to argue the toss with him and we went down to the lake to chill out for a bit. The others had plans to get in but the wind was chilly and they decided against it. We had a great view over Franconia ridge and we could see exactly where we would be going tomorrow. Up to Little Haystack, Mt Lincoln and Mt Lafayette. It looks really beautiful. 


We hung out until we got really cold and I finally got a chance to put my puffy on! I felt so cosy in it. We watched a rabbit and a weasel run around together for a while until it was 7:30pm and we could go and get our food. Another hiker has turned up and they said he could get left overs too and he could sleep in the hall. I was a bit worried about the amount of food available with so many hungry hikers but my worries were unnecessary because there was a tonne of food. Spinach and ricotta lasagne, which 8 hungry hikers couldn’t eat all of, lentil soup, fresh bread and chocolate cake for dessert. There was so much food. 

We chatted to the guy who had paid for our stay and thanked him for being so kind. He said he though it odd that we weren’t allowed to eat with everyone but it all worked out ok in the end. After dinner we played Bananagrams and card games. We even hung out and played with the people working here, and the grumpy man who didn’t really want us to stay was like a different person, joining in with the fun. 


He even said we were welcome to eat breakfast with everyone else, the normal people, and he gave the guy that came in late the extra bunk bed that wasn’t being used. It was all very friendly and happy in the end. I was so full I felt sick. The food was so good. 

We had a 10 minute call for lights out at around 9:30pm and it was way past our bedtime anyway. I think this was a much better way to spend Shred’s last night on trail rather than going to town. What a stroke of luck we had today. Great weather. Amazing generosity. Small miles! 

Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 93