August 10th 2018
Lonesome lake hut – Mt Lafayette (mile 1824.2)
9.3 miles + 2 miles to Flume gorge visitors centre
Total miles: 1848.6

I slept well in my bunk bed, and apparently it rained and thunder-stormed overnight so I’m glad we missed that. I wasn’t ready to wake up, I’m never ready to wake up in the mornings but I always seem to somewhere between 5am and 6am. At 6:30am I heard the sound of a ukulele and then a recipe for cornbread being read out loudly over the top. It’s like being at camp. 


We were able to eat breakfast with everyone else and we got oatmeal followed by pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon. There was coffee for the coffee drinkers and juice. It was more than I expected and it was really good. I looked it up later and an overnight stay in a bunk is $140! For one person!!

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We packed up and reluctantly moved on. It was just 3 miles downhill, across pretty rocky terrain to get to the junction of the flume visitors centre. Then a mile down a paved bike path to get there. We tried to hitch into town and got a ride really quickly. Someone who drove past us and turned around. 


We didn’t technically need to come into town but Shred was being picked up by his mum today and going home so we wanted to see him off. In town we hung out outside this little deli and I wasn’t hungry but they did a really good chocolate milk. We also got to play with Riley, the cutest golden retriever ever seen. We thought he was a cross breed, maybe a golden retriever and a St. Bernard! His head and paws were huge, but the owner said he was a pure Golden Retriever. When we finished there we went to Pricechopper for a while and I got a Gatorade and on an impulse these mozzarella sticks. I didn’t need them. 


Then we went over to the brewery to wait for Shreds mum and grandma to arrive. It was getting kind of late in the day and we wanted to make the most of the nice weather and get up onto the ridge. Shred’s mum wanted to buy us all lunch so we stayed a while. I chose something I could pack out because I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat it all, so I got pulled pork sliders. I ate two and packed out two. 

After lunch they drove us back to the trailhead and we said our goodbyes. And then there were three. We hiked the mile on the bike path to get back on the trail and then we started going up. Up up up to the ridge line. It was slow going for me because I felt so uncomfortable. I was too hot, even though it was a lot cooler today, and I was too full of food. I had to loosen all the straps on my pack. The climb wasn’t as bad as I had been expecting. It was rocky but only turned to boulders as I was approaching the top of the forts mountain, Little Haystack. I caught my water bottle on a tree and almost lost it. I had to pee so badly on the way up but the mountain was packed with day hikers, I saw so many people. 


As I came up above the tree line and I looked over at the view I felt quite emotional. It was such an awesome view and I had waited for such a long time to see it. I caught up to Peaches and Jukebox and we got to the top, then to the top of Mt Lincoln and then we carried on to the top of Mt Lafayette. The tallest one in the range. 


The ridge line was so beautiful and it really reminded me of New Zealand. We stopped a lot and took a lot of photos. It was getting a bit chilly up there. It was 7pm by the time we were at the top and we didn’t know where we were going to camp. It was a clear night with no rain in the forecast and light wind. There was a low wall that provided a bit of shelter from the wind so we decided to camp there. 


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Technically I don’t think you’re allowed to camp at the top of the mountain, but I haven’t read or seen that anywhere. We risked it. We set up our tents and watched the sunset. I was so glad to have my puffy as it was cold and it was just getting colder. I think I let myself get too cold outside because I struggled to warm up. My toes are still pretty cold as I write this. 

It has been such a good day, apart from saying goodbye to Shred of course. Everyone talks about The Whites and Franconia Ridge in the same way they talk about the Sierra on the PCT. But it is actually better than I expected it to be.

Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 94