August 8th 2018
NH route 25A – Kinsman Notch / North Woodstock (mile 1801.5)
19.2 miles

Total miles: 1823.9


I didn’t want to get up this morning. It’s becoming a theme. I feel like I could sleep until midday at least. But when 6am rolls around I pack up. Put on my wet hiking clothes, which are still soggy with sweat, and do as much as I can in my tent before going outside to be eaten alive by the mosquitoes. 

I got water and we were back on the trail by 6:40am. The morning was a lead up to the big one this afternoon. Mt Moosilauke. It was a little cooler than it was yesterday and it was nicer to hike. We spent most of the morning trying to find somewhere along the trail with cell service. We hadn’t showered in 6 days and with all the humidity and the sweating I was starting to get that horrible chafe back on my thighs, so we planned to stay in a hostel tonight and we needed to reserve a bed. Peaches eventually got a message through and we were sorted for tonight. We just had to maintain a 2mph pace to be at the trailhead to be picked up by the shuttle. 

The morning was ok. It was buggy. And it was muddy in places. And I was sweating. All the usual stuff. The trail was a bit up and down but nothing too bad. I was getting distracted by the mushrooms again. I was drinking so much water today because I didn’t want to feel delirious again. 

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After 10 miles we were just slightly over a 2mph pace. There was a big creek to cross and not wanting to get wet feet again, my feet weren’t dry but they were drying out from yesterday, so I found a tree and we shimmied our way across on that. It was the start of the 5.6 mile climb up to Mt Moosilauke. I had to stop and take a break, eat something and make sure I had enough water. 

The first mile was ok. Not too steep. Not too hot. Too many bugs. 

The second mile wasn’t too bad either. 

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The third mile it started to get a bit more brutal. It began to climb more steeply and it became really rocky. I was definitely slowing down. I prefer the rocks going up because it’s like climbing stairs. I don’t like the slopes. They hurt my legs. 

So the trail continued to get steeper and steeper and rockier and wetter and slippier. I got slower and slower until I was just clinging on by my fingernails to a 2 mile an hour pace. I saw several people coming south. A few AT people but mostly day hikers. One thruhiker was hiking in just his underpants which was not great to come face to face with that. I would look up and just be faced with a wall of rock. 

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The climb really wasn’t that bad. I will never be fast on the uphill, but slowly but surely I will make it. At the junction with Mt Moosilauke south peak the trail flattens out along the ridge and it’s a lovely walk along a nice mostly smooth trail. Half a mile more of gentle uphill takes you past some cairns and up to the summit. 

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I passed a trail crew who were maintaining the path and smashing up some big rocks. Peaches was at the top along with a host of other people. There much be a quick way up as I can’t imagine all these people hiking from where we did. We stayed up there for a while, enjoying the reward for our efforts. 

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The views were awesome. It was nice to be above the trees for the first time. The weather was great, warm and a bit cloudy and after taking off my pack and sitting for a while I actually cooled down to a reasonable temperature. 

Peaches then got a message for Jukebox saying they were behind us. What?! How did they get behind us. I thought they were 5 miles ahead of us. She met us at the top and we found out they they were picked up from the road we camped at last night by some kind passers by as they were soaking wet. And after the terrain yesterday they decided to re-evaluate how many miles they could do through the Whites. They had started at the same place as us today but got a later start. So after all that we were back together again!

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The descent from Mt Moosilauke was the most intense and difficult descent. It totally kicked our asses. I normally like downhills, but if you said to me that the choice would be to do that descent again or climb to the top 5 more times I would choose the climbing. My knees were screaming by the end, my right knee in particular where I landed heavily and my whole face shook with the impact. 

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The whole descent was a giant boulder slide. Slippery rocks and roots and steep drops to the side, we followed the flow of a river which was basically a giant waterfall on our left side. It was beautiful but everything was so wet and slick it was so treacherous. I slipped and tripped a number of times and I came so close to disaster, I’m not sure how we all made it down in one piece. The downhill and the rocks seemed to go on forever. There were wooden steps built in to some of the more sheer rock faces, but they could have done with a little scoring on the surfaces because they were supper slippery too. 

There were some hand holds and one section which had been totally washed away had a rope to hold on to. It was absolutely exhausting. Not just physically but mentally too as you are constantly on edge trying not to die. 

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We made it down to the parking area at Kinsman notch just after 5:30pm and we collapsed on the grass right outside the privy. I didn’t need to go. I had had 2 urinations today which was 100% more than yesterday. We were being picked up by the shuttle just after 6 so we had some time to relax. Some section hikers came over to talk to us. They were doing a 90 mile stretch of the Whites. They started by going up and down Mt Moosilauke. Brutal. They looked a bit shell shocked and asked if all the trail was like this. Yes, I think all The Whites are like this. They were carrying enormous packs with stuff all strapped to the outside. It amazes they made it up and down with all that stuff. 

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We convinced Shred to stay in the hostel with us but Jukebox didn’t want to spend the money so she hitched into town before we got picked up. Our ride came and we dropped our packs at the hostel and went straight into town to resupply. We went to Pricechopper and I was too hungry to think about what I needed to buy. All I was craving was meat and I saw there were these hot chicken tender things and I put them in my basket. I said to the others that it was all I could think about and do you think it would be ok if I ate them now before I paid for them. They said it would be fine so I ate my chicken like a savage as I wandered around the supermarket. I also found some potatoes in cream and cheese and popped them in my basket too. 

I got all the usual stuff. Crisps. Hummus. Twix. Cliff bars. I had some things already left over from my trail magic boxes. I couldn’t think anymore so that would have to do. Jukebox said she had found somewhere to stay so she went off and sorted herself out. We didn’t have time to go somewhere to eat, and I was kind of full from the chicken so the others decided they wanted to go to McDonald’s. We walked there and I ate my creamy cheesy potatoes with my hands as we walked down the street, and at McDonalds I got a giant soda and a cheeseburger that I didn’t want or need. I couldn’t decide what soda I wanted so I tried a bit of all of them before settling on Dr Pepper. God bless America. 

When Books came to collect us she asked if we had seen Miss Janet. Miss Janet is an AT legend. She drives around in her AT van and uses McDonald’s as her office for the free WiFi. I was thinking I wouldn’t get to meet Miss Janet but I’m so happy I did. She also gave me the best news. Halfslow, my friend from PCT 15 is just ahead of me. I didn’t know he was doing the trail this year and I am so happy to think I might run into him. I hope I don’t miss him. 

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We went back to the hostel and finally got to shower. By now it was 8:30pm. It felt so good to get all the dirt off and wash my now very sore chafe. I smothered it in neosporin and hopefully it will be better in the morning. We put our laundry in to a communal wash which they do for you and I’m a bit worried about getting it all back. My stuff is everywhere which makes me uncomfortable. I have stuff in my room. My laundry is god knows where. My pack is in the garage and my food is on the porch! We sat outside for a while and organised our food, a guy came over and offered his last piece of pizza, no one else wanted it so I took it. I’m now uncomfortably full up. 

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It’s so late, it’s now 11:10pm. I’m still up writing this. My chafe is throbbing. I have a painkiller stuck in my throat which is making my throat burn and the fan in the room is so loud. My arms are sore from leaning on my trekking poles so heavily on the way down the mountain today. But I’m clean! And I’m not hungry. Life is good. I would love to stay here tomorrow, but I have to get back out there. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 92

 

 


 

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