August 14th 2018
Pinkham Notch – Imp Campsite (mile 1884.5)
13 miles
Total miles: 1909.1


Considering there were about 15 people in the one room I slept so well. There were a bunch of fans going and the white noise really helped. The idea was to get out by 7:30am but of course it’s town and that never happens. 

I ate breakfast, 2 bananas and some blueberry cake, and I lamented the weight of my pack. I don’t know why it’s so heavy. I did get quite a lot of food but still, I feel like someone has filled it with bricks. Peaches weighed hers. 34 pounds. I didn’t want to know what mine was. 

The hostel charges 10 dollars per person for a ride back to Pinkham Notch so we decided to take our chance with hitching. There was a lady outside the hostel who was just waiting to give someone a ride so she took us. She hiked the trail in 1999. We jumped into the back of her van and as we approached the Notch the rain increased. 

This section is a really common place to slack pack. Stay two nights at the hostel, slack pack the section between Pinkham Notch and Rattle river. We should have done that! But we were here now and our packs were fully loaded. I really didn’t want to hike out in the rain and neither did the others. There was some discussion about going back to Gorham and hanging out in the hostel during the bad weather but the decision was put onto me because ‘I have the deadline’. Yeah I do. They don’t so they could do whatever they want but I felt like they blamed me for having to hike out in the rain. 

We had a huge uphill to start the day up to Wildcat D peak. We had been warned several times that this was a tough section. I kind of thought that it couldn’t be any more tough than what we have been walking through but I was soon to be proved wrong. We were aiming for 19 miles today and we had to reassess that very early on in the day. 

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The rain made everything worse. The climb was pretty much vertical so the umbrella was no use here. I had my sixty dollar trash bag on and that helped a little to start with. There were some places where it was just a wall of rock and you were literally rock climbing. Squeezing your toes into cracks in the rock. I have no idea how people were getting down this. I passed a few people, met a northbounder named Killjoy who said she was aiming for Imp Shelter. 

Peaches and Jukebox were up ahead and I resigned myself to not seeing them all day. This was the first time I had been wet from the rain and I wasn’t enjoying it. The rain was running in my eyes and stinging and making it so I couldn’t see anything. I hate the way the rain runs down your neck and drips off the end of your nose. My top was getting gradually wetter and as I had it tucked in it eventually started to soak into my shorts. I untucked it and rung out the bottom of it. I would keep ringing the water out of it even when the rain eased, it seemed to never end. 

It was tough mentally today, I was unable to prevent ‘this is shit’ going around my head, which of course isn’t conducive to staying positive. The rain just makes me so miserable. Right now I was doing the very last thing that I wanted to be doing. Hiking in the rain up a big steep hill. I saw a couple of southbounders who were listing to Les Mis, she said it helped so I tried it. It didn’t help, it was really depressing so I stuck on Hamilton instead. 

The hill was never ending and the rocks never let up so I was making very slow progress. I saw Jukebox when she had stopped to take a poo. I hiked behind her for a short while, I couldn’t turn my music off because my fingers wouldn’t operate the phone. We caught up to Peaches who I think had been waiting for Jukebox. 

As we reached the top of Wildcat there is a gondola which will take you down the mountain for 12 dollars. They were talking about taking it. They looked at me. I said nothing. They resigned themselves to hiking on. We are already wet, we might as well just carry on. As I thought to myself at least it’s not cold, that’s when I started to get cold. Being wet makes you cold when the wind blows. The trail continued to be difficult as it went down a bit and then headed back up to Wildcat mountain. Of course there were no views anywhere because the whole mountain was covered in cloud. All the effort and no reward, plus all the summits were wooded anyway! 

There was a point where I was climbing up some rocks and I lost my concentration for a split second and I lost my balance. I fell back down and I narrowly avoided complete disaster and somehow managed to stay on the trail and on my feet. This type of trail, especially when it’s wet, is so physically draining, and I was struggling mentally today too so it wasn’t a good combination. The rain came back and I had enough so I put up the umbrella and forced my way through the trees. I just couldn’t handle getting rained on anymore. 

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I made it to Carter Notch Hut where the other were already. It had taken 4 hours to go 6 miles. I had bashed my shin on a rock and scraped my leg down a tree stump. My kneecaps felt like they were about to fall off after the steep descent to the hut. I took off my top and wrung it out. Putting it back on was unpleasant. 

It was warm in the hut because it was packed with people. We got the AMC pass thing which gets you 2 baked goods and a bowl of soup at any of the huts and as this was the last hut so I cashed in. They didn’t have soup so I got this chicken lemony couscous thing. It was delicious but I think they could have been a little more generous with their portion! I also got a slice of cake with cheesecake frosting. It was a great lunch. 

Most of the people in there were the new crew and they were all getting lessons on the rules and roles of the hut. They were being taught how to bake bread and the lesson started with how to turn on the scale and how to read a recipe in grams. It would be a long lesson I think. 

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So we knew we weren’t going to make it 19 miles today so we reassessed and decided to go another 7 to Imp Shelter. Even if I had slackpacked today I’m not sure I would have made it the whole way. We got going again and I prayed that it wouldn’t rain again. 

A steep uphill got to the top of Carter Dome, as we left the shelter Peaches realised she had left her fanny pack at the hut so went back to get it. She managed to do that and still run past me. I had that feeling like we were in a race today. Not a feeling I enjoy. 

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Carter dame was a wooded summit but at least the climb hadn’t been as brutal as the one this morning. As I hiked the ridge over to Mt High the sun came out a bit and the trail became nice for a moment. There was even a little flat section. There were some limited views over to the mountains from Mt High but it was still pretty cloudy. The descent from Mt High was tough and then another climb to South Carter. I just felt like I had absolutely no energy today. Every step was a huge effort. 

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I saw Jukebox, she was sat tending to a cut on her leg where she had fallen over and hit a rock. We moved on at the same time, and she got a bit ahead of me. As I approached the top of Middle Carter I heard Peaches voice. She had waited for Jukebox. They didn’t wait for me. It was getting to me a bit. There seemed to be some weird vibe off Peaches today and she was very tight with Jukebox. Or maybe it was just my state of mind and the mental game taking its toll. 

The trail was tough the whole way to the shelter. Especially the downhill. The tops of my kneecaps were so sore with every step. The mile or so before the shelter had lots of boards over the bogs and they are just as treacherous as the rocks! As a treat, the last 0.1 to the shelter it a big slab of slippery sloping rock, that was really nice to walk over! (it wasn’t)

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Everything about today was tough. It was only 6pm but I was done in. We could have gone a bit further had there been anywhere to camp but it was another 6 miles to the next shelter and there was no way I could have done that. 

The shelter was 0.2 off the trail and it is run by a caretaker so there was a $5 fee. There is a chance of rain tonight so I decided to stay in the shelter. I took my soaking wet shoes and socks off and got into my dry sleep clothes. My hiking clothes had dried throughout the afternoon but not completely. I didn’t feel much like socialising with the others as they seemed ok without me so I chatted to the other three guys in the shelter. According to them tomorrow should be easier. I hope so! I ate dinner … cheesy breadsticks and guacamole and then got everything done as quickly as I could. Used the privy, got some water, cleaned my teeth and then I lay down as soon as I could. I was on my mat by 7:30pm. Perfect. 

There were some whispered conversations between Jukebox and Peaches and I still got a weird vibe. If it’s the same tomorrow I will have to say something. I can’t be arsed with this, even if it means going alone. 

A guy rolls into the shelter around 8:30pm but there is no sign of Killjoy. 

My legs are throbbing and my feet are zinging. Today has to be one of the hardest days on trail. 

It’s a good thing I’ve been on my own for most of the day because I’ve had terrible wind. And now I’m releasing it quietly into my sleeping bag and trying not to move around too much. It relentless, one every 5 minutes. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 98

 

 


 

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