Ethan Pond Campsite [mile 1366.7; SOBO 348.3]
Another crazy day in the neighborhood! It’s hard to even reconstruct everything that happened.
Let’s see. Start with the weather. It rained during the night, with thunder. I’m not sure how long it rained, but the tent was soaked when I packed it up. Another chilly gray wet morning! Joy! I slipped down to the hut for a cup of coffee and chatted with some of the hutsters. ‘Hut baggers,’ some of them call themselves. Did I mention that? It’s a play on the peak baggers, who collect mountain peaks. Anyway, I didn’t stay long. I’m really enjoying that morning cup of coffee. It makes me think about picking up a Pocket Rocket stove when I hit an outfitter. Of course, I’d need a cup, too, and it all adds precious weight.
The trail today followed the Webster Cliffs Trail, and it was like a postcard from Maine. Cliffy ups and downs, roots, rock-scrambly stuff… oh, yeah. It feels like I was there just last week! 😉
After about five miles the trail descended the Webster Cliffs. I think that was the most challenging bit of trail I’ve run into in New Hampshire, including the Wildcats, but mostly because it was raining and the rock was slick. And it wasn’t really difficult; it just required slow care to avoid slipping.
The trail stayed in the clouds until well below the cliffs. (By the way, I’ve heard the views from the cliffs are spectacular; all I got was a wall of white. But that’s one of the reasons I think thru-hiking isn’t the best way to go; you miss stuff because you can’t wait around for better weather.)
After the cliffs came a long walk sharply down to Crawford Notch. Crawford Notch! LOL. It’s like I can’t get away from it! Down below it was quite a bit warmer and partly sunny. It amazes me how the weather can be so different upstairs versus what the valley people are getting. I looked up at the mountain I’d just climbed down and had a bit of a squee/meep moment. That was a big thing made up of a lot of rock! Sometimes when I look back and see something I’ve done, I just can’t wrap my head around it.
A mile up the road there was supposed to be a snack place. The book’s been wrong on several occasions, so I wasn’t sure whether ‘west’ meant left or right this time; I went with the book, though, and blissfully it was right!
Why was I wasting 2 miles on a potential cheeseburger, you ask? Well… actually, I ran into a battery issue with the phone and I was hoping I could grab a charge at an outlet.
Not since Shenandoah have I been such hiker trash! I actually made myself laugh. I emptied my pack at a picnic table, I charged my phone in the bathroom, and I wolfed down two chili dogs. I bought a bunch of rest stop candy and crap, enough to top me off until the next resupply. The food was getting a little stretched.
Then I hit the trail again. There’s a pdf floating around that lists a bunch of stealth sites, and Slingshot messaged me part of it. (I’m trying to get hold of the rest.) I know it’s outdated, but I was hoping to stealth at one of the sites near Crawford Notch. Alas, there were ‘no camping’ signs all over the place, so I decided to try for the nearest official campsite. I was whipped and I didn’t think I’d make it, but the terrain turned out to be kind for once. So here I am! It’s raining! Again!
Oh, I forgot. The wildlife report: This morning I followed a grouse across a bog bridge. How ridiculous is that? But animals use the trail, too. They’re dumb, but they’re not stupid.
Tomorrow: A longish day, I think? If all depends on the terrain and the weather again. I’d really like to be out of the Whites, bless their stealth-unfriendly little hearts.
Man, this campsite is noisy. Is it Labor Day weekend? Gah. I hope I can find places to camp for the next three days.