Day 171: All Frodo, all the time

Glencliff, New Hampshire

This is crazy. I’m in the Hikers Welcome hostel, mostly as a nod to tradition and because I feel like finishing the Whites merits a punctuation point. There are a ton of hikers here, including NOBOs, SOBOs, flippers, and section hikers. And a bunch if them are downstairs playing—get this!—Lord of the Rings Risk. Risk! Only with LOTR! Where the hell was that when I was in high school? Granted, I wouldn’t have found any playmates, but where was it anyway?

Fun.

So here we go. First of all, today is my six-month trailiversary. Six months ago, on March 7, my naive little feet hit ice-cold Springer Mountain, with three inches of fresh snow.

What an unbelievable journey.

I was always vaguely assuming a six-month finish, which means today I would have summitted Katahdin. Instead, thanks to my learning curve and the weather and the physical issues (knee and feet) that I thought would be easier to overcome, I celebrated in a different, but still awesome, way: I summitted Moosilauke and finished the Whites.

The White Mountains! Stick a fork in them!

The day went thusly: It was a cold morning, but not nearly as cold as the last couple of nights. I stowed the fleece before I left camp (yay!). The trail, surprisingly, was generally easy: lots of flat, with uphills that were rocky but not gymnasticslly so. Blue sky, clear blue sky—the clearest morning I’ve had in the Whites. No fog. No rain. Perfect.

And Mt. Moosilauke was amazing. That may have been one of my top three mountains. Some mountains just feel magical—as though some presence resides there, deep and slow and aware. You know how in Lord of the Rings there are trees that gradually become Entish? Moosilauke felt like a mountain that knew I was up there.

I could see forever. That vista, mountain on mountain on mountain.

(You ever notice that cairns look like Daleks?)

The wind! The wind was so fierce that it grabbed my pack and blew me off my feet several times. It was too cold to linger up there. So I retreated back below treeline (for the last time?).

The trail down into Glencliff was rocky but not steep, then it morphed into easy walking more akin to a public park than a backcountry trail. And at the bottom, something I thought I’d never see again on this hike: summer.

Yes, summer! I went to sleep in winter and I crossed down into summer, and it was magnificent! I love the pine forests upstairs, but being down in the deciduous trees (looking slightly ragged around the edges, for sure), among green fields, in the hot sun—now that was a trailiversary gift.

I decided on the way down to stay here at the hostel. As hostels go, it’s in the middle: comfortably hiker dumpy-grubby, but with a freezer full of microwaveable pizza. And WIFI.

I’ll be out as early as I can manage tomorrow. Tomorrow. The start of a whole different kind of hike.

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Categories: Appalachian Trail | Tags: | 19 Comments

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19 thoughts on “Day 171: All Frodo, all the time

  1. Judy

    Great job, Karma! Happy 6 months!

  2. Beth

    It is all down hill from here…..you could curl up in a little ball and just roll down. Happy 6th month anniversary! It’s been a blast sitting here on my ass following along, hell, I’ve even been encouraged to get outside for a walk occasionally, (as long as it wasn’t to hot)… Pics are once again beautiful, Thanks.

  3. Eileen

    What an accomplishment!!!! What? you think I mean your 6 months? That too. I am caught up on my email at last. The best part is as usual, your posts and photographs. Thanks

  4. Derek Vreeland

    Congrats on conquering the Whites! It sounds like the reunions with NOBOs has been good for you. Keep up the good work (hiking and blogging)!

  5. Lisa Milstead

    Happy 6 month trailversary!! It is all down hill from here! You got this!

  6. Slo & Because

    Hello here Karma: Congratulations to you. We are so proud (with you, for you). I continue to be amazed with that little red-head I met on the trail with hamburger feet and a most generous smile. Now what is your next adventure? Please stay in touch.

    • I miss you guys! Inused to get so excited when I’d roll into a shelter and you were there, or when you walked down the blue-blazed trail if I got there first. Such fun! March in the Smokies, lol.

  7. Marge

    I had to look up the word cairn! Thank you for adding new words to my limited vocabulary! You are doing so well. Those vistas are magnificent. You must feel like you are on top of the world sometimes. Congratulations on 1400! I remember you saying even it is 6 days, 6 weeks, it’ll be what it will be! Ok, you, SOBO thru, you know how it is done….one step at a time!!

    • Yay! New words!

      They use cairns above treeline when there’s nothing to paint a blaze on.

      Looking forward to the next step. But just one! I do miss home, though. Walking home now, however else it goes! Can’t wait to hug you!

  8. I love that Moosilauke is your favorite Mt. I’ve been on top of Moosilauke and not been able to see 3 feet ahead of you. It’s the weather that makes the favorite Mt. Loved the pics. Next year!!!
    Ed

  9. They do look like daleks! Nice catch πŸ™‚ Congrats on finishing the whites! I was just up climbing Mt. Washington a couple of weeks ago. It has been so cold down here in Connecticut too that I was feeling for you and the cold mornings in the mountains. I hope the nice weather keeps up so you can truly enjoy the next leg of your hike.

  10. Congrats on your 6 months! And conquering the whites! Keep on Keeping on!

  11. Shari wb

    SIX MONTHS!!!! Woot! 1400 miles. Tons of feel good milestones for you lately.

    Congrats! πŸ™‚

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