The sun came out today, and I was miserable.
Reason #1: I had cold, wet feet all day. My shoes and socks were still soaked from yesterday, and there is no point in putting dry socks in soaked shoes. Also, the trail was still flooded so I figured they’d just get wet again, and they did.
Reason #2: I feel like the slowest person in the world. I was told before getting to the Whites that my speed would go way down but I thought, or at least hoped, that maybe everyone was exaggerating a little bit. Having a broken big toe doesn’t help because I can’t push off of my right foot, which is very awkward and slowing in steep or scramble-y sections (i.e. everywhere).
Day hikers were racing past us today. Carrying thirty pounds on one’s back makes rock hopping a little more unstable than carrying nothing or a tiny day pack. I walked here from Georgia so I should be in better shape than these people. But I walked here from Georgia: I’m exhausted.
Reason #3: I’ve got the hanger (anger due to hunger). Anyone looking at the amount of food I’m eating would think I’m ridiculous but I feel like I’m starving all of the time. I have to force myself to stop eating so that my food will last until the next town, and since we’re not going as fast as originally thought, I need to stretch it out even more.
Hopefully I will be able to supplement what I have with food at the huts once or twice. Huts are like guest cabins, run by the Appalachian Mountain Club, and cost a ridiculous amount of money to stay at, but thru hikers can do work for stay for dinner and floor space, or work for food for lunch. In the mean time, I’m hangry all day long.
Reason #4: Where is my discipline? With the terrain and speed I’m going, I need to be using every available minute of daylight, and yet I didn’t get up with my alarm this morning. It was cold out and I was cozy in my sleeping bag, so I stayed there way too long. Not smart.
Reason #5: I fell into Cascade Brook. The bridge was out and I’d heard both that you had to ford it, with water up to your waist, and that you could rock hop it. The rocks looked too slanted and far apart for me so I decided to just ford it. My feet couldn’t get any wetter any way and I took off my pants to keep them dry. I thought it was better to start out in the water but keep my stuff dry, than to potentially fall in, getting everything wet and possibly injuring myself.
The rocks on the bottom started out small and easy to walk on, but half way across turned into large stone slabs that were incredibly slick. With the current pushing me, I’d get up a couple of steps and then slide back down. The water was already to my hips and I worried about my pack going under so I backtracked out to look for a better crossing. Nothing. Back into the water and I had just about made it, was only a couple inches’ reach from a rock that I could pull up on, when I slid back down again, the current grabbed me, and I fell in up to my shoulders, pack and all, and started floating downstream since my feet still couldn’t get any purchase on the bottom. I had the straps on my pack all unbuckled before starting the crossing so I was able to get it off quickly and grab onto a rock. Little Bear ran back down to where I was and grabbed my pack from me so it ended up with only a quick dunking in the water.
I finally was able to drag myself out, both shirts now soaked, and grab my trekking poles before they floated away. The pants I’d taken off to keep dry had been looped around my neck and were now partially damp. But there really wasn’t any water in my pack, and if there was, my waterproof stuff sacks did their job. The only way to really dry my clothes is with body heat so I kept the short sleeve shirt on under my rain jacket to finish hiking, and now have it on under my puffy so sleep in. The long sleeve shirt will have to wait. I am warm enough in my sleeping bag despite the damp clothes.
All of these reasons have me with a bad attitude. I had to apologize to the dog today for calling him Riner the Whiner when I realized I was whining as much as, if not more than, he was.
We did 8.8 miles over the Kinsman Mountains and are currently stealth camped at Franconia Notch. The highlight of my day was on top of South Kinsman. We stopped to eat lunch and saw a glider flying by. It saw us watching and looped back around a few times over us, finally coming low enough that we all ducked and ran, although it was probably still fifteen feet above us. The pilot must have had a good laugh.
Yes, the highlight of this day was almost getting knocked off a mountain.