Jenn had a prior commitment for the morning so I made other hiking plans. Quinoa, another 2013 thru hiker, lives right across the bridge in Hanvover, NH, so he and his friend Melissa came and picked me up. We tried to stop by the Ice Cream Man‘s house to say hello but he wasn’t home so we headed right to the trailhead for Smarts Mountain. There were gorgeous blue skies but it was very cold, and very windy once we got up the mountain a little bit. We went about 1.5 miles to a ledge with a view of the fire tower. Melissa and I had snowshoes but Quinoa did not so he was postholing quite a bit towards the end.
I got out my camera to snap a few pictures and taking my hands out of my gloves for twenty seconds froze them. They were already slightly chilled since the wind had been picking up as we got closer to the top, but it was scary how quickly they became non-functional. I put my heaviest gloves on and started running back down the trail on my snowshoes. When they hadn’t warmed after ten minutes of that, I stopped in a sunny and relatively wind-protected area and stuck my hands down my pants (I had too many layers on to get to my armpits). Two minutes was enough to bring the warmth rushing painfully back into my fingers. Pants and armpits, the warmest places you can get.
Quinoa and Melissa dropped me off to meet Jenn and we hopped on the road to New Hampshire. We were headed to Jackson to spend the night but first we stopped in Bath to see Tim and his castle. Tim has been building this castle for years and intends it to be an art camp for pre-teens when it’s finished. He’s getting ready to start a crowdfunding campaign to get the money necessary to finish it up more quickly. I tried to get my camera out again to take pictures of the castle but it wouldn’t work. I had gotten a lens error twice earlier on my hike, and now it was just not working at all. Only cell phone pictures from here on out until I figure out the problem and get it fixed.
We all drove to Littleton for dinner and then Jenn and I continued on to Jackson to get ready for our winter ascent of Mount Washington tomorrow. Our guide was kind enough to let us stay in the office there overnight. There are some other climbers staying here as well so we all chatted for a bit before bed.