Location: Mt. Mousilake
I was feeling good this morning despite having slept in a wet sleeping bag on a cold night. Dagobah and Smurf left before I did with a couple of the section hikers that stayed at the lean-to. As usual, I was the last to leave the shelter.
I crossed the summits of North and South Kinsman easily today. I’m glad I divided the climb up North Kinsman by deciding to hike up to Kinsman Pond to camp last night. I had a good experience in the White Mountains and with the AMC huts, but I am glad to have moved out of the fee charging campsites. Now I’m back to the shelter system as I am used to it and my schedule is less influenced by externalities. I found that I increased my pace through much of the Whites. I think I did so because of the pressure of reaching the huts and designated campsites before other hikers. I especially wanted to get through the Whites before the main herd of northbound thru-hikers arrived and presented more competition for work for stay positions and tent pads.
While I was hiking today, I ran out of energy for some reason. I felt well-rested when I woke up this morning, but still I had some difficulty hiking up Wolf Mountain. Although the bugs were bothering me a bit, I decided to take a nap on a sunny patch of trail that I found. I don’t know how long I slept, but when I woke up the sun had moved significantly in sky and I was in the shade.
I gathered my things quickly and began moving again on the trail. I still had several miles to hike before getting to Beaver Brook Shelter, 1.5 miles up the face on Mt. Moosilauke. I enjoyed the walk down the south face of Mt. Wolf. It didn’t take very long for me to get to the parking lot at the base of Moosilauke, but I could tell that it was late in the day by the color of the sun. I figured I had another couple hours of sunlight, but I decided not to climb Moosilauke this evening. The north side of Moosilauke is a difficult climb. There are signs at the base warning of the difficulty. Instead of risking the chance of getting caught in the dark on Moosilauke without a headlamp, I decided to stealth camp at the bottom of the mountain. I found a flat area a hundred feet from the trail and cleared the branches and shrubs. I made sure to stay very still and quiet when hikers passed and I didn’t set my tent up fully until dark. I didn’t want to advertise that I was camping outside designated campsites and in a forest protection area that had dozens of restrictions on camping. I went to sleep with an uncomfortable feeling that a forest ranger might be walking towards my tent or would wake me up in the night. I could hear the cars in the parking lot at the trailhead. Doors opened and slammed shut until dark. I didn’t like the idea of camping so close to a road and a parking lot on a Friday night, but there was no place else to camp.
By the way, I forgot to mention that I had a bad fall today. I didn’t get hurt, but the fall really pissed me off. I was walking on a series of bog bridges and I came to one that I could tell was poorly anchored. The flash floods yesterday probably knocked it loose. As I approached the log footbridge, I shuffled my feet and tried to step gingerly but quickly over the log. I just got a little too cute and I busted. I splashed into the mud. My poles sank to the foam handles and black mud covered my arms, legs and probably my face. I just laughed, but I thought I might cry. Sometimes I wonder to myself, how much worse can it get? When I fell into the mud, I said ‘Oh really?’ calmly and stood up with a laugh. Sometimes, that is all that can really be done, just laugh and let it go. The fall definitely angered me though, but I can’t let all of the little annoyances bother me or I’ll never complete this trip.