Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Backpacking The Whites - Part 3

Day 3
Tuesday, September 25, 2009
Kinsman Shelter to Lafayette Place
and An Evening at MRL

(Good Morning Kinsman Pond)

I woke up around 6 am with the rest of the well rested campers. It was hard to fall asleep last night given all of the "Yale-ing" going on from across camp. The air was crisp but the clouds had finally departed. I was very happy to finally see a day where I knew I was going to be able to dry my clothing and gear. Especially knowing that tonight I'd be sleeping in a cabin at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge. I walked off the tent platform and headed for the pond to get a glimpse of the crystal clear deep blue skies. The sun was shining brightly against the mountains all ready as the air was quickly warming. I grabbed my breakfast on the way back to camp and quickly packed up.

After breakfast, we headed up the trail to the top of North Kinsman. As we made it to the junction with Fishin Jimmy and the Ridge Trail, I dropped my pack in the woods resolved in knowing I'd be coming back this way soon. On top of the mountain I challenged the students to name as many peaks as they could... they actually got up to maybe 4 or 5 while I entertained them with naming the others. While they proceeded to participate in a morning yoga session, I headed down through the brush to take a seat on the top of the lower ledges high up on North Kinsman. I enjoyed sopme more time alone taking various pictures of the views toward Franconia Ridge and beyond. After yoga we played games and as the group began to contemplate moving on, I took off down the trail.
(Franconia Ridge)

I headed solo towards South Kinsman, wanting to bag the peak while up there. I ran down off of North, across the col and up to the top of South. I had forgot how steep and tough a climb the way up to South Twin can be when you're speed hiking. As I neared the top I saw my friends from Yale hanging out in the bright beautiful morning sun, soaking in what the earth has to offer. I walked over and talked with them about the rest of their adventure. They offered me cheese and peanuut butter to which I gleefully accepted. After talking with them awhile and cracking jokes, I made my leave and headed back for North. Not long into my run back I ran past my UNH bretheren and thanked them for a wonderful stay. I was on my own again... and heading for town once more.
(Yale on South Kinsman)

I picked up my pack and started hiking with Magic, a thru-hiker from Virginia who avoided working in the coal mines (a family tradition) to become an environmental scientist. I enjoyed some great conversation about his journey through life and the trail and what brought him here. We together enjoyed watching the water continue to gush down the Fishin Jimmy trail.. no way to avoid it as we got a little wet. Then, at the hut, I lost him.
(Magic on F'In Jimmy)

(Here I come!)

At Lonesome Lake I stopped to take in the views of Franconia Ridge from the waters edge. I overheard a mother telling her daughters what they were looking at, except she was terribly wrong in pointing out the peaks. So, I took the moment to interject and edjucate them a little better. They were extremely thankful and the mother asked if I had ever hiked over there. We got into a conversation about how her interpretation of what the Garfield Ridge was going to be like is vastly different from reality. I shared with her history of the building of Greenleaf Hut on the slopes of Lafayette, the existence of a hotel on the mountain summit and the unrelenting rugged terrain of the ridge over to Galehead. I enjoyed the conversation much, soaking in the sun, staying warm and actually thinking of going for a swim.
(Franconia Ridge From Lonesome Lake)

(Hello There)

I needed to carry on however so I took off and quickly hiked down the rest of the way to the valley below. I loaded everything back into my car and headed for town, stopping at the Basin along the way to look for Pocoloco. I had seen him again while hiking and once again offered him a ride to which he said he'd accept. I had stopped to talk to people for so long that by the time I found him, he was walking on route 3 just a few miles from downtown Woodstock. A ride was not necessary anymore yet I still ushered him into my car and I drove him to Chip's Hostel. After dropping him off I headed into town and bought a pair of Peppers Sunglasses I had been eyeballing a few days prior. I was happy doing this for myself, then headed for the grocery store to resupply some needs.

At the store I bought a huge tub of ice cream and some cones as well as extra S'more materials for my last night in the mountains. I then made my way back through town and head up route 112 towards Kinsman Notch and then over to Ravine Lodge Road. At the top fo the road, I parked my car, exited and went looking for the class.m I checked in at the front desk of the lodge and found members of the class in the cabin all ready. Turns out an injury to one of the students had them here a day earlier where they enjoyed much downtime. I went back to my car where I sprawled out my soaking wet clothes and gear about my car and carried the more expensive items to the clothesline near the cabin. So happy to be dry again. I made my way inside where I grabbed a hot shower, cleaned everything and jumped into some clean and dry clothing. I was comfy once more.
(Class During Sunset)

Dinner was great, served family style in the lodge. In order to see who got dessert, the entire room played a round of the price is right. We had to guess the price of various items on display thanks to the kitchen staff. Guess what? Our table won! It was great, we took photos of our excitment before munching down on pumpkin cake. I invited all of the guests of the lodge outside to enjoy my history lesson, we only welcomed two extra guests, both ladies from New York City. They all sat outside along the hillside above the leachfield while I have the lesson, they also drew on the blank canvas and internalized their journey here.
(Dessert Winners!)

We returned inside to the confines of the library where the class debriefed their day and previewed tomorrow. While this went on I browsed the various books and journals lining the walls of the library. So much history here, such a wonderful place to visit while the smell of aging books wafts through the air. After ther meeting concluded I walked intot he room with the tub of ice cream and the box of cones as I watched 10 faces light up like this would be the best meal they'd had in days. We sat around licking smiles onto our faces. I sat off in the corner alone, and just enjoyed watching the smiles grow and the tummies fill with delight. Then, we turned to the cabin, where I slept soundly in a bunk, on a mattress, with a pillow under my head and a blanket wrapped around my body. I'm rested again and ready for tomorrows adventure on high.
(Good Night Moon)

(To Be Continued)