It started raining sometime during the night and I was really bummed knowing that I would have to pack up in the rain and hike eight tough miles to Franconia Notch. Fortunately the rain paused long enough for me to pack up without getting everything too wet but the tent was soaked so it weighed more than usual.
I started hiking a few minutes after 6:00 and managed to keep my feet dry for about twenty minutes. After that it was hopeless so I quit worrying about it and just hiked as best I could. The trail was pretty moderate for a while but quickly became very steep and rocky and at times it was very slow going – using my hands to pull myself up big boulders. That is tiring!
Eventually I made it to the peak of South Kinsman Mountain and had some good views above treeline. I didn’t want to get my phone wet so I did not take any photographs. I had hiked up South Kinsman without wearing my rain jacket because I knew it would make me sweat a lot but at the summit I put my jacket on to avoid getting chilled. I was wet but comfortable – not too warm and not too cool. From the South Kinsman summit I hiked back down into the trees and stayed below treeline for the rest of the day.
Overall it was a short but demanding hike. Climbing boulders both on the ascent and the descent really slows me down, especially when it’s wet. Now I can understand why experienced thru-hikers told me not to expect to hike lots of miles in the White Mountains. No matter how fit you are the trail is just not made for a ‘walk in the woods’.
I caught a shuttle from Franconia Notch to the town of Lincoln, New Hampshire. It’s a cute little tourist town with lots of interesting attractions. I saw a zipline park down the street but decided not to try it out based on my previous zipline experience. I also passed on the sunset bus ride to look for moose in the mountains.
I’m staying at the Comfort Inn and have been able to get all my gear cleaned up, hand washed clothes and picked up a few items at the outfitter and the grocery store. I’ve also eaten two big meals – a late lunch and supper – and feel like I’m about to explode. I will eat a good breakfast in the morning before the shuttle picks me up to take me back to the trailhead.
Tomorrow I have another tough hike up Franconia Ridge to Mount Lincoln and Mount Lafayette then I will climb up and over Mount Garfield before stopping at the Garfield Ridge Shelter. It’s only twelve miles but it will be challenging. I’ve stocked up on Rice Krispies Treats!
Sorry about not having any photos today. I’ll try to do better tomorrow if there’s a break in the rain. Also, please note that cell coverage in the Whites is spotty so I may be late in getting my daily updates posted.