22 , 1983 Monday (370.9 mtg) From
Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal
early to beat any rain, if I could, this morning. Within a mile
I made a sharp left and began traversing the long Franconia Ridge.
Most of the hiking would be above treeline and exposed to the elements.
I did not get up early enough to catch the sunrise, but the morning
was beautiful none-the-less. The sky was just clear enough to get
a view, but it looked as though bad weather was on the way.
From the point of attaining the ridge, the trail dipped for about
a mile in a slight descent before continuing on a climb culminating
at the summit of Mt Lafayette, the mountain I had photographed in
all its' splendor over Lonesome Lake. But first, the trail took
me over Little Haystack, and then up to the summit of Mt. Lincoln.
Although the clouds remained at a low ceiling, the views were more
spectacular than any so far on the trail. The clean, crisp mountain
air invigorated my spirits as I made my way across the open mountaintops.
I prayed for the rain to hold off. Near the summit of Lafayette,
I met a couple of hikers who had spent the night at Greenleaf Hut
a mile down the mountainside on a different trail.
Descending off of Lafayette across the Garfield Ridge, I became
concerned that I had gone the wrong way since I had not seen any
blazes lately. I backtracked a bit and met the previously mentioned
hikers again, and discussed the situation with them. There had been
clear trail, but no blazes. Figuring that we were still on the trail
I continued and eventually found a very old, faint blaze at a junction
farther down the trail. I was on track. Views back toward Franconia
Ridge from the Garfield Ridge and Mt Garfield itself were equally
stunning despite the low clouds. At least I could see something,
unlike when I went over Mt Moosilauke.
The descent off of Mt. Garfield involved yet another steep grade,
but the distance was only about one mile. From there the next couple
of miles were much more tame. As I approached Galehead Hut, one
of the huts located directly beside the trail, tiny raindrops began
to fall. I met a couple of southbounders on their way out after
a hearty breakfast of pancakes - the leftovers from this morning
that I would not get since they beat me to them. I just entered
the premises at Galehead when a cold downpour developed in the mountain
skies. The wind picked up and the trail was quickly transformed
into a climate not fit for man nor beast. I really did not want
to go on in this kind of weather, yet I had only come just over
ten miles. I mulled around a bit waiting to see what the weather
would do, and then finally decided to stay when I found out that
they had room for the night. I really did not want to pay the price
the AMC was charging either, but grudgingly gave in and got out
the travelers checks. Total bill of $25.75 for supper, lodging,
and breackfast. Suddenly my luck changed when one of the croo decided
that it was time to do what no one really wants to do - work with
human feces. I was told if I helped out with "certain chores",
I would be reimbursed. I stayed for "free" as a result
of helping out in the kitchen, and helping them "snap a crapper"
as they called it. Snapping the crapper involved using a couple
of sturdy poles to lift a 55 gallon drum of human waste from the
toilet area and hauling it over to an area where, at some point
down the road, a helicopter would come and transport it down to
the valley - never to be seen again. I retained the receipt and
present it as proof that one night in an AMC hut almost cost me
about 3% percent of my budget for the entire trip.
All in all I ate well, kept dry, met many nice people, including
Bruce Emerson and his gorgeous daughter and her girl friends. I
also met someone who claimed to have hiked the Continental Divide
in Illinois, Mom took the package of goodies she had been gathering,
including $150 in money orders, and sent it out airmail to Gorham,
New Hampshire. I would arrive there in about five days. (cost $5.92)(see
Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983