Presidential range, Mt. Madison

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Aug 25 , 1983 Thursday (335.6 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Up early to take advantage of the nice weather, and to be able to travel the 14.4 miles to Pinkham Notch Basecamp. Fourteen miles with the type of terrain that I had to cover today would be quite a bit. I ate my own oatmeal for breakfast this morning rather than staying for the meal. If I stayed for the meal I would have had to stay for the cleanup. But I managed to get some hot water from the crew for my oatmeal and then I asked if I was "all settled" as far as having done enough to compensate for last nights stay and meal. They said yes, so off I went for my second climb up the cone of Mt. Washington, this time with my pack. (I apparently signed the guest register this morning as seen in a photo sent to me twenty-five years later by an inspired hiker who read my journal before his hike. He remembered me when he went through Lake of the Clouds hut where he took this photo. I believe the drawing to the right may have been drawn by "The Mill Hunkey", another thru-hiker, who used to draw a lot of characters in the registers. My reference to "Go Winston!" refers to Winston Lumsden, "the Great Appalachian Trail Athlete" as he called himself. I knew he had a long way to go to get to Springer Mountain in Georgia. Someone has dated an entry incorrecly since the one below me is dated the day before mine. Perhaps I signed the day before and put the wrong date? Could be, since I would have wanted to leave as soon as I could in the morning. However, my short entry and reference to "Go Winston!" seems to indicate a morning entry made as I was on my way out the door. Anyway, Thanks for the photo, Arius)

It was another beautiful morning, and there was no one to speak of on the top when I arrived. That was nice, except I had a hard time finding someone to get into the one room post office for my package. I had been eating so good at the huts that I really did not need any of the supplies that I had sent to the summit, but picked them up anyway. I packed up the supplies and headed down the trail, descending from the cone toward the Northern Presidentials surrounding the Great Gulf Wilderness Area.

Dropping off the cone, the trail crossed the cog railway and turned sharply to the left to follow the Gulfside trail. I made no mention of "mooning " the passengers on the train; perhaps since it was not coming through at this time. I had heard that dropping your shorts was occasionally done by hikers, and since I had "mooned" back in New Jersey it seems likely I would have done it if given the opportunity. Once again the trail skirted the summit of the major peaks on its way around the Gulf. I passed to the left side of Mt. Clay and continued on toward Mt. Jefferson, but passed to the side of it too. At the junction of the Airline Trail, which leads .8 miles to the summit of Mt. Madison. There was a particularly impressive view of Madison, which the trail then continued toward. Madison Springs Hut is reached before passing over Madison summit. I stopped in at the hut and saw Dick and Lan Potteiger, a couple of thru-hikers going north. They had decided not to go up Mt. Madison, I guess they were going to take a different trail down the mountain that began at the hut, rather than the official trail that lead over Adams and followed the Osgood Path down the mountain. I opted for the official route. I was happy that the official route actually passed over the summit. This seemed like a novel thing since all the other peaks had been skirted. The view was great. The climb was short, but steep, and a couple of "goofs" were at the summit in t-shirts and shorts and no other gear to protect themselves should the weather change. The descent to Pinkham notch from Madison was long and involved much downhill. Over three thousand feet ticked off before I reached Pinkham. The last few miles after Madison Gulf Trail Junction were not as bad, just a walk in the woods so to speak.

At Pinkham camp, I asked if they needed help. They welcomed me and set me up to work in the kitchen washing dishes in exchange for room and board. Everyone was very nice, one girl even got me some cherry chip ice cream while I was working. I had to stop washing in order to finish it off. After the dishes were all cleaned and everyone was done cleaning the kitchen, one of the boys took me to a nearby beaver pond just before sunset to see if we could see some beaver activity, but unfortunately we were not lucky that night.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

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