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Troll's 2010 AT Journal

11 September 2010

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11 September 2010, Mount Washington Auto Road, 11.6
We went and picked Rocket at her hotel at 07:30 and Gipc Girl was there to send us off. We made a quick stop at McDonald's. I ran into an old geocaching friend in the parking lot at McDonald's. The Old Prospector was just getting into his truck when I approached him. I started asking him questions as to why he was not living in New Mexico. He said he did not like it there and moved back to Lisbon Falls in Maine. While I was talking to him he had a baffled look on his face and I did not realize why until after I left. He probably did not realize who I was with a beard. I have never had a beard before I started this hike. I probably should have introduced myself.

When we went through the gate house for our ride up Hopper got a free "This car climbed Mount Washington" bumper sticker. Rocket asked if she could get one and so did I. The lady gave us three extra one. I think I am going to put mine on my sleeping pad and cross off the word car and right the word ass. The sticker will face out when my sleeping pad is attached to the back of my pack.

When we got to the top of Washington the sun was out and we could see all the way to the ocean. What a beautiful day it is. The temperature at the top was 24 degrees with the wind chill factor. Rocket and I put on full rain suites to guard against the wind. I signed the hiker register and we had out pictures taken together inside and at the summit.

We headed north until we reach the Cog Railroad and walked along it for a little bit. The cog train came while we were there and Rocket and Hopper mooned it. I am not sure if they really mooned it or just dropped one outter layer of there pants, I was to far away to see. It is a tradition among thru hikers to moon the cog train. I don't know when it start or why but my guess it start was because it was in retaliation for the coal that the cog train burns and for the pollution it puts out.

Hopper took a good fall in the beginning of the hike right after we took a wrong turn in the trail. She was fine but bent one of her hiking poles real good. She is going to have to buy new ones in Gorham, she does not have Leki poles so there is no warrentee's on her poles. The three of us made it around the back side of Clay Mountain where Hoppers dog started pucking. At that point Rocket and I continued on without Hopper. Hopper decided to turn back at this point. She was originally going to hike two miles with us before she turned back but this made her decision.

When I reached the ridge above Madison Springs Hut they were running a helicopter with loads of lumber to it. They are in the process of removing it and rebuilding it. I took a small video of it with my camera.

At the hut I stopped for a break where Rocket caught up to me. We decided to make that a lunch break. We looked at the map and actually contemplated taking a short cut and skipping going over Mount Madison but another section hiker told us the trail we were thinking of taking was very steep and almost straight down. We continued on the AT. I would not have been able to deal with it later if I had taken the short cut.

Thru ought the day at the high peaks there were groups of people flying flags on all the mountains that were 5,000 feet or higher. They called it doing the 48. That was because there are 48 mountains in New Hampshire above 5,000 feet. We witnessed three of those flags being flow. I think that date had some significance too because it was 9/11.

Rocket has a hard time climbing rocks from what I noticed. I passed her. I know she wanted me to stick close by but she has a full pack and I was slack packing and had to make it to my destination.

After getting over Mount Madison the decent was for ever and ever. It was a steep downhill for the rest of the day. The first part of the climb down was walking across rocks while also trying to go downhill. This lasted for about two miles until I reached the tree line. It did not get any better below the tree line. The trail remained steep and ankle twisting. It was impossible to pick up speed and I was way behind schedule. I was having doubts about getting out before dark. Hopper was supposed to be waiting at the Mount Washington Auto road with a car in case I was unable to make it to Pinkham Notch. I reach one trail intersection when the Appalachian Trail direction arrow had been scratched out and someone had scribbled an arrow in pointing in the opposite direction. That had me wondering if someone was doing this a a joke or if the sign was actually wrong. I took a gamble and went in the direction of the scribbled arrow. After a while I came to another intersection and that same thing had been done to this sign and I fallowed the scribble again. The intersection that followed these two had no scribbling on it, I felt at ease again. Hopper had called my cell phone during these period of uneasiness of walking and said she would wait at the parking area at the auto road as long as they would let her.

At 6:30 she called me and said they were kicking her of the auto road and as soon as she said that I lost connection and could not get her back. I picked up my pace drastically and it was not for the fact that Hopper had to get off the auto road, the sun was going down. It started getting dark. I knew I was getting close to the road but was not sure how close. It was dark enough that I had to stop and get my head lamp on. It could not see any longer without the use of my head lamp. I was comfortable walking with the head lamp, that was until I reached an intersection and there was no sign saying which way the AT went. I could hear two people talking off in the woods. I said "Hello" in a loud voice and they said hello back. I walked in that direction and said hello again. They said up here. They were on an over look. I told them that I though I was lost and that I did not know what direction the AT went. He introduced himself as Doug and took me back to the intersection and pointed to the right and said the auto road was only 100 yards ahead. I thanked him and went on my way. I made it to the auto road and decided to walk down it. I did not want to walk two more miles to the next road crossing with my dim head lamp.

As soon as I got on the auto road I stuck my thumb out to the first vehicle coming down and it pulled over. The lady in the passenger set said they had five other hikers in there van but could open the back and leave it open until I got down. The guy driving did not like that idea so I told them not to worry about it and let them go and thanked them.

As soon as I got on the auto road I stuck my thumb out to the first vehicle coming down and it pulled over. The lady in the passenger set said they had five other hikers in there van but could open the back and leave it open until I got down. The guy driving did not like that idea so I told them not to worry about it and let them go and thanked them. After they left a few cars and about 20 shuttle vans came down the mountain and none of them would stop. I was flabbergasted that none of them would stop. I guess it was a good think it was not an emergency. I don't know why one of the Washington shuttles would not stop to help out a stranded hiker. I guess they were in to much of a hurry to go home but it would take less than three minutes out of their time. That is the problem with people today, then don't want to go out of their way to help someone. It is all about them and no one else. It is to bad that people have turned out that way. I may have been that way before my hike, I would like to think not. I know I will make a very conscious effort now not to be like that. I ended up walking three miles down the auto road.
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2010 thru hike

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