Bald Mountain

The weather report called for a mix of rain and snow, temps in the mid 30s, with wind gusts 40 to 50mph. The day’s journey would take us over Bald Mountain at just over 5000′. I was hoping to cap a good week with a 20 mile day.
The talk in the shelter that morning centered not only on what to wear, but as importantly, what you had that was dry and what your bailout plan was as conditions definitely presented the threat of hypothermia.
Odd as it may sound, the weather cooperated. No rain to begin, snow and freezing rain, which effectively bounced off raincoat and pants.
From afar you could catch glimpses of a snow covered peak, Bald. Once on top it was incredible. Mostly bare (thus bald) the few sparse trees were frosted with a combination of ice and snow. Although overcast and gray they had a brilliance to them that is tough to describe and not revealed in this picture. It was incredible.

As predicted the wind was howling and I was blown off course once or twice. Having left my gloves home over my short hiatus, I thankfully found a pair in a hiker box at a hostel prior to the climb. Whew!
At about 15 miles there was Trail Magic. Sugary, junky fruit pies never tasted so good! The sun that shown briefly was replaced with rain but the remainder of the hike in to No Business Shelter was uneventful. A good day for sure. Here’s another cool picture, compliments of the snow.

What and Why?

One of the things that always amazes me about hiking, not just here on the AT but anytime I’m out in the woods are the “relics” you encounter, be it stone walls, over grown roads or old foundations. What were they used for why were they built and by whom? I passed two such relics in the middle of the week.
The first, in the middle of nowhere was a 12 to 15 foot cement dam behind which was a beautiful pond. Salamanders, check. Fish, check (wish I had a pole). Frogs, check. There was no sign of a spillway which would indicate the use of water power. Someone’s private fishing hole? Part of a long gone country estate? If nothing else it thankfully gives me something to think about over the next few miles.
Another point of interest was a grave from the civil war. A 13 year old Union soldier killed by Confederate forces. Yes, 1850 – 1863. It’s almost unimaginable. An unfortunate but important part of our history. Again, things to ponder to help the miles pass.
To contrast the last paragraph here’s a newt a saw that helped to brighten the day!

Nostalgia

For those of you familiar with me and the Binghamton, NY area in the late 1970s and early 1980s you know why I stopped at this shelter.

The money earned at the Roaring Fork restaurant helped put me through graduate school (think beers, my first motorcycle etc). Good memories then, new memories now!
To arrive here I left Standing Bear Farm hostel at just around 8:15. Hit the first shelter at just after 11am so made the decision to push through to Roaring Fork. It was worth it. More trail magic just prior to Max Patch and the vistas from Max Patch were unbelievable. As another hiker said, it was like the mountain scenes from The Sound of Music, sans singing of course. Seriously not enough wows to describe the views.
With 15 in the books the first day back, I’m pleased. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow, but I have to say, the profile and tread way of the trail seemed different, easier today. People have said that Georgia/North Carolina and New Hampshire/Maine are the hardest. Wouldn’t that be nice! Sent from my iPhone

Three Parts

For those of you who are friends with me on FB, you’ll know that I’ve returned to the trail. For those that are not friends with me on FB, I’ve returned to the trail! Part One – Carpenter or Magician?
My orthopedist describes himself as a carpenter. He cuts things up and puts them back together. I think he’s more of a magician. He made my two shoulders work again and he resembled my son’s elbow when he got t-boned in a cycling accident. I went to see him about my balky knee. With a shot of cortisone, some good anti-inflammatories and the promise that I won’t be incurring any long-term damage, the decision to return was an easy one (define easy?). So the adventure continues. Part Two – Quick Changes
A number of people were asking about these sorts of things so here goes. Before I left (the first time) I took a number of body measurements. Weight, arm, thigh, waist, chest and hip measurements. After nearly three weeks of hiking I had lost 9 pounds, arms, chest and thighs were 1/2 inch smaller, waist was 1 1/2 smaller ( I needed new pants) and hips across the bottom was about the same. Oh, and my beard started to come in although the folks I was hiking with though it was coming in too slowly

Part Three – The New Plan
Rather than pick up where I left off, I skipped ahead to approximately where I would have been. I did this primarily because if the hiking gods (which of course includes the blister gods, the gastro gods and everyone else) look favorably upon my efforts and I do make it to Maine, I would prefer to hike Katahdin in mid-September or earlier, rather than early October. If all that happens, I will gladly return to this part of the world and hike the section I missed.