Hiking Trail Journals
Appalachian Trail 2003 -
Entry #126 - August 28, 2003
8:20 PM - What a difference a day makes! Had
a great night's sleep at the hostel and then we were off to climb
Mt Moosilauke - at 4,802 feet, it's our first mountain above tree
line. The climb up looked pretty intimidating on our profile -
3,000 feet in 3 miles. But, up we went. I think the excitement
of being there and the wondering of what we'd see up top drove
us on. We barely had a chance to tire out. Before too long we were
on the South Peak. It was getting chilly and windy, but we were
pretty warm from the hike up. There were still trees - 6' or so
pines - lining the trail. From the South Peak we followed the ridge
for a bit on the gravelly trail. Two older hikers passed us going
south & they were in full gear - pants and jackets. We were
in shorts and t-shirts. After we got farther down the ridge, all
of a sudden the summit appeared. It was a rocky, barren mountaintop
with the clouds racing across it. The wind was fierce, and cold
as the dead of winter. I put on my jacket and Andy put on his fleece
before we headed for the top. Once up there the clouds were breaking
and we could see the Whites before us, and everything else until
the ends of the earth. We had arrived.
Didn't stay at the top too long, as we were starting
to freeze with the wind. The temp was around 45 I think, but it
was definitely down near freezing with the wind chill. We hiked
down to Beaver Brook Shelter where we had originally planned to
spend the night. It was only about 2:00, though, so we decided
to have lunch and move on.
The climb down the other side of Moosilauke was
quite a trip. Very steep, with steps ground into or pounded onto
a near vertical rock in some areas. Rebar for handholds. There
was a waterfall down the side for about a mile. Very beautiful.
The rest of our hike took us to Gordon Pond,
where we're tenting. It's a bit off the trail, and not a "designated" spot,
so we're all alone. We're right on the edge of the water, and saw
our first moose of our trip. It didn't get too close, though -
it was pretty spooked.
Maybe rain tomorrow. It's so cold out, though,
that I wouldn't be surprised to see snow.
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Preparing to Hike
the Appalachian Trail?
Commonly used guides by A.T. thru-hikers
include the Appalachian
Trail Guides (published by the Appalachian Trail
Conference), the Appalachian
Trail Thru-Hiker's Companion, and the Appalachian
Trail Data Book. The guide series includes a guide
for each section, along with a series of trail maps. The
Thru-Hiker's Companion has helpful info on towns, shelters,
and water. The Data Book has basic distance info for road
crossings, shelters, and other features. All are excellent
tools for use during a long distance hike.