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Appalachian Trail 2003 - Chelsea's Journals

Entry #132 - September 3, 2003

7:10 PM - The day started out great, but ended up in the crapper. Well, kind of.

Woke around 6:30 - customary for the "Hut Life" - and got our stuff together. To our surprise and delight, once we got outside we could see Mt Washington right above us! Not really a beautiful mountain with all the buildings & towers on top of it, but significant nonetheless! Decided to skip the Hut breakfast and head up to the summit while it was clear. We were up in no time since it was only 1.4 to the top. It was almost 9 AM, but the gift shop, etc, weren't open yet since it's "off season." Got our maildrop with our food & checked out the observation deck. We had a great view of the rest of the Presidential Range. Around 10 the shops opened and we sent out some postcards & snacked a bit.

Around 11 we figured we better get moving since it was maybe supposed to rain later. What a great morning for our hike though. Warm, sunny - barely a breeze. On the way down passed the Cog Railroad and we were disappointed the train wasn't going by. Thru-Hikers are supposed to moon it, and the conductor throws coal in response. Oh well.

Somewhere a few miles down (or over, I should say) the trail turned into rocky hell. We hiked a huge boulder field for God knows how long & it really slowed us down. Stopped @ Madison Springs Hut for AYCE baked goods. Yum!! I'm going to miss these Huts.

The clouds were really starting to roll in then, which means roll up on the mtns. Went over Mt. Madison and then it was down more and more and more rocks, 3,000 feet down, to the Osgood Campsite where we're tenting now. The last 4 or 5 miles were the worst section of the trail that I can remember. Before we got below treeline, it was just huge boulders, no cover, atop a ridge, blowing wind & fog. Worse then any of the Pennsylvania rocks, I think. It seemed like we went down forever, and my knees were screaming!!

Anyway, we're here now. Below treeline for the 1st. time in 15 miles, I suppose. We even got everything done before the rain started, and even now it's only sprinkling. Washington at 6,288 feet is done. We really lucked out with great weather over the Presidentials, and we're thankful! Not sure what's up tomorrow. I think it depends on the weather.

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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.




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