…that stands for long slow distance. Last weeked I joined some family and friends for a trek up the highest peak in the Northeast. Due to a late start (shocking!), hiking buddy and photographer extraordinair Shawn Newman and I had to keep a steady pace to make the scenic route to the Lakes of the Clouds Hut in time for dinner.
Hiking is one of those activities that you reminise on how fun it was but when you’re really into it, it’s not that fun. The views are spectacular and it’s great to be in the wilderness, but humping 50lbs on your back up rocky hills for hours doesn’t make me act like this kid. The feelings of accomplishment and peace are well worth the effort nonetheless.
After summiting Franklin and Monroe we passed by Lakes of the Clouds hut and searched for a camping spot (1/4 mi from the hut and 2o0 yds off trail of course). On the way we encountered George, a hiker with a prosthetic leg. He was struggling to inch up the mountain along side his wife and dog but made small talk with us in between panting and looking semi-defeatedly up the trail. We continued down, dropped off our gear, and headed back to the hut to join the rest of our hiking party for dinner. We passed by him again and saw that after about 20 minutes, his party had moved the equivalent of about 2 minutes. His wife accepted my offer to carry her pack (she probably weighed 110 lbs but her pack was significantly heavier than mine) and we returned to the hut about 10 minutes later. It wasn’t until an hour later that George and Co. made it there. To say it was a humbling and inspiring encounter goes would be an understatement.
After a pretty comfortable night’s sleep, we headed up to the hut for a primal-compromised breakfast and headed for the summit of Mount Washington. I’ve never seen weather like this ever on any mountain up in NH! We were greeted with 60 degree temperature and a “breeze” of 5-10mph!
After a relaxing lunch we headed down the Gulfside Trail to the Jewell Trail back to the car. Hiking down is like doing negatives – it’s less taxing on the heart than going up, but more demanding mentally and (one could argue) muscularly.