Start (approx.): 5:45 am Camp (approx.): 8:20 pm
4000 footers climbed: Cannon (8:00 am), Liberty (4:55 pm), Flume (6 pm)
Miles hiked: 14.5
I pack up and am happy to get to the Lonesome Lake trail junction. I drop my pack and stuff the Monkeys, my camera, InReach and some snacks in my rain jacket pockets. I’m entering the Cannon Balls as they’re called. Big rocks to scramble on steeply to get to the top. Somehow when I enter the easier flat part my left leg starts to bother me. This doesn’t make any sense, I’ll try to ignore it. I find the viewing tower on top of Cannon and enjoy taking some pictures. It looks like it’s going to be another nice day.
I quickly descend, pick up the pack again and follow the Lonesome Lake trail down. I walk around the northern edge of the lake since I’ve never done that before and get some water at the hut.
Instead of going down the Cascade Brook trail and up the Liberty Springs trail I decide to continue down on the Lonesome Lake trail and go up the Falling Waters trail. I figure this will save me a few miles hiking with the backpack on and I’ll just do an out and back from Little Haystack to Liberty and Flume. I’m hoping I’ll be a bit faster without the backpack and maybe my leg will be happier. (In hindsight this really didn’t save me as much as I thought).
It’s hot and humid today and I’m sweating buckets. I have a two liter water capacity and I drink as much as I can the last time I cross the brook at Falling Waters. Fully loaded with water and food I move really slowly up the steep trail. I leap frog with two guys from Florida who aren’t used to these kind of trails. We’re all very relieved when we finally make it to the top of little Haystack. After a break and food I stash my pack in the bushes and head out to Liberty and Flume. It’s easy terrain but my left leg is really acting up. It’s so weird that it starts hurting when I take my pack off. I try stretching and massaging and sometimes it will go away for a bit. I’m definitely not moving as fast as I could have. It’s almost 5pm when I get to Liberty where I have a nice chat with an older lady, I hope to be hiking like she does when I’m her age.
After Liberty it’s on to Flume and back. My leg is feeling better and I make good time back to Haystack. It is getting dark however and clouds are rolling in. By the time I get back to my pack it’s getting hard to see in the dark and mist and with the increasing wind I’m not sure it’s smart to go on. I decide to play it safe and stay put for the night. Maybe that will give my leg some time to heal up as well. I find a gravelly spot and set up my tent.