Day 3: September 6, 2014

Start (approx.): 6:10 am           Camp (approx.): 9:00 pm

4000 footers climbed: Lincoln (7 am), Lafayette (7:40 am), Garfield (10:25 am), Owl’s Head (6 pm)

Miles hiked: 17.2

I’m not sure if staying on the ridge was such a great idea. It was super windy and of all things I forgot to pack ear plugs. I hardly slept at all. At least my body got some rest.

I pack up my soaking wet tent, sleeping in a cloud is always a good idea. ; )

It’s still foggy but at least I don’t have to navigate by headlamp. On Lincoln I meet two other hikers just breaking up camp. They’re heading down today, the weather forecast sounds pretty iffy. Rain and possible thunderstorms. And I’m planning on hiking Owl’s head this afternoon, sounds like fun! ; )

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Going down Lafayette and up Garfield the trail is rough but I get distracted by the sky opening up a bit and giving me a bit of views. Maybe the weather won’t be so bad after all?

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The Franconia Brook trail isn’t as bad as I had feared. In June someone had told me it was like walking down a creek bed but there were actually a few good stretches of trail as well. I’m looking forward to setting up my tent at 13 Falls camp site and having it dry out a bit. Even if it does rain the flat sites and a good set up should work out nicely. I take my time and stake it out perfectly. Then I move over to the food area where I finally cook some of my pasta. I also cook an extra meal so I can just eat it when I come back tonight. Somehow cooking at night seems to be too much effort. I take my time and chat with the care taker and some other hikers. I finally realize that I should get going if I want to get down Owl’s head before dark. Of course I’m hiking without the pack so my leg hurts, very frustrating, these should be the easy stretches. I’m still moving faster than with the pack on but it’s very annoying.

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I hiked this trail back in June and it’s still muddy and crappy. Unfortunately our wishes for no rain didn’t come true and in a short period of time I’m completely soaked. My rain gear isn’t as good as it used to be! At least I’m staying warm as long as I keep moving. I’m laughing to myself, going up Owl’s head in the rain, what a stupid idea! I’m listening for thunder but only hear two very distant rumblings so I continue on. When I get to the slide it has stopped raining, of course everything is wet but I have my trekking poles and if I just take it slowly I should be okay. I’m surprised how easy it is, I doesn’t feel that slippery at all. I’m thinking I’m the only idiot going up it now until I get to the top and see three guys camped up there. I tell them they can call me nuts and we all laugh. : ) Of course there is the silly extra 1/4 mile to the actual top with all the little trails that don’t fail to confuse me on the way back even if I paid attention on the way in. When I make it back to their camp they offer me hot tea to warm up but I’m a bit too chilled to stop and I don’t want to get stuck on the slide in the dark so I decline. It sounded good though. : ) Luckily the down isn’t as bad as I expect and I’m soon back on the crappy trail.

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The trail is not easy to follow in the dark, I’m glad I know where I’m going. At some point I’m starting to freak myself out thinking about what would happen if my headlamp died. Luckily the light is fine. One thing I didn’t think about is that the rain made the two fords before camp a lot more sketchy. Water is rushing down and the only spot that looks safe to ford in the dark is knee deep. In I go! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous but both fords are crossed and I’m looking forward to getting to my tent and eating a bagel. To my dismay I find my tent completely flooded. The bath tub floor is soaked and so is my bag with dry clothes. I spend the next half hour mopping. What a disheartening experience. I’m guessing the small trenches at the site got flooded as well and all the water just rushed through the mesh. Thank goodness the clothes I’m wearing have pretty much dried so I can sleep in those and best of all my sleeping bag is dry! I crawl in and don’t even have the energy to eat that bagel I was looking forward to.

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