Start (approx.): 3:15 am At last trailhead: 1:40 am At truck: 2:30 am
4000 footers climbed: Waumbek (1:20 pm), Cabot (9:40 pm).
Miles hiked: 35.2
I am determined to be done today so my alarm is set at 3 am. I’m comfortably warm in my sleeping bag but when I start walking I need to wear every piece of clothing that I have. Just after leaving the parking lot I hear a noise and see a giant bull moose looking at me lit by my headlamp. I turn my head back into the direction I need to go and hope he doesn’t follow me.
Jefferson Notch road turns out to be a long downhill and I’m so very sleepy and cold. Around 5 am I decide to take an hour nap until it gets light and maybe a bit warmer as well. I happen upon sign on the left side of the road that says camp B, I go down the little trail for a bit and don’t even bother looking for an actual campsite. Something flat is good enough. I put down my Z-rest and crawl in my sleeping bag. Heaven!
At 6 am I get up again and continue the road walk. I turn onto a rail trail and follow that for a while until I get too fed up with the small rocks. I switch to the road and continue onto 115A and to the town of Jefferson. Along the way I chat with an older guy who is out walking as well, he’s a local and says this isn’t cold, I should come back in the winter. Hahaha.
I realize too late that I could have taken the cut off through the golf course but what’s an extra 1/2 mile at this point? I find the little road that leads up to the Starr King trail and I’m off climbing again. The trail is in good shape and I fly up the mountain. I’m listening to music and am getting a lot of anger out. Very interesting.
I chat with an older couple at the view point of Mt Starr King and breeze on to Mt Waumbek. I’m going fast and am optimistic about the rest of the day! And then, after Waumbek, the trail goes to shit again. It’s overgrown and narrow, there are downed trees and it has slippery rocks and roots. And the best part is that some of the roots stick out but are hidden by the plants lining the overgrown trail. So what do I do? I trip and somehow manage to land with my left on a pointy stick hanging out on the left side of the trail. My right hand is already bruised from other minor falls (landing on the handle of the trekking pole will do that to you) so now both hands are in good shape. I dig out a band aid because I don’t want to get an infection and off I go again. I’m frustrated because I was feeling so good but with this slippery obstacle course of a trail I can’t maintain the speed I had. After summiting south, middle, and north Weeks peaks I’ve had it and on my way up Terrace mountain I’m having a verbal fight with climbing, peaks, never ending crappy trails… It’s a good thing nobody heard me. ; )
In the morning it looked like it was going to be a decent day but on the Kilkenny ridge trail it’s gloomy. The temperature is such that it’s too hot to climb with my wind jacket on but too cold without it on the descents or when I take a short break. On, off, on, off…
After Terrace mountain it soon gets dark again and I get a message that Rich will meet me at Bunnel Notch. I’m looking forward to it because this forest in the dark is really starting to creep me out. We meet up and he’s all excited because I’m almost done. I’m excited too but keep thinking about the miles I’ll still have to hike to get down and to the trailhead. At the cabin on Cabot I’m all ready to call it the summit but then realize that’s not it, there is more hiking to do. Finally we reach the real summit where it’s dark and there are no views in any direction. Yay!!!! Done!!!
We have dinner at the cabin where there is a table to put my last noodle meal on. Bleh! My food bag only has two more pasta meals left and one tuna pouch. I really did need to finish today and I probably would’ve lost my mind if I hadn’t. ; )
I’m pathetic on the way down, I’m so tired and sleepy, I keep asking Rich how much further it is to the road. He suggests that we could set up camp and finish tomorrow. But that is out of the question. I may be pathetic but I’m not a quitter! I want to be done!
Since Rich parked at the Fish Hatchery gate I have an extra two miles of road walking to do to get to the truck but there are promises of chocolate cake and a motel room and the road miles goes by quickly.
I’ve been hiking for about 22 hours but I’m done!!!!