Day 9: September 12, 2014

Start (approx.): 7:08 am            Camp (approx.): 1:21 am

4000 footers climbed: Jackson, Pierce, Eisenhower (11:20 am), Monroe, Washington (3:30 pm?), Isolation (8 pm)

Miles hiked: 22.7

It’s always harder to get up when the weather isn’t that great but I manage to get out of camp and go up Jackson. This part of the ridge is still in the clouds and it’s very gloomy. When the trail gets more exposed it gets down right cold. I have a turtle fur balaclava for a hat (last minute packing decision since my fleece buff had missed the last laundry cycle) and I’m so happy I have it! I even put my regular buff over it for extra warmth. My little mitts are invaluable as well. My camera doesn’t fare so well with the cold and dies when I’m trying to get my peasoup summit shot. The stormy weather is kind of cool but I’m ready for some sunshine after yesterday’s dreary weather and the forecast had said that it would be a beautiful day and sometimes it’s all about expectations.

Back at the camp site I pack up the wet tent and go in to the hut for water. I meet the same work for stay thru hiker I met yesterday at Zealand. He’s living the luxury life! : )

On I go over Pierce (pea soup) and on to Eisenhower. On Eisenhower it finally starts to clear a little bit. Hurray! I can see Washington! And an awesome undercast! On the descent I pass two hikers who recognize the Monkeys from the 4000 footer face book page and we chat for a bit. It was nice to talk to them because clouds had rolled back in and the weather was starting to get me down a bit. A little bit later the sun finally comes out for a bit and I decide to take advantage of it and dry my tent out while soaking up the view. I take some pictures with my phone and notice I have reception so I call Rich. He informs me that the family member, who said he wanted to hike with me and who I was planning on meeting at Lake of the Clouds, hiked to Monroe but then turned back. At this point the sleep deprivation gets the best of me and while I’m talking I’m starting to break down a little bit. I didn’t even look forward to hiking with this person that much but I have been hiking by myself for 8 days now and I’m tired and the weather has been a bit crappy. Sniffle.

Rich immediately goes in to Pie rescue mode (my trailname is Apple Pie) even when I tell him it’s not that big of a deal and I just needed a moment to work through it. I’ll be fine. His initial plan was to hike another double trans prezi tomorrow but he likes the weather forecast to be ideal and it’s not so instead he resolves to meet me and hike with me tomorrow. And eventhough I honestly would have been fine I won’t argue with my husband wanting to hike with me. As long as he doesn’t bring all kinds of good foods and eats them in front of my face. ; )

The tent is nice and dry now and I continue on to Monroe which is not that bad of a climb. Right before the top some hikers are coming down and ask me about the trail. They couldn’t find the trail continuing down the other side so were going back down the way they came. I tell them there is indeed a trail going down the other side and I’m planning on taking it. They need to end up at the hut so I offer to guide them there. It’s foggy again so it is a little bit harder to see but the trail is pretty obvious to me. They tag along and once I’m sure they won’t get lost I continue on while they take pictures of the occasional view. The hut lives up to its’ name and is in the clouds. I go inside and empty out my pack to repack it, the dry sleeping bag can go back into its’ regular spot in the bottom of the pack and I survey my food and take the time to eat a bagel with cheese. There are quite a few hikers here and I enjoy talking with them.

The croo is okay with me leaving the pack inside while I go tag Washington. It’s a glorious climb. I break through the clouds and it’s all sun, wonderful sun! On one side I look down on a sea of clouds and the other is clear. When I go up to tag the sign I hear some lady say that she can take a picture and email it later. That’s music to my ears. I ask her if she can do that for me too and sure enough she takes the picture and emails it right then and there. : ) I didn’t even bring my phone up because it kept dying because of the cold air but not having a picture of Washington would have been a bummer.

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After a bathroom break and a sip of water I go back outside and find another 4000 footer enthousiastically greeting me. He had read about the direttissima attempt and we’d met briefly before. So fun! He’s continuing on to Isolation as well but I have to go back to the hut to pick up my pack.

I fly down the trail, pick up the pack and continue on the Camel trail. I love this trail, it’s above tree line with good views and it’s usually pretty quiet. I pass a hiker with a big metal pole sticking out of his pack, he’s part of the crew that will raise flags tomorrow on all the 48 peaks to commemorate 9/11.

I stash the pack again at the junction of the Glen Boulder and Davis Path and go down the steep trail. Whenever I go down steeply like that on an out and back I can’t help but think about the way back up, that’s going to be tough! Climbing Isolation is easy and I’m soon on my up to the Glen Boulder trail again. I almost fall asleep on the way down to the trailhead but I make it.

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