Back in March when I started the Trail, I met a delightful young lady named Taylor from New Hampshire. I remember being very impressed with her hiking fitness as I watched her glide up those steep hills in North Carolina and asked her how she got so strong. New Hampshire, she explained. She was used to hiking the Whites so everything else seemed like child’s play! That was when I started to get worried. Taylor left the Trail back in March because of the virus but I kept her number handy and contacted her as soon as I got here. She sweetly offered to come out and hike with me for the day.
It was a warm day already when I got started on my “Prezie Traverse” around 6:00. The hike that I had planned was a twenty mile stretch across famous Mt. Washington and her slightly shorter sisters called Eisenhower, Adams, Madison and Pierce. They are steep like the rest of the Whites but what makes them really hard is the terrain. They are a jumble of huge jagged boulders that are really slow to hike. Every step is calculated as you balance your pack and hope you don’t make the wrong move. Some of these sections were taking nearly an hour to finish a mile.
The weather was clear but hot. The sun was beating down on me all day and finding water up here is a real challenge. Fortunately, one of the huts had a working spigot but I had to seriously ration my fluids to get through the day. Taylor started hiking on at Pinkerton and headed south and we met up right around then Madison Hut. It was great to catch up with her and share Trail gossip. She has seen a few hikers come through over the past few days and it was interesting to find out that I’ve caught up with a few groups that I thought were way ahead of me. Cant help that competitive spirit!
We slowly pecked our way down into the valley and got back to her car around 7:45. We ran into Fire (Dustin) on the Trail and he joined us for a ride into town for McDonalds. I had Taylor drop us off at the inn where we are going to be staying for the next few nights so we can slack pack the section today. Slack packing is where you take only the essentials that you need for that day and it really feels amazing to have such a light pack.
I’ll end with a few cool videos that I wanted to share with you now that I have WiFi. We are headed out shortly to complete the next twenty one mile section and will finish back here at the inn tonight. And then . . . a beautiful zero to celebrate getting through the Whites and less than 300 miles to go.