Descent From Hell
Mt Moosilauke (1796.6) to Bushcamp (1816.6)
I was cold overnight. Temperatures around freezing, a cold wind and condensation forming on the sleeping bag combined for a sleepless night. But that was ok, I got to watch the star show, following the Milky Way as it moved across the sky. I was even awake at some ungodly hour to watch the bright red disc of the moon setting in the west.
Around 4am I heard voices. I sat up, looked around but there was nothing. Was it a dream. I started to get close to falling asleep when I heard them again. Two women were in a rock shelter about 10 yards from me. It was still dark and cold. The faintest hint of sunrise started to glow in the east.
I put on every layer of clothing I had while boiling some water for a hot cup of coffee. I packed up my damp sleeping bag and ate a double serving of granola for breakfast. It was too cold for me to sit around and wait for the sunrise so I set off hiking along the ridge. There’s something magical about the time before the sunrise. The sky turns all shades of colours from purple to pink to orange from my summit campsite on Mt Moosilauke.
Nobody told me about the descent from Mt Moosilauke. Holy crap. This descent turns good knees into bad knees real quick. It was steep, rocky and just kept going and going. It took me 3 hours to descend down the 3000 feet to Kinsman Notch. Lucky I had good shoes with good grip and there was no rain. That wouldn’t be fun in rain with bad shoes. I felt like I was rock climbing at times.
I climbed another three mountains before the end of the day, Mt Wolf, South Kinsman Peak and North Kinsman Peak. My poor knees descended around 8200 feet in total today and they weren’t happy.
I was at the bottom of yet another hill facing yet another climb when I spotted a flat space big enough for my tent. Without hesitation I set up camp with around an hour of sunlight left. I didn’t even care that I was next to Interstate 93. I put in my earplugs and was asleep before it was dark.
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