Day 6 was full of amazing views, incredible bird songs and some high grade complaining heh.
Day 5 started with a deer and a moose so you know it was a good day.
Day 4 was mostly road walk and ATV trail, but still very pretty!
Day 3 started wet and saw the first trail sandwich spot 🙂
Day 2 on the mighty Cohos started at Deer Mtn State Park and ended at Tillotson shelter with visits to Second CT Lake, Falls in the River and Moose Ally.
Slackpacking from Fourth CT to Deer Mountain State Park. Day 1 on the mighty Cohos.
Day 16 would only require me to make it down from the ridge without breaking anything important. Just a few miles, but some slippery slabs and some steep sections. I tried to stay focused on the trail, but the views started to distract me a bit.
When I hit the turn off for the Mt Crawford spur there was no hesitation. I’d been up there before and knew the views were worth the effort. Even the legs agreed that it was a good idea!
The day before had been a rain out and I was still pretty wet after walking through wet trees all morning. None of that mattered. Not the broken pack, not my sore feet, nope, in that moment it was all worth it just to be on that mountain alone. I had come all this way, camping alone every night on trail and seeing only one NOBO Cohos hiker headed the other way. I still had a few miles to the end, but this was the real celebration. Definitely glad the legs agreed to take me up there!
Then it was done. The thing I didn’t really think I could do and definitely had a few doubts about in the middle of doing, had been done. My new hiking shirts looked like my old hiking shirts. My pack was dead or at least in need of hospice care, but somehow I had managed to walk from Canada to Crawford Notch on the mighty Cohos trail. Not bad for an old fat man and the season is just getting started!
The last weather forecasts I had seen all agreed that Day 15 was going to be sunny and hot. When it started out cloudy I wasn’t complaining, well not about the clouds at least. The legs agreed that since they had been given the afternoon off they would be willing to climb Isolation and maybe even hike some Davis Path if it meant they could go home the next day. Then there was an odd pop as I was putting on my pack…seems another part of the poor thing had come undone. This was repeated twice more that morning and soon I had resorted to more of my clothesline to hold the pack together. For the rest of the trip, every time I put the pack on I held my breath hoping it would stay together.
Then it started raining. At times it was pouring and I would put up my umbrella. Other times it was just a light rain for walking in, but soon everything, including me, was soaked.
The rest of the day was spent on the Davis Path. There was no point in hitting Isolation or Davis summits in the rain. The forest was just wet everywhere and so was I. At lunchtime I just sat down on my bear can in the middle of the trail and had my cheese and sausage.
This is some rugged trail in an area that is hard to maintain. I had great appreciation for the axe work that had been done. It would have been much harder to finish this hike if I had been wrestling with all the blowdowns that had been cleared.
After having been soaking wet for the entire day I had had enough and set up camp near the old Resolution shelter area. Once again a bit confused I looked in the wrong place for water. Luckily I found a usable seep, but it would have been easier if I was looking in the right place to begin with heh. Finally dry I had dinner and hung everything up to drip. I wasn’t sure if I was wearing damp dirty clothes or wet slightly less dirty clothes in the morning, but I knew it wasn’t going to be good. Then I heard the first sound of thunder…
There were two waves of thunderstorms that night. Lots of lightning and thunder, but it seemed to stay a few miles away. The closest count I had was four seconds from flash to bang. I recall laying there in my hammock thinking how close I was to finishing this trail and how it would be unfair to get hit by lightning after all that work.
Dinner and rest had helped, but the legs were still not feeling great. Coffee and breakfast helped some more and a deer walking into my camp certainly helped raise my spirits before I started up the climb. Thankfully I had a jump on the day hikers and was able to get most of my sweaty work out of the way before they began passing me near the tree line.
The cloud cover was still lingering on the peaks to the dismay of the peak baggers, but I was enjoying the dramatic views. I had promised my legs that if they got me up and down the ridge that they could rest later in the day, but there was some temptation to climb up into those clouds.
I soaked in the views while I could, but my time on the ridge was short. Many folks headed up the Crawford Path at that time of day. My route had me dropping three miles down on the Eisenhower Trail and once I left the ridge I wouldn’t see another person for until the middle of the next day.
I did find a great spot to set up camp near the river crossing. As promised, the legs were up in the hammock by early afternoon. There was a shelter a bit up the trail that I’ve heard wonderful things about, but I was not walking the extra half mile. Instead I had a sun dappled nap in my hammock before putting the tarp up later just to be safe.
Despite needing to rest my legs and feet it was impossible to resist heading down to look at the river in the changing light. Before and after dinner I was down there thinking this would be a great place to camp on a hot day when you weren’t exhausted and just wanted to splash in cold water all afternoon.
With the tarp up in porch mode I had a wonderful view from my hammock. Green forest as the light dimmed, then got brighter. Hmm, seems we had a bit of a moon coming on. It was definitely a bright night out there for a while…
Day 13 started with a rumble of thunder around 5am. I’d heard a few splatters of rain on the tarp overnight, but was exhausted and put sleep in front of worry. A little rain on the tarp can be relaxing as it lets you appreciate being warm and dry. Thunder on the other hand gets my attention, especially when camped up high.
A quick look at weather radar showed the storm was rolling through the Kilkenny, but there was more headed my way. I skipped coffee and breakfast, pulling down camp and heading out as fast as possible. I didn’t hear any more thunder, but the rain was steady now as I finished with the Owl and moved on towards Martha.
Martha was a little confusing at the top because there were trails headed off in all directions, but the only sign pointed back the way I’d come heh. I was happy to see this sign a while later which told me I’d made the right guess on which trail to take down. Down was good because the beast legs were groaning at every step up. Between the climb of the previous evening and the rough morning they did not get a chance to recover.
The sun started to break through as I hiked down Cherry Mtn Road. There were folks camped at most every one of the sites along the road making breakfast after the rain had passed. I was jealous of their coffee and eggs having skipped breakfast. Doubt was creeping in as I wondered how I was going to make it up and down the climb scheduled for the end of the day.
I didn’t take a lot more pics that day as I was sort of lost in my head. Thankfully I did stop at the deli on the 302 road walk for a sub. That seemed to not only brighten my mood, but inspired me to camp short and rest my legs rather than try to reach the Dry River that day. I had an extra day scheduled so I changed my goal to reaching Edmands Path and getting in far enough to camp legally, but not much farther heh.
The walk through the Mt Washington Hotel and golf course was surreal. I kept expecting security to give me the bums rush, but official looking people on golf carts kept giving me a smiling nod as they passed by. Folks out for some exercise while vacationing also seemed amused at my stumbling through their resort. The path along the river was beautiful and I stopped to refill my bottles while families rolled by on fat tire bikes. Very surreal heh.
No more pics were taken, but I did find a spot to camp in preparation for heading into the final stretch of wilderness between me and the end of the trail. I really had been close to giving up earlier in the day, so just still being on trail seemed a victory of sorts. Well, except for my sore feet.