7-27-12

AT miles hiked today: 8.4
Total AT miles hiked: 914.1

I should have done the southbound slackpack! Going up Moosilauke was actually fine and kind of easy, but it is a scary mountain to descend if you hike it northbound. We should have hiked it southbound, slackpack or not, because of the mossy, wet, steep descent. There were steps made of wooden blocks secured into sheer cliff walls, and they were wet and mossy. There was rebar secured into the cliffs in places and one piece actually had one end that had pulled loose. I wonder who was holding onto that when it came loose. I tried to avoid that rebar by going to the right side of the cliff to climb down some roots and slipped on a wet branch and nearly fell sideways off the ten foot cliff. I caught myself on a loose tree stump that miraculously held me up and let the adrenaline power me down the cliff before I got shaky and even more cautious on the black, mossy rock steps, completely relying on my trekking poles to hold me up. I have worn them down significantly on the rocks, but they still hold me up and I staked my life on them today.

Chief summited with us and we took pictures together and then he left ahead of us but we didn't see him again. I guess he made good time.

We met Fish on the summit and he offered us a ride into Lincoln, NH when we got to the bottom. He was going down a different trail and we said we thought we'd take three hours to get down those 3.5 miles on the AT. So we said we'd meet him at 5pm. We got down to the Beaver Brook shelter at 4pm and had 1.5 miles left. I figured we would be late, and I knew the hardest part was yet to come, but I didn't imagine how bad it was. It took us another two and a half hours to get down a mile and a half. 5pm came and went. A southbound hiker told us that Fish had been in the parking lot since 4pm. He had sent the message up the trail, but we didn't have anybody to send him a message with so when we arrived at the bottom at 6:30 we were not surprised that he was gone. We appreciated the offer and the fact that he waited so long, even though he finally gave up.

We called a shuttle into Lincoln, NH, that cost us $5 each. We are tenting at Chet's place tonight. Chet is awesome and we are so grateful to have a place to be tonight, after that mountain. I was terrified for almost the entire descent. It's exhausting to be scared for that long without any relief.