I woke up early to try and catch up with Dancing Bear and to not disturb the Dartmouth students. It was pretty funny observing their heads knocking together in the center of the shelter while I packed up my shit.
I was on the trail by 7:00 am and climbing up the rest of Cube Mountain. After about 90 minutes of pretty strenuous climbing I burst into the top while the sun rise was still low in the sky. It was unbelievable. The clouds and mist were about 1000 feet lower than the other peaks which created the effect of a billowy cloud floor. The sun was exploding across and reflecting off of the clouds in one of the most amazing sun rises ever. I watched it in silence for a while until I recognized the voices of Ten and Huggy Bear climbing the final rock fall. I announced myself by shouting down to them: “you are in for a treat.” They trundled up to the rock ledge and said “hey Puck!” and and switched into “whoaaa” in mid sentence as they laid eyes on this view. It was that amazing.
We hiked down together and hammered out a few miles until we came across the infamous omelette man. This guy has set up in the woods with these tarps and propane fueled stoves. His mission is to serve thru hikers free omelettes in the middle of the woods. When we came upon him there were ten other hikers milling around, mostly south bounders. I had been told that the hiker record with this guy was a 32 egg omelette. So when he asked me what I wanted I told him seven eggs would be fine. As I gobbled down my seven egg omelette I kibbitzed with the south bounders about what was ahead for all of us. The Whites were upon us.
The White mountains, particularly the presidential range are higher, steeper, and more difficult than anything down south. They are also much more breathtaking in the views. The weather above the tree line is also severe and even life threatening. Mount Washington is the windiest location on earth with speeds commonly in the 60 to 80 mph range. The next eight days will be the toughest test yet.
I finished the day with a five mile hike into the Welcome Hikers Hostel. Dancing Bear was sipping a soda on the front porch as I hiked up. Tomorrow we will slack pack mount Mouselike , the first 4000 footer of the White range. Our hike will be 3800 feet in four miles, third steepest on the trail. Happy Trails.