August 26: Welcome Hikers Hostel

We woke up at the hostel and signed up for a reverse slack pack of Mount Mouselike.  The south side is much less steep than the north side which also follows a waterfall much of the way.  We decided to ascend the steep north side and descend the south side.  Both sides are 4000 foot hikes each way.  It is the fourth steepest hike on the entire trail.  

We shuttled over with some new hiking friends: Frodo, Gimle, and Samwise– three guys who didn’t know each other before the trail.  So Dancing Bear and our merry band of hobbits shuttled to the other side of the mountain to hike back to the hostel– a ten mile climb and descent.  

The ascent up the the north face was STEEP.   Definitely better going up than down.  What was really cool was the waterfall that tumbled next to the bouldered trail just a couple of feet to the side.  We hiked up almost 1000 feet with the cascade tumbling just feet away– truly awesome.  The weather was perfect and the climb strenuous.  We got to the top in about five hours — a lot quicker than I thought.  We hung out for a while and then set off for what should have been an easy three hour descent.  Dancing Bear and I were descending and talking when we noticed that there weren’t any white blazes anymore.  We had wondered on to a side trail.  We figured since we were still going down we would roughly end up in the same place.  Then the trail flattened out about half way down the mountain and started traversing around instead of down.  We had no choice but to keep following it until it hit the AT or other major trail.  After about four miles we finally got down the mountain but eight miles off target and on a lonely gravel road.  We started down the road and flagged a car down.  The driver said she would drive us to the highway but wanted to show her cousin something first.  So she drives us 45 minutes in the middle of nowhere and then points out to her cousin that hill that she used to sled on when she was a child.  Hmmm.  So we drove around with this odd lady and her cousin for over an hour until she finally moseyed toward the highway.  Then she pulls over and says to us that our hostel is four miles down the road and that it should be an easy hitchhike from here.  Hmmmm, thanks lady.  

Of course we didn’t get a hitch for the first two miles and finally rode in a trailer of firewood back to the hostel.  When I asked where everyone else was I was informed that they were all at a trail angel party at the foot of the mountain.  Free beer, soda, burgers, the whole nine yards.  Sometimes the trail gods shine, sometimes they shit on your face.  Happy trails.

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