August 29: mile 1827: Garfield Ridge Shelter

We took a shuttle back to the trail head at Franconia State Park and began one of the toughest days of hiking to date.  Right out of the gate we ascended to the 5000 foot peaks of Lincoln and Lafayette in rapid succession.  The ascent was straight up 3500 feet in seven miles.  The final altitude at the top of Lafayette was almost 5500 feet and well above the tree line.  The tree line is the altitude where it is too high for trees to grow anymore.  My apple fitness app said that it was 60,000 steps for the day and a climb equivalent to 435 flights of stairs.  Just brutal.  The views on top of the three peaks were the best that I have seen on the trail.  But boy did we have to work for it.  I hiked alone so I could take necessary rests during the ascent.  It was long and brutal.

When I got to the top there were three peaks about a mile and half apart.  The trail between continued to ascend one, two, and Lafayette last. It was all above the tree line.  There is something extra special about having to work so hard for the final view.  You know that no one else can see that view without climbing the mountain.  After spending some time on the summits, I hiked down 1800 feet so that I could climbed 1400 feet to the top of Mount Garfield in the space of a little over a mile– extremely steep.  Just over the top of Garfield I rolled into the camping area at about six o’clock.  It was an exhausting day but definitely one of the most satisfying days on the trail.  Great views after hard hiking– happy trails.

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