Monday October 3: Start to Greenleaf
An Inauspicious Start
Sitting in the Greenleaf hut, drinking hot chocolate. So far things are OK.
I could write volumes about stressing out and having panic attacks, but there would be no point.
We drove up last night, in sporadic rain. We got to the motel at 9:50, just a few minutes before the attendant was about to give up on us.
Breakfast was a bagel, banana, and a little cereal. Not great, but I had no appetite anyways. There was solid overcast and drifting low clouds. It was cool and damp. I was not thrilled. For grins, I measured my pack. It was 26 pounds.
We drove down to Lincoln (we had stayed in Franconia, north of the notch) and got a park pass. We heard that there were a lot of bears around. We drove up to Zealand. The colors were really wonderful north of the notch. I almost left my car with lots of others are the end of the paved road, but then I realized that the road continued as gravel. So we continued another mile or three. I left my car, and with Amy driving, we want back to Lincoln. I grabbed lunch at McDís then we drove to the start of the Bridle Path trail. After a small panic attack, I said goodbye to Amy and set off.
Down in the valley, it was in the 60ís. I started off with my heavy fleece shirt on, but after a while I was hot, so I took it off and strapped it on the back of the pack. Then I just had on my long-sleeved tee.
The leaves were wet, and the humidity was probably close to 100%. The mountain tops were in the clouds. Eventually, I got warmer, so I rolled up the sleeves on the tee.
The trail goes up a ridge with a big drop on the side away from the road. There were some good views in that direction (i.e. views towards the Franconia Ridge), but the ridge and summit were in the clouds.
There were some patches of rocks that were a bit treacherous when wet. Iím glad that Iím not going back that way, but Iím afraid that my route forward might be worse. (It was.)
The hike was estimated at 2Ĺ hours, but I made it up in about 2 (started around 12:30 and got in around 2:30). The Greenleaf hut was just inside of the clouds, so I couldnít really see anything but fog outside. The hut has a large common room, and the other half is the kitchen. Then there is a large room with 3-decker bunks and on the other side a few rooms with 3 deckers. There are 15 people spending the night (the place sleeps 48), so it was just ďgrab a bunkĒ. I grabbed one in the main room on the ground level. I put my down booties on and my fleece shirt, which was only slightly damp from the brush.
There is hot water and cocoa. I paid a buck to use theirs rather than mine.
I have spotty cell coverage. I can send and receive texts sporadically, but I donít think I can do voice.
Overall the hut is a lot more civilized than I expected. (I had been to the huts before, but I didnít remember the details.)
Tomorrow will be the challenge. Will I be in sun, clouds, or fog? How treacherous will the trail be? How cold will it be?
I have about 2 hours to kill before dinner.
I was just laying down and resting for a bit, maybe for an hour. I hope it is not going to screw up my sleep later on.
Iím feeling particularly lonely right now. It is probably not a good idea to go on these trips by myself.
My bunk is on the opposite side of a wall from the kitchen, and it sounded like they were bowling with the pots and pans.
When I got up, I was generating very little heat, so I put on my fleece jacket and then my down jacket.
If things were different (warmer, sunnier, no long hike tomorrow) I might have gone on a short day hike before dinner, but I have very little desire to leave the building tonight. So I just sit here, trying to stay warm, and trying to not feel lonely.
I got my book (on iPod) out, but I never turned it on. I started talking with a couple next to me. He reminded me physically of David Kaynor. Not surprisingly, I was a lot less lonely talking to them.
Then we had dinner. It was lasagna. For me, it was the third night of lasagna in a row. It turns out that the two women sitting next to me (Roslyn and Kathryn) were also going on to Galehead and Zealand, but I wonít see them at Zealand, as they are spending two nights at Galehead.
Dinner has warmed me up, so I just have my fleece on. It is now 7:30. There will be a short talk in a new minutes. Quiet time is at 9:30. Iíll probably go to bed around 9. That should give me enough time to digest dinner.
The clouds lifted briefly, so we could see Lafayette. It looked really nice.
Iím guessing the climb today was 1800 to 2000 feet (actually about 2300). The first thing tomorrow morning is over Lafayette, which is an immediate 1000 foot gain that should warm me up.
I saw an interesting term on the weather forecast, ďundercastĒ as opposed to overcast.
I just took a step outside and the sky was relatively clear. So I dug out my camera and got some star pictures. It wasnít too bad out. My tripod is only about 6 inches tall, and I didnít want to crawl on the ground, so I was rather limited in what angles I could take. I didnít want to take too many for fear of eating the battery, but I got a few.
Things are much more promising than when I first arrived.