9/5 Garfield Pond Camping (7)

October 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm

IMG_20130905_154321_840Well, we took another zero after the Kinsman slack pack day.  After hustling to get to NH, we’ve caught up to a pretty big bubble of hikers.  Since many of our trail family members are still behind us, we don’t feel a lot of pressure to rush anymore.  We decided from here on we want to take the trip slow and enjoy this last beautiful month.

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So, we said our last goodbyes, ate our last good breakfast for a while, and continued on.  Hiking up Franconia Ridge was challenging not only because it is the true beginning of a very steep and difficult section of our thruhike or because we were loaded down with food from town, but especially because we were, for the first time on our trip, hiking away from home.

IMG_20130905_145541_874What helped to carry me up was thoughts of hiking Lafayette and Garfield with my father, my friends, and Mark himself in the past.  We have built some very happy memories on these mountains over the years and I thought about reuniting with them rather than leaving our friends and family behind.

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Also instrumental in alleviating our melancholy were the stunning views.  I still maintain my bias that the Franconia range and the Pemigewasset Wilderness are the most beautiful places in the White Mountains.

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The long bare backs of the exposed ridge yawned and stretched in front of us all day while wild winds buffeted us.  We were a little windblown but the views were perfect.  I’m grateful to know the price of clarity on top of Lafayette; There have been many times where all I saw from the top was the inside of a cloud.

IMG_20130905_152621_565After a perfect traverse of the ridges, we descended back down below the protection and obstruction of treeline where we reached Garfield Pond near sunset.  Although there was probably enough light to get up Garfield still, we elected to stay at the pond and wait out the bitter cold for tomorrow morning.  IMG_20130905_162916_177We didn’t want to be stuck up at the campsite there when we could be at a slightly lower elevation.  There were several Mayflies (kids/nuts who start in May and make up time by managing a 20 mile average) at the camp that night who had neglected to get the right winter gear.  IMG_20130905_152225_723As it dropped below 20 degrees, the three of them left the campfire and piled into a two person tent to huddle for warmth.  We fell asleep to the sound of them giggling, although it was a hard night to sleep through.  I can’t imagine what it was like for them with 40 degree bags.

 

 

 

Back to winter weather!

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