Monday, July 25, 2011

Mt. Adams - again - July 5, 2011 Mt. Madison - again- July 6, 2011

Mt. Adams via Airline Trail, 7/5/2011

Mileage: 10 miles RT

Elevation gain: 5,000

Trailhead: Appalachia, located on Route 2 in Randolph, NH  

Lesson learned:  Choose your bunk wisely! A heavier pack makes a difference in your hike; a little bit of luck from the weather gods does too!

Hiked with Rich, Joe and Sandy.  The Airline trail is listed on the Terrifying 25 (a list I am not working on but you may be!).

Though I summitted both Adams and Madison two years ago with Eileen and Norm, I was happy to accompany Rich on this hike (his 46th NH 4k).  He's getting so close to completing all 48.

Sandy was still recovering from the Moats (twisted ankle) but bravely hiked the Airline trail with us to the hut cutoff and then enjoyed socializing in the hut.

It was muggy and warm up the somewhat steep airline trail but as soon as we hit the ridge it was cool and windy.  I had forgotten how exposed that ridge was, and how close the trail is to the edge of the vertical rock of Kings Ravine.  Dirty puffy mist wisped in and out, making it look more like the Moors than a beautiful summer day in NH. Dramatic, scary, awe inspiring, daunting.

Rich was spent by the time we got to Madison hut for lunch (which is a climb DOWN from the Airline trail, which means we will have to climb back up to bag Mt. Adams). 

At the hut, Rich checked the forecast - T-storms predicted and watches were out for the area.  The hut master said we will need to plan on 3 hours to summit Mt. Adams (2 mile RT) and if we hear thunder, we need to turn around and head for shelter.

We unloaded a lot of the extras from our packs at the hut (bedsheet, clothes, toiletries), picked our beds and headed back up to the airline trail. We took the risk and we watched the skies carefully, hoping we would not have to turn back to the hut.  

It was hard. I have forgotten how tough hiking those rocks are but kept in my mind that Mt. Adams has positive energy (one of 19 holy mountains of the world and hoped that would get us up to the top.

We did summit, and found lots of weird bugs so we took photos quickly and then headed down. The view made the effort worth it. And, Sandy's ankle miraculously felt great that night so we attribute this and the fine weather to the healing powers of Mt. Adams.  When we returned to the hut we all had wine in celebration and became sleepy.

That night Rich and I bunked under a guy with serious sleep apnea. The noise was so loud that people in the other room remarked on it the next morning. Took a whole Ambien and got 2 whole hours of sleep. Sounds so loud and unlike anything I have ever heard came from that man's throat. Rich kicked the bed above him once and shone his headlamp at the guy to try to get him to stop. 

The next day, I woke up feeling like I hadn't yet gone to sleep. Mt. Madison was bagged around 10 a.m., a bit easier that Adams, and we headed down Valley Way.  We were very tired and ready to get into the shower! 

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