It's such a small section, 2.9 miles to the Lonesome Lake hut is all I needed to complete trail miles on the AT from route 112 to route 302. Today was a beautiful day to walk those miles on the Cascade Brook Trail (AT). While most were above tree line, I stayed in the trees. Arriving at the Liberty Springs Parking area, I swear the rest of the world followed behind me... That parking area filled up quick. From the chatter, most were heading up Flume Slide (not my thing). I was relieved that at a certain point, I would have the trail to myself. Temps are way better than last week already. Seems like it's .8 on the White House Trail, which has a short walk on the bike path before I get to the actual Cascade Brook Trail. From here, it'll be 2.9 miles to the Lonesome Lake hut.
Cascade Brook trail starts by heading under Interstate 93 and then there's the warning about the bridge wash out from Irene a few years ago... We'll see what happens today but I am betting the water is low. Tomorrow we will get 2 inches of rain, it may be different then. So, once I pass under 93, it's a decent walk in the woods. There's a gradual climb with great footing and it levels out well in places too. This gives me a nice break and allows me to keep a good pace but I do better on flat or down trails usually.
All water crossings on this section are step overs. There is one I would classify as a major before the wash out but even that is just a trickle. We so need the rain here. A couple of other things happening on this section... I'm testing out carrying 7 days worth of food for my LT trip... It feels great on my back, I've got a new snack in the form of an Epic Bar in venison (So yummy, I want another box!), and I'm wearing a new sports bra which does the job well :) . It really was not long after the first major crossing that I came to the junction with the wash out. Getting down to water level, I find that it's very crossable and only use one pole for support in one place. Isis does well climbing the major rocks. Again though, we will have 2 inches of rain tomorrow so this condition will change. Today might have been the golden opportunity for this one. After the crossing, it's 1.3 miles to the hut. This day is going well and I have yet to run into a single soul.
I really like Lonesome Lake Hut. It has some great views of near by Franconia Ridge and the lake itself is so inviting. Temps are cooler here and there is a nice breeze. But all the people... Yes, it's the busy season once again. Lots of noise which seems louder when you've been on a quiet trail by yourself. We head up to the hut after a group of 10 asked me to take they picture and found a quiet place to have some lunch. People are filing in and out and kids are running around. I had a great talk with an old time long distance hiker about the state of the Whites and people doing the 48 (it's almost trendy these days). It's a great place to start though that's for sure. Once I was rested, I decided to head back the way we came into the quiet. Heading down to the bike path is a busy trail... No need for that stress. We stopped back at the dock and asked a guy to take our picture which he happily did. Of course his son wants to pet Isis (who doesn't). I supervise but Isis growls which the father disapproves of... My dog doesn't have to like everyone... Sorry but that's just how she is. She's choosey and lets you know your place regardless of age. Heck, she does it to me too and I love her for it. We continue back to the junction and just tell people who want to pet her "no" as we pass. Again this is met with more jeers. Ehh, such as life.
Walking back to the car, we never ran into the trail maintainer again and the people disappeared once we crossed Cascade Brook. This was just a small but very cool trip that put things into perspective for me. I was able to crack 200 miles on the AT with this trip too. Looking forward still to longer trips and maybe a few summits in my future.
I decided about 3 years ago that I was no longer going to wait for anyone. It felt like for the longest time I was waiting for someone to do anything so, I took matters into my now hand and started making my own plans. I decided that now people were going to have to catch up to me... I finished a few rounds of the 48 in New Hampshire that way and since I have no one else I need to a account for, it's been easy for me to just pick up and go. But, people are more than welcome to tag along as always. Since I diverted to section hiking, I feel like this trail (The AT) is my home. It takes me away from the crowds and the craziness of the more popular trails. I find that I'm most comfortable in the woods with my favorite 4 legged trail partner, when it is quiet. I only wish I could Thru Hike a trail (longer than 4 days or 2 weeks) but, since I'm still working and love my job, plus maintaining my life at home single... I'll settle for those 2 weeks at a time to do some BIG sections. If I am still able to do this when I retire, my address might be the AT. While I am waiting for that retirement day, I'll continue to manage my life as it works for me... Pay down my mistakes of the past as I manage my own home and look forward to all the hiking I'll be able to do and all the places I'll get to see. Wanderlust is a beautiful thing.
I've got a month and a half to my LT trip... So excited for this and today's pack weight was pretty much full and felt fantastic. As for the AT, I'll be doing a few more small sections before I start cutting into the trail leading to Maine and Vermont. Once I am out of New England, the day hikes will stop and I'll be more reliant on vacation time for big LASH miles. I guess then, I may return to play more in the Whites... Maybe even pluck away at a grid a little more.