Thursday, June 25, 2009
I hiked a nice loop over Lincoln and Lafayette today. I left Lafayette Place Lot and headed up the Falling Waters Trail at around 11. I like to start a hike mid morning if I know it isn't going to take me all day. This gives the other hikers a chance to get their early starts and hopefully spread out a little on the trail. Falling Waters can be a popular trail in the warmer months and the lot was full of cars. Doesn't anyone work on Thursdays?
Falling Waters Trail is one of my favorites. The first few miles follow Dry Brook and pass numerous water falls, which were especially impressive today following a rainy week. I love the sound of rushing water. I was moving quick, mixing running and fast walking, but I paused to admire each falls as I passed. Everyone loves a water fall, and this trail passes lots of them. It's hard not to feel good along this stretch!
After about 2 miles, the trail turns away from the brook and climbs straight up for a mile or so breaking treeline and ending at the top of Little Haystack. The sun was out early on, but it clouded up as I got to the higher elevations. It was cloudy, but still clear at the top of Little Haystack and I could see the Franconia Ridge Trail running over the sharp ridge to Mt Lincoln. I ran most of the ridge between Little Haystack and Lincoln. There are steep drop offs in places, but the trail is fairly smooth and easy.
I had been passing friendly cheerful hikers since I started, but at the the top of Lincoln there was the surliest group of backpackers I had ever seen. About 6 guys in their mid twenties were sprawled out on the rocks with grim expressions on their faces. I couldn't even get a nod from any of them in response to my "hi." There was no room to stop and take in the view because they were hogging the entire summit. They and their gear were wet and muddy. I imagine they had probably been out in the rain for this past week. I've been there, it's not fun. Probably the last thing they wanted to see was an overly cheerful lady in running shoes carrying nothing but a Camelback. I pushed on. Ironically I never got wet at all but when I looked back as I climbed Lafayette I could see that they were getting showered on. If they had at least acknowledged my "hi," they might have warded off the bad Karma.
I could see the clouds settling over Lafayette as I climbed and by the time I summited, it was completely socked in. Just as I took the last few steps to the top I passed a tall guy who was greeted by a group who were waiting for him at the top. He told them he was cramping bad and didn't know what to do. I handed him 2 Succeed Capsules and told him what they were. He looked a little paranoid about taking pills from a stranger, but his wife told him to just take them, and he did. Hopefully, they helped make his descent a little easier.
I turned down the Greenleaf Trail and ran down to Greenleaf Hut. I hate huts. If we are going to invade the wilderness in great numbers, shouldn't we at least avoid congregating? The huts are always packed with people who seem to be excited to have a place to go to get off the trail. I can see sleeping there, but why hang out there on a perfectly beautiful day? I needed to refill my camelback so I went in. Reluctantly. It was full of joyous people sitting around on the benches reading and eating and talking. I don't get it.
I was in and out as fast as possible without making eye contact with anyone, lest I get sucked into the hut mentality. The last stretch is down the Old Bridle Path. This had been recently rained on and the rocks were wet and slippery. This can be a fast running descent on dry trails, but I had to be cautious today. I still made good time. As I descended below the cloud cover, the sun shone again and it became hot and steamy. The 8.8 mile circuit took me three hours and seventeen minutes. I've done this loop in just over 3 hours but I was being cautious today. Hmmm, caution...I probably should try to make a habit of that!