Sunday, August 5, 2012

Moose Mountain

So, this is where we started our day this morning, Lou's Restaurant & Bakery, just a few doors down from The Green at Dartmouth.

Since it was Sunday morning, it was very quiet in town, except at Lou's, which was doing quite the business, and full within 20 minutes of opening its doors. We had heard they had the best breakfast in town. We were not disappointed! And I had the nice surprise of getting to have toast, something I never get. Lou's makes gluten-free bread, so I had toast with my yummy omelette and home fries. The guys had The Green, which was eggs, sausage, home fries, and the most divine French toast. While there, we ran into Kindle Ninja, who was also ordering breakfast and then hiking.

We ate up, sat on the park bench out front and put on our boots, and continued down the sidewalk. The AT conveniently runs right down the street in front of Lou's and the Dartmouth Bookstore.

We also picked up a couple of items from their Co-op Food Store before hiking past their stadium and baseball fields, and heading into the woods once again.

The day began with a pretty steep climb - so steep, that at one point someone had tied a climbing rope so that it hung down in front of us. We didn't need it, but if it would have been raining or icy, I'm sure it would have come in handy. As we hiked, we were met by Kindle, and also Deep, a young man from Germany, and Mr. Noodles.

We got to visit with them to help pass the miles. We found out Kindle is a family physician. Deep got his name because of his deep voice. Mr. Noodles is from New Brunswick, Canada, and hiked half of the AT last year before getting very ill with food poisoning and a parasite, and ended up in the hospital for 8 days, and then having to end his hike and go home. He is back this year to finish. Apparently, ramen in Canada is called Mr. Noodles, and when his fellow hikers asked what he was eating last year, he said, "Mr. Noodles," and the Americans he was camped with thought this was hilarious, and that became his trail name.

While we hiked, a trail runner went by in the opposite direction and told us we had trail magic just ahead. This put a spring in our step! The forest was rockier than in Vermont and we were
mainly hiking through a spruce forest with pine needles under our feet. The trees are so close together that the branches are pretty much bare except right at the top where there is sun.

We reached a road crossing and found a cooler with iced down Cokes (bless them!) and a note that said, "Thru-hikers, have a Coke!" We could not have enjoyed anything more right then. The day was already really warm, even though a breeze had picked up in the forest.

We had a pretty good mountain to climb, called Moose Mountain. It was 2.5 miles to the summit, and rain was on the way. We had just enough time to hurry to the top, and hopefully ride out the rain in a shelter. It was a fast and furious climb, but we made it in time to the shelter before it started. Two sobos, Grover and Tracks got there right after us. This was Grover's fourth time to hike the trail! They had a lot of great info to share with us.

The rain only lasted about 30 minutes, and then we packed up and headed on. We were going another 3 miles, but everyone else was staying the night at that shelter. We had a really long descent down Moose Mountain, one that seemed to last forever, but we finally reached low ground once again and began looking for a campsite. It wasn't too long before we found a good one on nice soft pine needles. Everyone is pretty pooped tonight, and we all turned in early.

- Steady and F100

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