• Emily M Leonard

Our Strength And Courage


Day 183

Friday September 22, 2017

Miles: 1850.8 - 1862.6.   Completed: 11.8

Time: 3:49am - 5:35pm

Weather: Sunny

Bunked at Madison Hut

13 and a half hours of pure rock torture!!! Hikers who complain about the rocks in Pennsylvania clearly have never hiked in New England. Just in New England you are rewarded with open mountain tops that have views stretching as far as one can imagine.

So I exaggerated a little. Yes, the rocks were numerous and a little tiresome but with the right attitude they can be fun. Just like anything. You can dwell on the hard or you can focus on the fun. I chose fun. 12 miles of them can be daunting but it was a nice change from the closed in forest. I enjoyed gliding over them as we hiked on.

The hours added up not only due to the rocks but because of our endless photo shoot. We headed out under the cover of darkness thinking there wouldn’t be much to slow us down in the camera department. We were wrong. The stars were bountiful as they twinkled above and the glow of our head lamps created new ways to snap pics of familiar objects giving them a different look. 

A cairn illuminated via head lamp. 

Hiking above tree line was eerie and exillerating at the same time. Even though we could not see the openness we could feel the vastness. After two hours of hiking in the dark the soft glow of the sun started to carve shapes on the horizon. The dark silhouettes morphed from Black giants in the distance to grey artistic carvings blanketed in pink after glow.

Sunrise from the Presidentials

As the sun rose above the mountains it turned to a golden ball blinding us if we dared looked directly at it. 

Morning Glory

We reached the mid point of our hike before the tourists flooded Mt. Washington. It was busy, but not crazy. We snapped our summit photos, had a break at the welcome center then headed for Madison Hut. 

Black Bear - Batman - Shortcake 

Soon after we left Mt. Washington shortcake’s feet told her she had had enough!  But we weren’t done. We had no choice but to continue. Like a trooper she kept hiking one painful step at a time. We had to get to Madison Hut. We had reservations which were non refundable and about $140.00 per person, with no place to camp above tree line, we had no choice but to hike on. That we did.

We eventually sent Batman ahead so he could let them know we were definitely coming. We didn’t want them to let the other guests eat our portions of dinner. We always had our guts’ best interests. The last half hour my feet and knees joined in the pain party along with Shortcake’s as we both limped into the Hut. The sight of the Hut came none too soon. 

We took no time claiming our bunk as we removed the burdening weight of our packs and rested before dinner.

It was a gloriously exhausting, yet rewarding day. We safely and victoriously traversed most of the Presidentials in one day taking the time to enjoy its many profiles. We were blessed with clear skies and warm weather something not every hiker gets to experience on those summits. It was one of those days we thought would never end. Our strength and courage grew a little bigger today. 

Happy Hiking


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