The Trail Went Vertical
Tuesday August 29, 2017
Miles: 1756.0 - 1770.9. Completed: 14.9
Time: 7:20am - 5:20pm
Weather: cloudy and cool. Only warm while hiking
Tented at Smarts Mt. campsite
Batman dropped us off with full packs. It was a nice three day stint of slackpacking and hotel stay. We have come to dread our first day back on the trail after slacking because it's always with a super heavy bag. This time I have all my winter gear back plus still summer clothes. It's that time when the weather is unpredictable. I also packed out fresh veggies to cook with my boring rice to make it more interesting.
With full packs we had three peaks to climb, Moose Mountain, Holts Ledges, and finished with Smarts Mt. the first two were easy as New Hampshire continued to graciously invite us into her wilderness. Then we hit the half mile or so before Smarts Mountain. That's when the trail went vertical. It included wooden stairs and iron rungs.
It was a fantastic day of hiking filled with views and mostly easy terrain until the very end. The best siting besides the panoramic views on the summits was what I first thought was two beautiful black labs. I was slightly ahead of shortcake. The trail was a little bushy with the growth of young spruce trees obscuring any clear view of the surrounding woods. Up ahead of me 15 yards on the trail I saw the prettiest black furry face with a bright orange. I thought it was a southbound hikers black lab and took a few quick steps forward to great the canine. Then it's head turned full face towards me and I realized it was a bear. Whoa, I put on the breaks and backed up. "That isn't a dog! I spoke out loud. Then I backed up, held up my hand in a motion for shortcake to stop then yelled bear. Just as I did that it ran across the trail and down the ridge. A second bear with an orange collar followed the first. That was exciting. I found a great limb tonight to hang our food bag from way away from our tenting. That makes about 12 bears I have seen on this trip. 14 if you count the two at the zoo. I don't want to see any more.
Just a reminder I will continue to get the other days up to date with details.