Day 154: Fraconia Ridge

Day 154

Route 93 to Stealth Spot

Miles Hiked: 14.2

AT Milage: 1833.1

This morning a shuttle picked me up at 6:30 am and drove me back to the trail. I began my hike up to the Ridgeline in the cool morning air. My climb was pretty steep and felt long but it was nice terrain so I enjoyed it. I grabbed water from a spring at liberty campground before I reached the top of the ridge. This was one of the best water sources I have seen on the whole trail. Once I got to elevation, I hiked a spur trail to the peak of mount liberty so I could see most of the ridge I was about to traverse. I got a great view and I was so glad I waited a day to see it! When I returned to the AT from the spur trail, I began traversing the ridge on the Fraconia Ridge trail. I didn’t get above tree line until the top of little haystack mountain. Once I reached that point I could see the trail layed out before me with tons of people hiking on it.

View of Fraconia Ridge from Mount Liberty.

It was so windy I had to make an effort not to get knocked over.

I went over the peaks of little haystack, Lincoln, and Lafayette before going back into the trees and then summitting mount Garfield. I was passing so many people milling around the windy ridge top. I wondered how they all got up there so quickly or what other trail they came from. As much as I don’t like running into tons of people while I’m hiking, I was glad there was other people on the ridge because I didn’t feel entirely comfortable being above treeline for such a long stretch and the wind was blowing super hard.

On top of Mount Garfield.
Fraconia Ridge from Mount Garfield. I traversed the whole ridge line in this picture today.

Once I passed mount Lafayette, everyone else on the trail was taking a turn to go to a hut but I had to keep continuing to traverse the ridge above treeline alone. I was a little scared, but I made it. The wind was blowing so hard I had to try not to get knocked over. I did have to hold onto rocks with my hands a few times.

On top of mount Garfield, I had a 360 degree view of all the white mountains around me. I think it has been one of my favorite views yet. The descent from Garfield was very tricky because the water source merged with the trail and it was almost like hiking down a weak waterfall. I did my best not to trip. Before I reached Galehead hut, I passed a day hiker who asked if I had any ibuprofen to spare. Of course I did so I gave him what I had but I forgot to preface it with the fact that everything I have is covered in dirt and I think I had been carrying the pill he ended up taking with me since Georgia. I’m glad he recognized it because I get them mixed up a lot. I just thought it was funny that I had to give him such a gross looking pill 😂 his knee started bothering him on his hike so that’s why he needed it. When I passed Gaehead hut I went in for a short break and signed the log book. Nobody I recognized had signed it. I continued on even though it was getting dark and I had no idea where I would camp. The camping situation in the whites really stresses me out. After I summited south twin mountain in the rain, I found a spot to camp about 0.5 miles after the summit. I set up my tent and crawled in my sleeping bag because I was freezing. I wanted to keep hiking but I didn’t think I could make it to the next campsite and I had no idea when the next time I would find a spot to camp would be.

The treacherous descent after mount Garfield. The trail and water source converge for about 0.3 miles.

South Twin Summit.

I didn’t sleep at all. I was so worried about bears getting my food and camping alone. All the trees around me were short pine trees with skinny little 1ft long branches. There wasn’t a good place to properly store my food. First I kept it in my tent but I was freaked out so I hung it on a tree even though a bear could easily get it. Later I went and put my food back in my tent around 4am because I thought I would have a better chance of scaring the bear away. It was a long night.

Happy Trails!

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