Day 156: Lakes of the Clouds

Ethan Pond to Lake of the Clouds Hut

Miles Hiked: 14

AT Milage: 1857.7

This morning I woke up at 6am and got on trail around 6:30. I stopped at Ethan pond to see if the local moose was grazing but it did not make an appearance. I hiked about 3 miles downhill into Crawford Notch before I began gaining elevation. First I hiked 3 miles to the top of Mount Webster. It was a steep tough climb and there were several parts I questioned if I was still on the trail or not. There were some parts I had to do some more technical bouldering including a section that went straight up the face of the mountain. I could see the clouds difting through the valley below from several of the outcrops, cliffs, and rocky ledges.

The view from mount Webster.

After Mount Webster, I climbed Mount Jackson, the first mountain in the presidential traverse. Between Mount Jackson and Mizpah Spring hut the trail was very wet and boggy. There were many sections with slippery bog boards. At Mizpah Hut, I stopped in to warm up and drink some hot cocoa. I’ve been thankful for warm places to stop into on such chilly and windy days.

Mount Jackson Summit.

Mizpah Spring Hut

Between Mizpah Hut and Lakes of the clouds hut I hiked about 5 miles almost all on an exposed ridge in the Alpine Zone. The AT followed the Crawford Path and I summited the peaks of Pierce, Monroe, and Eisenhower. I later found out that the Crawford path is the oldest hiking path in continuos use and is now 200 years old! The trail was absolutely beautiful but very cold as well. I could see the surrounding valley below and all the mountains to the south. Clouds continuously rolled through the mountain range. At one point I heard the cog train toot in the distance and I saw a small puff of smoke rise up from the valley. I got my first glance of mount Washington. I could see where the cog went up the side of it but the peak of the mountain dissapeared into the clouds.

Eisenhower Summit

Walking across the Crawford path in the fog towards Monroe.

My first view of Mount Washington.

Lakes of the Clouds Hut viewed from near the summit of Monroe.

Around 4pm I arrived at Lake of the Clouds hut. I bought a bowl of potato dill soup and asked for a “work for stay”. Luckily I was allowed and I had arrived just late enough to recieve it (they don’t give out WFS before 4pm). I hung out at the hut all evening talking to another NOBO thru hiker named “Bullet” who came in after me. We reminisced about the southern half of the trail together and exchanged crazy trail stories. After the guests ate dinner we were allowed to eat and start chores. Tonight I scoured pan lids and did dishes. I set up my sleeping bag in the dining room around 9:30pm. I’m glad I have a warmer place to stay! The hut is still pretty chilly inside because it is at 5,012 feet and I don’t think it’s heated. I learned a lot about the croos who run the huts today. They work super hard and barely get paid anything. One of the coolest and hardest things they do is pack in and out fresh food / supplies and garbage on “pack boards”. They look like a mini ladder that you can strap on your back and load up with a ton of weight.

Sunset from Lakes of the clouds Hut.

Tomorrow I will summit mount Washington first thing in the morning before spending the rest of the day traversing the presidential mountain range above tree line. I hope it’s warm but currently it’s projected to be pretty cold.

Happy Trails!

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