AT 2017: Day 138, Kinsman Notch to Eliza Brook Shelter

I'm just playing in the band

About a week ago, Felix and I were texting back and forth to make plans to hike together. He remembered Stick from the night we camped at Graymoor Spiritual Life Center, and asked if Stick was still hiking with me.

I said yes, then mentioned that my friend Ralph was also planning to join us in the Whites. Ralph hiked with Stick and me for a few days in Maryland, and since then he has wanted to hike some more with us.

In response to all of these people gathering for the Whites, Felix replied, “It’s like we’re getting the band back together!"

DateSunday, August 27, 2017
WeatherPartly sunny with temperatures in the upper 60s
Trail ConditionsSteep climbs and descents with many rocks and some mud
Today's Miles7.5
Trip Miles1807.9

That may be true, but after yesterday’s performance, I feared I was going to get kicked out of the band.

Today is another day, though, and that’s the thing about long distance hiking. When you have a bad day, you usually have another day to make better.

This day certainly started better.

Shortly after we woke up and started preparing for the day, Stitches arrived. She brought us trail magic: donuts! This was an unexpected surprise.

After Stitches took our photo, some hikers arrived. They were looking for a ride into Lincoln, so she agreed to take them.

Just before we began hiking, Uncle Puck showed up in the parking lot. He had been dropped off there to slackpack southbound up Mt. Moosilauke.

Though our meeting was brief, it was enjoyable to see him again. I had not seen Uncle Puck in three months.

He is now hiking with Dancing Bear, who is from Germany.

The first part of today’s hike wasn’t extremely difficult. It started out steeply for the first half mile, but the remaining four miles to the top of Mt. Wolf were not as steep.

Felix seemed to keep a slow pace to stay with me, but as we got closer to the top of the mountain he started to stretch out his lead. I could tell he was starting feel a need to go faster to keep up with his schedule.

I learned later that when he got near the top of Mt. Wolf, Felix met Ralph, who was hiking towards us. Though they had not met each other before, they were able to figure out who each other was.

Felix told Ralph I would be along soon, then decided he needed to push on. Felix asked Ralph to apologize to me for leaving, but as far as I was concerned, an apology wasn’t necessary. I completely understood the situation Felix was in and regretted making that situation more difficult for him.

When I arrived at an overlook point about three tenths of a mile from the top, Ralph appeared from around a corner. After greeting each other we continued to the top, where we stopped to eat lunch.

The view from the summit wasn’t outstanding, but we were able get a glimpse of Franconia Ridge, which is where the trail will lead us to in a couple days.

The descent from Mt. Wolf was far more easy to manage than yesterday's descent from Mt. Moosilauke. The only parts that gave us trouble were a few large, deep pools of mud.

From the top we only had three miles to go to reach Eliza Brook Shelter, and we had plenty of time to get there.

Camping is severely limited in the Whites, either by regulation or by terrain. Finding a campsite isn’t easy in some spots. For today, the shelter looked to be our best option, even though Stick and I were only going to hike 7.5 miles today.

Stick was at the shelter when we arrived. He had found us some tent spots that overlooked Eliza Brook, and that was appreciated because there were a lot of campers here today. Among them was a large group from Tufts University.

I felt bad that we never got a chance to be a band of four, but at least the band of three was back together for a few days. Ralph, Stick and I had fun the last time we hiked together and I knew we would have fun again.

Some folks look for answers
Others look for fights
Some folks up in tree tops
Just looking for their kites
I can tell your future
Whoa, just look what's in your hand
I can't stop for nothing
I'm just playing in the band

From “Playing in the Band” by Robert Hunter, Bob Weir and Mickey Hart

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"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine."ref.