Journals From A 2003 Thru-Hike of the Appalachian Trail (by Loony)
Entry #129 – August 28, 2003
8:20 PM – What a difference a day makes! Had a great night’s sleep at the hostel and then we were off to climb Mt Moosilauke – at 4,802 feet, it’s our first mountain above tree line. The climb up looked pretty intimidating on our profile – 3,000 feet in 3 miles. But, up we went. I think the excitement of being there and the wondering of what we’d see up top drove us on. We barely had a chance to tire out. Before too long we were on the South Peak. It was getting chilly and windy, but we were pretty warm from the hike up. There were still trees – 6′ or so pines – lining the trail. From the South Peak we followed the ridge for a bit on the gravelly trail. Two older hikers passed us going south & they were in full gear – pants and jackets. We were in shorts and t-shirts. After we got farther down the ridge, all of a sudden the summit appeared. It was a rocky, barren mountaintop with the clouds racing across it. The wind was fierce, and cold as the dead of winter. I put on my jacket and Andy put on his fleece before we headed for the top. Once up there the clouds were breaking and we could see the Whites before us, and everything else until the ends of the earth. We had arrived.
Didn’t stay at the top too long, as we were starting to freeze with the wind. The temp was around 45 I think, but it was definitely down near freezing with the wind chill. We hiked down to Beaver Brook Shelter where we had originally planned to spend the night. It was only about 2:00, though, so we decided to have lunch and move on.
The climb down the other side of Moosilauke was quite a trip. Very steep, with steps ground into or pounded onto a near vertical rock in some areas. Rebar for handholds. There was a waterfall down the side for about a mile. Very beautiful.
The rest of our hike took us to Gordon Pond, where we’re tenting. It’s a bit off the trail, and not a “designated” spot, so we’re all alone. We’re right on the edge of the water, and saw our first moose of our trip. It didn’t get too close, though – it was pretty spooked.
Maybe rain tomorrow. It’s so cold out, though, that I wouldn’t be surprised to see snow.