Day 148 – August 2 – 10.8 miles – Whitehouse Brook Stealth Camp to Garfield Ridge Campsite
Elevation Change: 8261
In the morning we descended down into the Fanconia Notch, passed under a road, and began our climb up to the Fanconia Ridge. The climb, gaining 2828 feet in 2.8 miles, was another steep one.
Sometimes on climbs like these, I had the thought that I should rest for a minute. Before stopping, I went though a quick diagnostic of how my body was doing. “Muscles hurting? No. Heart beating too fast? No. Dehydrated? No. Everything’s fine. Keep going!”
By this time our cardio was so good, it felt detrimental to stop during a climb. Any time I stopped, my heart rate would start to drop quickly. Once I started out again it took a little bit for my heart rate to go back up. During the transitional period it felt like I was lacking energy. So it was best to just keep hiking.
While we were climbing, we passed Zeus and Flashfire. They had started earlier out in the morning than us and were taking a break. They typically took a short break every hour our so and then hiked at a fast rate.
We quickly discussed checking out the Mt. Liberty side trail. Everyone agreed to meet at the summit.
When we got to the top of the climb, the AT turned left and the side trail turned right. We turned right. I’m so glad we did.
On the way to the summit of Mt liberty, there was a rocky outcropping that gave us a nice view down into the valley below, and a nice view of the cliff-like summit as well.
When we got to the summit, we were rewarded with views in every direction.
Off to our right we could see a large section of the Franconia Ridge
The Tramily took a break for a while. Relaxing in the sun on the top of a mountain is a good way to start the morning.
After leaving Mt Liberty, the AT descended and flattened out for about a half mile before climbing up Mt Haystack.
On the way up Haystack, we got a beautiful view of Mt. Liberty.
Everyone in the Tramily was in a great mood. Everyone was smiling and laughing throughout the traverse. The weather was perfect, the scenery was astounding. I think the feeling of walking here from Georgia really magnified everything.
As we hiked over Haystack and headed to Mt. Lincoln, we passed 5000 feet. It was the first time we had been over 5000 feet since we were in southern Virginia.
Above treeline it was hard to get a sense of how far away the next peak was. It seemed like it was close until tiny colorful dots were seen near the top. The dots were hikers roughly a mile away.
Words don’t adequately describe the scene, so Ill let the pictures do the talking for a bit.
From Mt. Lafayette we steeply descended to around 3700 feet before climbing up to the summit of Mt Garfield (4500 feet).
At the top of Mt Garfield was the foundation of an old fire tower. Stoat and I hung out there for a little bit and watched a thunderstorm slowly roll in. Also there were fellow Thru hikers Sweethart (another German Hiker), and Dingo. We hadn’t seen Dingo since we were in Great Barrington Massachusetts.
As the rain and thunder got closer, we decided that we should probably get to camp before the storm came. Its funny, in the beginning of the trip we would have had donned our rain gear and left the view at the first sight of rain. Now that we were seasoned hikers, we knew when we could stay and when we would have to run.
As the Garfield Ridge Shelter / Campsite was less than 0.4 miles away, we got there pretty quickly.
The Garfield Ridge Shelter / Campsite was, like almost all campsites in the Whites, a AMC pay campsite. It was $10 to stay there, and that got you a site and a card that offered a discount at the next pay site and two free baked goods from the AMC huts. Paying to camp annoys Thru hikers, myself included. After camping for free for so long, it just felt wrong to have to pay. The Whites have a very high amount a visitors, and I get why having established pay sites cuts down on overcrowding, but for a Thru hiker it kind of sucks.
Thankfully the campsite wasn’t full, and Stoat and I both found some spots to hang our hammocks. Thunder rolled off in the distance, it was coming from a slightly different location than before. It looked like the brunt of the Storm would miss us.
When the Caretaker came around to collect the fee, I got to talk to her about her life in the mountains. The caretakers come out for a week at a time, maintain the grounds, and make sure campers don’t burn the place down. They hike in all their food and equipment and hike it out again when they leave. It seemed like an awesome summer job.
After eating dinner, Stoat and I walked around the campground a bit i. At one of the campsites was none other than Hobo Joe and Kim. We hadn’t seen them since we were in Pennsylvania. They were about to go to bed, and it started to drizzle, so we only talked to them a little bit.
Then it was off to our hammocks to get some well deserved rest.
What a great day!