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Album: journal:day17

Montclair Glen Lodge to Mama Bowers
14 Oct 2005
Day 17
8.1 LT miles, 187.6 cumulative miles

How is it that we always seem to leave late? Nine o'clock doesn't sound too bad but getting up and over Camels Hump took a lot longer than expected.

The 1.9 miles to the summit started out deceptively easy. After an hour we had gained it's lower slopes after a few short slab climbs. My sister even mistook it for the summit in the clouds. I didn't crush her hopes and dreams by breaking the news to her. I was laughing inside though. When have we ever done 1.9 uphill miles in an hour? Silly girl.

Then the big up started and shattered her dream of an easy day. It was steep and slick and long. I'd say it was the steepest and longest sustained ascent of the trip. Finally we were .2 miles from the summit at the treeeline. Above us loomed a dark cliff obscured by the racing cloud we were inside. My sister's first reaction was, "I'm not doing that." Then she walked a little further to see where the trail went exactly. "Look at that wind", and seeing where the trail disappeared around the rocks, "I'll get flipped off the mountain!".

"Come on sis. You can do it." I replied extending my hand.

"No, it's just suicide." The wind was fierce. She decided to take the bad weather bypass trail and meet me at the other side. That actually had me more worried than tackling the summit. She has been using the trail name Half-Mile after all.

So we went our separate ways. Honestly, around the corner I found that the wind died down and the hike up the rock was fairly gently. Then the route took me back into the full force of the wind scouring the summit dome. I could still walk but just barely. Fortunately the summit was down wind of my position. At least I didn't have to fight against the wind. Using my poles I took one slow step at a time until I stood at the USGS summit marker. Success. The virtual and actual high point of the day.

Back down at the LT & Alpine Trail junction I met Karen just at the moment I was going to look for her after leaving a note and deciding she had to either be lost or hurt to have taken so long.

A nearly never ending descent of almost 4000 feet took us to River Road where we were picked up by Papa from Mama Bowers B&B in Richmond. We finished in the dark and rain like so many other times.

The sad part is that during the hike down my sister decided to leave the trail 2 days early and skip Mt. Mansfield. I'd do the same thing in her place. The weather has been bad and the trails muddy and without views. Why push for two more days of that? Save that Monday vacation day for something else.

P.S. I checked the next shelter lof after the Hump. Will made it over the summit and crashed out exhausted at 05:15 in a shallow cave.

P.P.S. I had a surprise package waiting for me at Mama Bowers! Thanks Balloon Dancer. Its contents made me laugh and the cider will be much appreciated down the trail. It is too wet an cold.

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