Day 70 – Frozen

Today has some of everything. I am camped in the snow laying on a pad that is too thin and feeling the snow beneath me in the the heart of the white mountains. The day began with a short walk to the first of 3 major road crossings. And what do you know I received trail magic. Apple Pie who is a previous thru hiker was helping out speedstick and I received some residual magic. My favorite was the cheesecake she had with her! I would see her 2 more times at different crossings and be rewarded with oranges, more cheesecake and juice! After 10 miles I went into Glencliff to fill up my pack before the whites. I hit the jackpot! I received a package from my aunt with lots of goodies and most importantly coffee. I also received lots of snacks and treats from a fellow thru hiker who did the Pacific Crest Trail the same year I did: Malto. It was very generous of both of them and it will be great to have this food through the rugged section. In terms of the trail: it is some of the worst I have ever hiked on. Imagine the steepest hill you have ever hiked up and then imagine a smooth 6 inch layer of ice on that hill. Then put 10-20 of those hills back to back with equally different valleys between them. This is the white mountains. I climbed Mt Moosilake at 4800′ which is highest I have been in literally thousands of miles. From here the treachery began. Climbing down the beaver ridge trail was awful and incredibly dangerous. The ice was often unnavigable even with my Stabilicers on due to giant frozen columns that had formed from a winter of melting and freezing. Without the traction devices I would have been helpless. I could grip the slippery walkway and even jog in the flat areas. Other than the unexpected pillars, I was able to move freely albeit very slowly. Each of the next couple days I should be presented by more ice, more horror, and more incredibly frustrating conditions but with the good weather things could be a lot worse and the beauty surrounding me is incredible.