Goat Scrounger, Halifax and the Viking drove down to the the presidentials for another fantastic week of hiking and burping and farting and bulls****ing, but you knew that part. A small but brave and hardy band of hikers ( now a sub group called the Grayhounds) set off at 0800 on Labour Day Monday to do 12 mile 12 hour hike up and over the Wildcat Ridge and then on the Carter Moriah Trail to Imp Shelter. We did know that it was 12 miles, we didn't know that it was 12 hours. The first night hike was not planned but then all the good ones come by accident anyway. The climb up Wildcat was as to be expected, hard sort of like Falling Waters but twice as long followed by MUDS ( mindless ups and downs) till we crested Carter. About seven at night the sun fell behind Mt Madison, putting us in that eerie sort of half daylight half darkness. But easy to get your night vision. Imp was still some way off. The Gonzo rule of no lights was easy to handle at this stage. The white blazes make for easy following, although they don't do much for telling you where the rocks are. Rocks smocks just keep moving.Finally - the sign. Imp Shelter only 800 yds down a side trail. Suddenly what had been a walk in the park had become real tough sledding. Down hill and dark in the trees. Off we trod. A mere half hour later (it seemed a lot longer than a half an hour) we spotted the sign for the caretaker for the shelter. Quickly and quietly, we hopped by heading for the shelter, but alas twas not to be Hawkeye aka the Scrounger spotted the sign. "Hey guys, the caretakers shelter is this way" Oh about US$24 later we were duly registered and paid. It was certainly the longest toughest day yet in my hiking life. It was a tough hike but maybe it was the 10 and half hour warm up that was so tiring.
Of course two nights later the Team Grayhound dogs were joined by a couple of like-minded ( DIpper and Sun God) hikers for a short two day trip through the Mahoosuc Notch (toughest 1 mile on the AT) and up the arm to Speck Pond. We arrived early to the shelter, thus allowing Dipper and Goat to do their thing (Speck Pond - highest lake in Maine) All had a rest and supper. Hey we aren't tired and there is still time to play. What could we do? How about a night hike? Dipper, with his nice new vest, was a gimmee and it didn't take much to get the rest off of the porch. Sure just a mile hike up Old Speck Mountain (another 4000 footer but who keeps track anymore?) . Wow, even a 25 foot tower at the peak to get the full 360 degree view of all around. The twinkling lights of Success Pond only about 10 miles away. Sort of neat trying to figure why there is a light all by itself in the middle of nowhere. What is behind that light off in the distance? A beautiful night and nice and cool for the jaunt back to Speck Pond. Lights were now necessary as we were moving quickly.
Another awesome Gonzo night hike. Where were you and what were you doing?