Aug 21 , 1983 Sunday (382 mtg) From
Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal
the first two miles of the trail involved climbing up the south
peak of Kinsman Mountain. After that there was a dip before ascending
to North Kinsman Peak. I remember that a few places along the trail
I encountered trail that was more kin to rock climbing than trail
walking. The trail came to an abrupt vertical wall of stone, with
the trail continuing from the top of the ledge sometimes more than
ten feet above. Some areas like this had wooden ladders constructed
of pine trees nailed together, while others actually involved some
rock climbing, perhaps because the ladders were destroyed. The
skies were unfortunately cloudy this morning, hanging just above
the lower peaks, and providing views under the ceiling of the
clouds, but no bright blue sky.
Upon reaching Kinsman Pond Shelter I found a couple of packs, but
no bodies to go with them. The owners must have been out on a day
hike and would return later. Perhaps they belonged to John Smart
and "The Trail Walker." I stopped for a break and to read
and sign the register there. Unfortunately someone tore out three
quarters of the pages before the owner had it returned. I was included
in the later loss of pages, but the remainder can be seen here.
By this time the skies had begun to clear and the makings of a brilliant
day were on the way. I descended off the mountain toward the first
of the White Mountain huts run by the AMC at Lonesome Lake. I decided
to check the place out and see how they run things. Upon entering
the hut, I was informed by a chalkboard sign that there was lasagna
for sale. These were left over from the previous evenings meal,
but I decided to have some. I was given a large helping and then
treated to some free left over pineapple upside down cake. I hung
around the place waiting for the girls from New York, but they never
showed up. So much for my Sierra Cup. I guess the hut crew must
have decided that there was no sense keeping the rest of the lasagna
around any longer and then offered me more for free. I gladly took
it off their hands.
I moved down the trail a short distance to the shore of Lonesome
Lake where the view of Mt Lafayette rising as a backdrop behind
the lake took my breath away. The scene was one of the most amazing
I had seen up to this point. The stories were correct - "The
Whites" did kick ass!
I left the serenity of the lake view and headed back toward the
daily regime of hiking as I began to descend toward Franconia Notch.
While crossing one of the brooks whose bridge had been removed,
I became momentarily lost and followed a blue-blazed section of
trail for a couple of yards. I backtracked and rejoined the correct
route on it's way down to the road crossing at US 3.
Once across the highway the trail began a gradual uphill climb for
say - "a very little distance" before heading practically
straight up for two and a half miles. In that span, the elevation
changed two and a half thousand feet. Now that is a climb! The trail
did not wind here and there either that I recall, just a straight
line up the side of the mountain to a campsite called Liberty Springs.
To be able to camp here, in an area that was in no way level, the
AMC has built tenting platforms to allow a level surface. The platforms
also minimize the impact of camping. There is a fee for utilizing
these spots that is paid to the caretaker who lives in a tent also.
The fee was two dollars. The spring at Liberty Springs provided
great water and helped ease the pain of the long ascent. I rested
by the spring before choosing a tentsite.
(click image to see larger)
A couple of other northbounders, Mike
Patch and a friend of his, showed up a little later. We all
chose platforms and set up our tarps in anticipation of rain, then
went to a spot on the right side of the trail to watch the sunset
from a large boulder. As the evening fell, the temperature at our
altitude of almost 4000 feet began to get quite chilly. Irv, "The
Trailwalker", came by, ripped several bellowing farts without
even being the least bit embarrassed, fixed his grub, and then being
as cheap as he looked and smelled, went up the trail to find a spot
outside the quarter mile boundary from the trail to spend the night
free. He had been unable to convince the caretaker to allow him
to stay free at the campsite. What a character.
Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983