With temperatures climbing into the high 80s and possibly low 90s in WMNF for this hike, it was going to be a hot, soupy day: we knew that going in. Even at elevation it would be humid, but with no thunderstorms or other inclement weather in the forecast, Ethan and I took off from Pine Bend trail and began the ascent up North Tripyramid, which starts flat with several easy stream crossings. Then it’s less flat, rather suddenly, actually.
As we climbed the increasing heat of the day began to set in. We took frequent (for us, at least) water / food / breath-catching breaks and surrendered to the fact that we would spend the entirety of this day drenched in sweat.
Ethan had spent the night by hiking Mt. Jackson which meant he was operating on short sleep. I had spent the night at the crowded Ammonoosuc Campground with some rather inconsiderate neighbors, so my sleep had been less than stellar as well and I am still having a bit of fallout from the Cats, Carters, Moriah traverse, namely some bruising under a few toenails on my left foot, so I was far from peak condition for this hike.
We finished the ascent to North Tripyramid and rested for a few minutes at the peak. I made the observation that there are sections of Pine Bend trail that are as hard as the climb out of Carter Notch up Carter Dome, which was quite a climb. The long and short of doing 4,000 footers in the Whites is that they’re all tough, some are just tougher than others.
We started the ridge walk over to Middle and it was lovely. Ethan and I bother commented about how ridge walks are just special for some reason. We were also thankful for the stiff breeze we had for the few minutes we were on the ridge, it actually cooled us off significantly and it was the first time that day that we weren’t sweating in the humid heat of the day. We reached Middle’s summit not long after and immediately beat feet back towards North. The return trip is when I really started losing energy, but we were able to keep a decent pace re-summited North and immediately began the arduous descent having determined it was beer o’clock and wanting to get down to meet Stacy at the wonderful Kettlehead Brewing before it was a standing-room-only affair, which happens pretty often there.
On the way out I realized I probably should have filled my 2L Hydropack bag on the way up, as I was running just a little shorter on water than I cared to be, given the rate I was losing hydration. I kept careful watch over my water intake and we stopped at the first good watering spot, where I filled one of my 1L Smartwater bottles with my Katadyn filter and drank most of the other liter that was in the bag on the spot. That held me until we reached the end of our journey.
The last few miles out were a great way to end this hike and we made excellent time out, averaging around 2.5mph and at times nearly 3mph. All told were were on trail for 6:05:59 and covered just a bit over 10 miles, according to GPS.
#21 and #22 are in the bag – nearly halfway there!