Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 27

I had a great night's sleep in the hotel and we slept in and took our time getting packed. We ate our cereal for breakfast, checked out, and followed the trail through town. Bear Bag needed to stop at the grocery store on the edge of town so he ran inside and I sat outside with our packs. Several people asked what we were going to do in the storm...and told us to be safe! Hopefully we will be! We saw signs in town saying that the White Mountains were closed, and someone else told us that the entire trail in New Hampshire was closed in anticipation of the storm. But what were we going to do? So, we followed our original plan to wait out the storm in a shelter...much cheaper than staying in town, and we could get a few miles in as well.
The trail was fairly flat (until the end), but still rugged and a bit muddy. We were hiking along, Bear Bag in front, and singing "Highwayman" pretty loudly when we heard loud crashing up the hill to our left. We stopped and waited, and a small bear cub sprinted across the trail and down over the hill right in front of us! We still heard lots of noise and then we saw the mother bear come running down as well, just about 25 yards in front of us! They both disappeared over the hill and we were left standing there in kind of a shock. It was totally unexpected; I actually didn't think I would see any more bears on this trip. I think that puts the count up to 12?
We stopped about 5 miles in at a road crossing...my feet were killing me; it felt like I had walked 15 miles instead of 5! There was a sign at the road that said cold water was available at the house down the road so we walked there and filled up at their spigot. Just a few miles later at another crossing there were jugs of potable water for hikers...love trail magic water! It's nice to not have to treat water before you drink it. We headed up Moose Mountain to finish off the day, and are at Moose Mountain Shelter tonight. We are the only ones here so we can spread our junk out all over the place! The water here is a smelly mud hole (sadly not an exaggeration) and the privy has a roof but no walls! The shelter is nice though and looks fairly new.
The last we'd heard in town was that Irene was supposed to hit us early Sunday morning and throughout the day. We plan to hunker down here and hopefully stay dry until she passes. It's about 8 o'clock now and it's been raining lightly for about 20 minutes. We'll see what happens overnight!
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