Going Feral After a Lafayette Sunrise

Leaving The Notch hostel a couple days prior, I not only weighed my pack (40.5 lbs) but I weighed myself as well. I’m at an all time low, 13 lbs below my high school weight. I have no body reserves left. I’ve spent everything I had at this point.

I’ve never pushed my body like this. Plus I got lazy with food resupplies, especially in the protein department. Well more accurately, I got sick of a lot of the staple foods easily available and stopped eating them. I’ve corrected that and the ammonia smell is starting to subside.

I’m feeling much better and constantly energized by each new summit and view while ascending deeper across the White Mountain Range. I also made sure I have some extra supplements I bought before I left coming in my next resupply box, waiting for me in Gorham, near the Maine border.

Waking up with the frigid temps and winds on top of Lafayette hardly phased me. I’ve never been one for early rises, but opportunities like this in life are exceedingly rare.

We all took in the sunrise, pink sky, and low level clouds seeping around blue mountains in our own way.

I slept cowboy style in the bottom left corner (below) where I had the best wind block overnight.

Of course by morning the winds had done a 180 and it was the worst corner to be in when I woke.

It only spurred me to get moving faster. I huddled in a large crack and made us a big pot of coffee to get started.

The picture immediately below is one of my all time favorites, so was that hard fought pot of coffee in the wind.

As the sun first peaked over the horizon on a totally clear morning, just to the right of Mount Washington, I realized just how special the moment was… Not to many people get to see this view, ever.

Both mountains and everything in between need to be clear of clouds, you have to camp illegally, not get busted, and do it on a night that won’t kill you from hypothermia or run you off with bad weather by morning on a 5K summit. I’m going to hazard a guess that there are 5-10 days a year this type of view is possible.

For perspective, I believe the strips on the bottom right are a ski resort.

It’s time to get moving. I’m planning on having a huge day.

Following the cairns on down the Franconia Ridgeline, things warmed up fast.

I shed layers quick and took the opportunity to dry my base layers out that were still wet from yesterday’s sweat.

Frankly it felt really invigorating to strip down up there. I’m just one article of clothing away from completely going feral…

Coming down off the ridge, just below tree line, I ran into a surprise encounter. About 1,000 miles back on the trail in Roan, Tennessee was the last time I saw Noise Maker (now named Bees Knees). At some point, after we sang karaoke and I shaved her head, she decided to flip-flop to Maine and hike south. We encountered each other again and took a break to catch up. It was really cool to randomly run into a flip-flopper I once traveled with, after so many miles.

The next 4K mountain along the trail is Mount Garfield at 4,500 ft. This mountain marks the end of the Franconia Ridge and the beginning of the Twins Range.

The view from the Garfield summit looking back at Lafayette and the Franconia Ridge.

Next in line is the Galehead 4K.

I’m kicking ass today! I’ve got data on most summits and I’m whipping Instagram’s ass with my trail of pics today. I can’t help it, I’m proud of this. From my first 4K taking everything I had for the entire day, to climbing four in a day and multiple ridge lines in-between, I’m feeling a marked improvement in my ability.

Next is South Twin Mountain off in the distance. I’m not even considering the smaller mountains necessary to traverse to get there now.

Summit South Twin Mountain at 4,902 ft. There is another unofficial 4K mountain called Mt. Guyout at 4,580 ft. I’m not sure why it’s not recognized as an official 4K’er?

I reached the final 4K of the day at dusk and made camp on the summit. Zealand Mountain at 4,260 ft. has no view, it’s in the trees and has good wind block.

It’s another night where I’m really low on water. I go to sleep thirsty leaving a few swallows for the morning. The next water source on the map is close to 4 miles down from here. I’ll just have to make it down there in the morning and do coffee and breakfast then. Threshold reached, I’m whipped now.

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