Greenleaf Hut, NH, AT NOBO mile 1,818.6, Wednesday June 18, 2014 — Heretofore miles measured progress. No longer. Now it’s all about elevation. How high is high?
This morning we punched out of the Kinsman Pond shelter, elevation 3,763 ft., passed through Franconia Notch at 1,443 ft. and closed the day’s forward progress atop 5,291 ft. Mt. Lafayette.
Not a bad day’s work for only 12 miles. Now you see why miles aren’t the coin of the realm in the White Mountains. It’s all about up.
Today we also decided to investigate the Appalachian Mountain Club’s hut system. The huts, strategically located throughout the Whites, offer a bunk, breakfast and dinner to paying guests.
Hikers can stop by during the day for leftovers, soup, cake and coffee for a reasonable fee. Each hut allows two thru hikers work for stay meaning free dinner and breakfast in exchange for a small amount of menial work. Not a bad deal considering that paying guests shell out $125 nightly.
We hit Lonesome Lake Hut in time for a late breakfast. The “croo” there suggested we stay at Greenleaf tonight in part because Greenleaf doesn’t see many thru hikers.
There’s a reason why thru hikers pass over Greenleaf. It is 1.1 miles and 1,000 feet below the Lafayette summit! Oh how we’re going to hate ourselves in the morning!!!
The day was long, but the climbing was much easier than yesterday’s hand over hand rock scrambles. The winds were howling up top on the socked in Franconia Ridge Trail as we staggered like wind blown drunks toward Lafayette.
On the descent the prop department displayed its finest work as the sun worked its magic and the landscape underneath transformed to an entirely new reality as dramatic cloud strings wisped along the ridge lines. It was a perfect ending.