I had a good night’s rest at the Carlo Col Campsite and Eric and Michael were already gone by the time I packed everything and left the campsite. As I was leaving, I passed another occupied tent pad and was greeted by the 74-year old woman who was camping there with her grandson (the kid who returned my cup to me yesterday). It turns out that she is an avid hiker who has attempted several thru-hikes that have all ended with an injury. Next year she is going to try again and, if successful, she believes that at age 75 she will be the oldest woman to ever complete an A.T. thru-hike. I was inspired while chatting with her!
My short hike today can best be described as gruelingly steep climbs followed by summits with beautiful alpine bogs and spectacular vistas followed by treacherously steep descents, all times four. None of the climbs were particularly long as elevation changes stayed in the 300-foot range, but it is hard for me to describe how tiring this was on my body. It was, however, a beautiful hike in my eyes.
My morning started with a short climb to the wooded summit of Mt Carlo. During my descent down the north side of Mt Carlo, I reached a break in the trees that gave me a nice view ahead to the peaks of Goose Eye Mountain. After reaching the bottom of the descent, I immediately started the next climb which took me above the treeline to an alpine bog. It is important to stay on the bog bridges in these areas to protect the rare plant life, but the bogs can be deceptively deep, too. One time my trekking pole slipped off the bridge and after penetrating the mud to the depth of two feet I still didn’t feel anything solid. I did a quick mental review of how to escape from quicksand that I learned from watching numerous movies.
The summit of Goose Eye Mountain’s West Peak is covered by slabs of rock and provides some amazing views all the way to the White Mountains. With the assistance of some judiciously placed rebar and wooden steps, I climbed through the gap between Goose Eye Mountain’s West Peak and East Peak which also provided some extraordinary views. At one point, I looked down and saw Eric and Michael waving at me from a rocky slab over a mile away and I waved back. The East Peak is followed by more steep climbing and bridges through alpine bogs to get to the North Peak of Goose Eye Mountain where the wonderful views continued.
By the time I reached the Full Goose Shelter and Campsite, it was after 1:00 pm and I had only traveled 4.4 miles for the day. In keeping with the today’s theme, I had to climb a ladder to get to the shelter (and there is another ladder to go down when you leave). I joined Eric and Michael at the shelter for lunch where we were joined by several groups of SOBO hikers that had just come from Mahoosuc Notch. The SOBO’s had some amazing tales to tell about the Mahoosuc Notch and their times for getting through the notch ranged an hour and fifteen minutes to close to two hours. I figured it would take me close to two hours to negotiate that mile.
The Full Goose Shelter had been my desired destination for yesterday, and today I had a decision to make. Based on my current level of fatigue, I decided to remain here tonight even though it was still early in the afternoon. This plan will have me fully rested in the morning before I tackle the Mahoosuc Notch and Mahoosuc Arm, but it will also put me one more day behind schedule (and one day short of food). Eric and Michael have decided to go ahead and get through the notch and camp at Bull Branch before climbing the arm. That would only leave them with a few miles to hike tomorrow before reaching their car which is parked at Grafton Notch. Knowing that I would never catch up with Eric and Michael before they reached Grafton Notch, I told them it had been a pleasure to meet them and said goodbye.
Date: August 14, 2017
Starting Location: Carlos Col Shelter & Campsite
Ending Location: Full Goose Shelter & Campsite
AT Miles Today: 4.4
AT Miles To Date: 1,912.9