8/18, Day 111, NH 112 Kinsman Notch to Franconia Notch, 16.3 miles
We got up early and hit the trail. Ken figured that if we could get 6.5 or 7 miles by noon we would make it to Franconia Notch and North Woodstock, our next resupply. The fallback was either stealth camp or go to Lonesome Lake Hut depending on the weather. We had 7.5 miles at noon. Things looked great.
Then we started up South Kinsman mountain. It was described as a rock scramble both up and down. It was a steep, rugged rock scramble (picture a a waterfall creek bed). Then we got a thunder shower before we reached the peak. Slow progress changed to slower progress. At the top we did get great views though.
By the time we got to Lonesome Lake Hut we weren’t sure if we could get to the road before dark. We asked staff about the upcoming trail and got the answer we wanted – the trail was easier than what we had been on.
We upped the pace and made it to the road at about 7 pm. Oops, we didn’t think about the road being Interstate highway. We walked another .8 mi to a parking lot; no people there, so we tried a local highway. No action there, so we hiked back to the freeway off ramp and finally got a ride into town but had a little trouble finding the hotel. We checked into the hotel and headed for the tavern to eat. AWOL walked by and we invited him to join us.
Whew, what a very hard day. But we made it to a delicious meal, warm shower, and a good bed. Now we realize that a 15 mile day in the Whites will be torturous. Our muscles feel overworked after hiking this long!