8/22, Day 115, Crawford Notch to Lake of the Clouds Hut, 11.14 miles
The mountains get even more beautiful. Above tree line is my most favorite place in the world and we are seeing some of the best. The trees get progressively shorter until they spread across the ground below our knees. We ate tiny blueberries off plants hugging the ground between cracks in the rocks. Most plant color is lichen on the rocks. All of this adds up to an open vista that sings to my soul.
As we climbed the cloud ceiling lowered to meet us in a saddle right before Mt Monroe. The fog was blowing horizontally and when we walked into it we were pelted with heavy raindrops. The south side of plants, rocks and us stayed dry.
Lake of the Clouds was the next shelter. This is the largest of the AMC huts. It loomed directly in front of us in the fog before we expected it. We dashed inside, poured a hot drink and asked for work for stay. If we swept, set the table, and cleared dishes we would get dinner leftovers and could sleep on the table. The hard part was waiting to go to bed.
Weather is cold, wet and extremely windy. We listened to the wind howl and bang, gusts up to 50 mph with a wind chill factor of 28* for hiking.