#11 Adams (5,774 ft.)

The third time was the charm, but it certainly was not charming. On a rainy, cold, foggy, and windy day, toward the end of hours of picking our way among the boulder fields of the northern Presidentials, we arrived at the cutoff to the Adams summit. And then we promptly broke one of the cardinal rules of hiking (and horror movies): we split up. Clem and I wanted to go for the summit, given that the conditions, even though far from ideal, were better than those on our abortive attempt last fall. Thomas was tired, however, and concerned about the wet traction on his newish boots, and less enthusiastic about summiting.

Dolley Shot: It's Always Balmy on Adams

So we found a couple of thru hikers headed for Madison Hut and sent Thomas with them. We should have been suspicious when said thru hikers did not know that the AT doesn't go over the summit of Adams; they also left the lead to Thomas, who had never been in the northern Presidentials before, or hiked in those conditions. Within maybe 100 yards of leaving us they took a wrong turn in the fog, heading down the initially almost parallel (but ultimately perilous) Great Gulley Trail, which plunges over the western lip of the range. They managed to scramble back up, but at that point Thomas was spent, and he paid the price by taking a header off of a wet rock, breaking one of his poles, and also his thumb. We all learned a lesson, the hard way. I'm grateful that nothing more serious happened. Clem and I also took a wrong turn in the foul conditions: at the summit, we headed down the long and steep Star Lake Trail instead of the much easier route straight to the hut. I cursed a lot. But the lake was breathtakingly beautiful and eery in the fog, so I can't complain.

The next day we were back to bluebird skies after a few misty summit clouds and fog in the valley. We took the Air Line down for the first part of the hike, to show Thomas the scenery, and then traversed over on the Upper Bruin to Valley Way for the rest of the hike out.

Legal          Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.