Day started at Eliza Brook Shelter and ended up at Lonesome Lake Hut. It wasn't where I had expected to end up since though Greyhound and I had talked about staying in some of the AMC huts this time we were aiming for a hostel down in the notch.
The morning dawned with beautiful weather . The climbs of South and North Kinsman were challenging, in my opinion more challenging than Moosilauke. The hike brought with it some of the first areas where I found myself looking up the inclines wondering exactly how I was suppose to accomplish climbing that. It was the beginning of a new component to my hikes "the study " moment which hopefully lead to the "this is 'a' path'" moment.
We got to the top of South Kinsman in somewhat good time with the aim of heading to Lonesome Lake Hut for a bit of a late lunch before climbing down. Food is always a good motivator -especially food that you haven't needed to carry in your pack. The Huts have a reputation for good cheap food and so often over the coming days would be our hoped for mid or end point of the day's hike.
As I continued along coming up against walls of stone which required climbing up or figuring out ways of getting safely down we ran into crews doing work on the Trail. Since they were in the middle of changing a few things it meant you came across 15 ft high boulders that might have an old rung or two somewhere near the center of them and indications that there were once wooden steps attached. No longer was there a way to get to those rungs but you would look at them as you made your way trying to find crevices to jam your boots into while hopefully maintaining a grasp of something solid.
As we got closer to the Hut, we came across the new log ladders/stair case built by the crew we had seen earlier. Two freshly cut logs with the bark still attaches and damp rungs of logs with a 'step' hewed relatively straight across. Most often I turned around and slowly climbed down backwards, this time after watching others just walk merrily down them, I with my new found confidence decided I could do that too.
Moments later, quicker than it takes to write, I was falling and throwing my legs up in the air since getting them trapped by the ladder could end up in breaks rather than bruises. There is nothing like contact martial arts & stage combat to teach you how to fall. As Greyhound said it could have been much much worse. As it was I threw myself down the rock face rolling from the now bruised hip to slide down on my backpack the only true casualty being a hiking pole and my self confidence.
After reassuring herself that I was okay, Greyhound went ahead to check and see if perhaps we could find space at the Hut as I couldn't walk much further that day. I slowly made my way, trying to figure out how to favour one leg and use only one pole across the rest of the rough hewn log bridges and steps. But we did get bunks and we made it in before the thunder storms hailed their way across the mountains.
The next morning dawned with the promise of brighter days ahead and that is sometimes the best you can get.