Mile 1812.8 Franconia Notch, NH – Puddles, and Scrambles, and Climbs, oh my!

We started the challenge of the White Mountains two days ago with the climb of Mt. Moosilauke. It was a perfect day with great views on the summit. Over 50 people were at the summit, many of them who walked up a side trail from a nearby lodge. There was also at least five dogs on the summit. The descent of Moosilauke had rebar handrails and block steps drilled into the rock face. Without them it would have been very difficult. We hiked only 9 miles that day because of the difficulty. The average speed was 1.5 mph instead of the normal 2.5 mph.
Yesterday we made a 16.3 mile advance which was significantly longer than one should do in the Whites. It brought us first over Wolf Mt. And then Kinsman Mt. Both the ascent and descent of Kinsman were difficult in many places. It was necessary to drop hiking poles to use both hands in climbing. I had to often be creative to find ways up each of the obstacles presented. This frequently included hanging on to trees or roots where the rocks had no grip. The day proceeded very slowly as we found mud puddle after mud puddle interspersed with five foot high rock ledges. We were no longer walking but jumping, twisting, and dancing through miles of complex terrain. This was the slowest trail I’ve ever been on. On the descent I hiked with Steady who we had met back up with on the summit. When the hike was complete we had to walk a mile side trail to the parking lot where Spirit had her RV parked and where my brothers car was parked. The rest of our crew made it an hour later as dark was approaching and rain coming in. I was a bit concerned whether they had got lost but while eating homemade food and drinking beers in Steadys RV I now was joking how I felt really sorry for the hikers who weren’t with us.
Rain has come in today and we’re taking a zero. These steep climbs are pretty dangerous even when it’s dry so we’re taking a break.