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Day 149: Solar Eclipse Above Tree Line


Aug. 21 400 miles left and passed 1800 When we awoke in back of the Green House we had some serious dew over all our tents. Probably the most condensation since Four Pines Hostel. It sounds like a little thing but it slows everything down since traveling with that much water on a tent or rain fly can add some weight. Everyone laid out their wet gear around the yard in various ways; we chose the wheel chair ramp up to the bar's smoking room.

*Bear carving on the back lawn. This is not Bad Larry. We think.

We didn't start hiking until 9:30 which was a bit worrisome since we wanted to make the big climb up Moosilauke before the eclipse. Luckily, the terrain up Mt. M (shortened for convenience) was not too tough terrain wise. For an over three thousand foot climb, we hauled the ten miles to the base and close to the top so we reached the side trail to the south summit at 2:15, about a half hour before the majority of eclipse coverage. Our friend Clem, from Tyler's job at Linear Technology a couple years ago, was also heading down from the main summit to the south summit. We brought our lunch and the eclipse viewing box that Emily made up to the south summit. 

The viewing box worked out great. We had a fantastic projection of the eclipse on the bottom of a Cocoa Puffs cereal box. While Emily got that set up, Duck Fart and Patch also arrived at the south summit ready for lunch. Duck Fart took off his sweat sodden shirt, and Tyler took off his sweat sodden shirt and shorts so he was prancing around in boxers, boots, and socks since the other clothes could be rung out to disgusting effect after the climb. The winds and temperature at the 4500 foot south summit cooled us down quickly, and Tyler decided to at least put his shorts on when some other hikers arrived.

The eclipse got even more exciting when Clem arrived with delicious cookies and eclipse viewing glasses so we could see the outline of the moon in front of the sun sans Cocoa Puffs. Clem was wearing some fancy Scott Jurek trail runners that he was excited to try out after nearly a year long hiking hiatus. He was on his first week long vacation since starting at Linear some seven years ago and perhaps nearly as psyched to be hiking as we were to have him.

*Clem the great viewer of eclipses

*Special Scott Jurek shoes. The thin yellow line is the Appalachian Trail.

After the eclipse was nearly over at around 3:30, we finally pushed for the main summit. We said goodbye to Clem as he headed down another trail.  

* View of Moosilauke from the South Summit

Breaking treeline for the first time on the entire trail was a decidedly emotional moment for Tyler, and the four of us celebrated and relaxed at the summit even after our extended eclipse break. Our next step was to hike off the 4000 footer via the infamous Beaver Brook Trail. 

The Beaver Brook Trail is extremely steep, extremely slippery, and, in the steepest, most slippery parts, somewhat augmented by wooden steps drilled into the rock which are covered in mud and moss. We also received word from Dean that he was hot on our heels and planned to catch us by the bottom. The last half mile took us nearly 45 minutes of careful hiking, yet somehow Dean did the entire two miles in about an hour (not unscathed by bruises and cuts). He met us at the bottom a few minutes after we said helli to Spike and Bambi, our chariots to bring us to Duck Fart's friend's cabin. As we hope, Spike and Bambi said they had the time to help us slack pack a section of the whites while we used the cabin as a home base. They had to bring two cars for the lot of us and our gear. They are pretty spectacular humans! We had missed them so much. We headed into Lincoln to resupply (for the cabin and a short day hiking) and ate some Mexican food while we caught up with Spike and Bambi. Afterwards, we headed to our home for the next couple of days a "cabin" that could sleep somewhere between five and six thousand people. We got cleaned up, did some breakfast prep for Duck Fart's magnum opus breakfast the next morning, and continued our chats with Spike and Bambi who, somehow, seemed at least as excited to see us smelly hikers as we were to see them. We headed to bed probably far too late in our sleeping bags so as not to disturb the beds too much just in case the place was to be rented while we were squatting. 

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