Saturday, August 15, 2009

MS Greenway Thru-Hike Part 1

C:\Users\Owner\Pictures\2009-08-02 Greenway-09\Greenway-09 008.JPG

This all started when I was informed that my buddy Dustin and his wife want to thru-hike the long trail next year when she gets out of college. After some discussions I determined that neither of them had really thought much about the actual details of said trip. i.e. gear, and the training required to take on a 30 day trek through the wilderness of our home state. After I suggested that they perhaps start smaller, i.e. the Greenway we laid out a plan and on Wednesday July 29th, it began.

Day 1

When Loni dropped us off at the Marlboro Trail head we weren't sure what to expect. Our packs were heavier then either of us had ever carried, and with 5 days alone in the woods, the possibilities were endless. It didn't matter though, this was just what the doctor ordered for us. The cubicle fever was at all time high and we were ready for one hell of a journey. The morning was cool and crisp. We laughed thinking about how this was such a better option then sitting in the 8 o'clock rush hour traffic that both of us would be stuck in on this beautiful Wednesday morning. For those of you who've never hiked up the Marlboro trail on Monadnock there is a long rock and log stair section that knocks the wind out of you if you just have a day pack. With an overnight pack and supplies for 5 days we were sucking wind and stopping every 10 minutes, sweat pouring off of us. When we reached the top of the mountain the sun had broken free of the clouds that had surrounded the summit when we departed. Leaving us with a spectacular 360* view of the area. We looked north and way off in the distance we could see our destination. It seemed so very far away, but this is why we were here. The mayflies were horrendous at the summit so we snapped a couple of quick photos and decided to find a spot with a breeze for our early lunch.

As we chowed down our lunch at the intersection of the Dublin trail another hiker greeted us with a thick accent. Noticing our packs he commented, "you must be the two headed northbound on the greenway." After talking a bit with him he mentioned he had done it a few times and that he thought it was very underutilized. Fine by us, this was more of a journey away from people anyways. Dustin asked the guy if his accent was a New Zealand accent to which the guy prompted corrected to Australian. It made me laugh thinking about how Paul at the MMT 100 was so adamant about not being Australian and now this fellow was so adamant about not being New Zealand. Two counties separated by so little, with such a distaste for one another. We made our way down the Dublin trail with little effort, sliding and falling a few times, but with the sun beating us down the treeline was welcomed.
The fire road climb up to the Spiltior shelter was rough, the heat and humidity scorching down upon us. This summer here in NH being almost non-existent really hadn't acclimated either of us to this weather. We stopped and rested at the bottom of the hill and had to stop several times to dunk our heads in the rushing streams nearby. We joked about how we were sweating like "real men" should on a daily basis. The thing i noticed was that neither of us had gone to the bathroom yet today. With my history of not peeing during ultra's that couldn't have been a good sign, luckily today the hiking gods were on our side and neither of us had any dehydration symptoms. With the threat of an afternoon shower looming in the backs of our heads we pushed on fairly quickly to the shelter and arrived comfortably at 3:30. After looking at the map and reading the guidebook we see that there is a nice spot to pump fresh water from about a 1/4 of a mile down the trail. We shed our packs for the first time in 6-7 hours and laugh at how quickly we knock out the 1/4 a mile without them.

As we restocked our water you could feel the temperature shift, the storm we were warned of was closing in. We hustled back to camp, set up shop and started to cook our meals. As i scoped out a good branch to hang our food from Dustin worked on setting up his Jet Boil. What a surprise he had when melting plastic starting pouring down on the stump tabletop. Followed by a loud, "OH NO,....OH NOOOOO!" Apparently Step 11 of the instructions told you to remove the top AND BOTTOM plastic lids from the main pot. In his exhausted state, the bottom lid had slipped Dustin's mind and he had melted it almost instantly upon starting the stove. As the thunder approached we got our food all cooked and each took a shelter trail log and read for the next hour, sharing the ones that were the most hilarious and getting tips on what tomorrow section would bring from the prior southbound hikers. It's odd being out in the woods with no technology and living strictly by how you feel and what surrounds you. With the thunderstorms essentially blackening the sky and the rain pouring down confining us to the shelter we found ourselves crashed out by 5:30. The ping of the rain lulling us to sleep.

Off to The Crider Shelter tomorrow. Hopefully the rain breaks by morning.
Quotes of the day:
"Glisteny" & "Nom Nom Nom"

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