It took four mornings for us to finally be awoken by sunlight, but boy was it worth it. After getting through yesterday’s journey, it could have been simply overcast and cold and it would have been an improvement. We decide that we’ll break on top of Lovewell Mountain and lay out our gear there to dry out. After packing up our still mostly damp gear we stop into the General store yet again for supplies. With Dustin restocked with power bars and me with a couple of root beer sodas we set off down the road. While walking down the road a woman notices us hiking while painting her house. She says hello and asks us how we’re doing. Come to find out it’s Tom’s, who we met in Nelson, wife. And that he and his friend had just finished their journey the night before. She wishes us safe journey on the rest of our trip and we hike on, laughing about how small world that was. The road out of Washington was lined with beautiful homes and camps along Half moon pond and I make a promise that I’ll get back out here in my boat before snowfall.
We turn and head up the old logging road to Lovewell and an ATV guy comes past us with hardly a smile or wave. His social abilities, of course, leads to us saying how much of a douche that guy must be and we laugh about it for the next 10 minutes or so. That was of course, until he turned around and came back. This time stopping and asking us how the trail up over Lovewell was, and how he’d been meaning to hike it but is still recovering from an ankle sprain. Not exactly sure what his deal was the first time by, but he fixed it on his second pass, making Dustin and I think about how often we seem to jump to the worst possible scenario the quickest.
We make a quick hike to the summit of Lovewell and are rewarded with copious amount of sun and an amazing view. After we lay our gear out to dry and scarf down some food, I head over to the vista to see if I can make heads or tails over which way we are looking. I point out where Moose Lookout roughly is, along with the radio towers WAY off in the distance is Sunapee. As we chowed down lunch I saw the largest garden snake i’d ever seen. The thing had to have been 3 feet long, luckily it has as much interest in us as we had it in and it quickly slithered off into the rocks. The backside of Lovewell was a long long stretch of switchbacks. Which to be honest was a relief to me, but the couple coming the other way that we passed ½ way down felt otherwise.
After talking with them briefly I ask how yesterday was for them. The guy said, “it fucking sucked!” This was an exact duplicate of how Dustin had described it a few hours earlier so we got a good laugh out of that. We wish them luck on their journey before we push on and up towards the Max Isreal campsite. It’s not a bad little spot, a nice tent platform, good tree cover, but not so much that you wouldn’t get any sun. After a quick snack and signing the log book we pushed on down the trail to the road. This was great news, it was only 1pm and we were already more than half way to the site. At the bridge over the stream we see a family of mcganzers, the mother barking out orders to her ducklings while they bobbed around in the current. The old logging road climb up to the ridge was an arduous one. Stopping several times to catch our breath and drink some water, but not long enough to be devoured by the mosquitoes.
Once on the ridge it was rolling terrain through old pine forrest. The trial soften and spongy with layers and layers of needles. After where Running Bear trail ties into the Greenway the trail turned into a soupy mess. The previous days rain and the heavier traffic due to Pillsbury State park had done a number on this stretch and every few steps seemed to be in thick tiring mud. When we reached Moose lookout we both let out of a sigh of relief. It was the first day where weather-wise it had been dry all day.
We dump our gear and after consulting the trail guide find that there is a ice cold brook just ahead on the trail. The guide didn't lie, and we were rewarded with the cleanest, coldest water we've had over the course of the hike. After setting up camp we heard someone coming up the trail. Expecting Loni with a bottle of Jameson we were surprised to see 3 younger kids and a dog. Dustin and I exchange glances as we both notice they look relatively disappointed that we got to the shelter first, not that i blame them. As they set up camp one of the guys decides to give a go at lighting his circa 1940 camp stove which provides us with at least an hour of entertainment and a couple of small kerosene fires.
Shortly thereafter Loni arrived just in time to join Dustin and I for dinner. As the sun begins to set the almost full moon is rising in the east and we're lulled asleep to a wonderful whiskey lullaby.