Dustin has got the thurst for being home, he misses his house, his wife, his dog, a cold beer at a favorite bar. It's 630 and we're breaking camp. The earliest start we've had yet, our last and shortest day. We toss on our packs and wish our camp mates a good day and head down the trail, very happy that this will be the last day we have to wear these things.
After restocking our water at the same stream as the night before we spend the next few miles explaining to Loni the personalities that our packs too on. Dustin's pack cover transformed his pack into Donatello made it totally look like a turtle shell so his pack made 80s cartoon outlandish comments like, "narly view dude!" and "i make your shoulders feel bodacious!"
My pack however started out as a little person, as Bill Bryson explains in his book, A walk in the Woods. Well my cartoon-ish brain transformed this little guy from saying "up up" like a little kid wanting a piggy back ride to now 5 days later, he was Mugsy the short mobster guy from Bugs Bunny that had a mean streak and enjoyed making me suffer. "yeah see, i'm going to make your kidneys bleed see, yeahhhh." I think being alone in the woods for 5 days was starting to wear on us.
We make it to Lucia's look out by 8am. We're FLYING, but there really isn't much to look out on in this section so it's not too hard to blast through. After signing the log book and enjoying the view back to Monadnock over the wind farm we push on. Up and down along the ridge, occasionally checking the map and seeing how close to Lake Solitude we were getting. Some of the rocky descents brought light to why the couple had described going over this section so crazily the day before. Sure walking in the rivers that were once snowmobile trails sucked, but at least we weren't boulder-ing on this ridge line. The story in the log book where one guy had described, "Fred had almost fell to his death no less then 3 times today" make sense
When we reached Solitude the mosquito hmmm was the loudest we had ever heard so we moved quickly. After a short climb we stopped briefly for a snack/lunch at White Rock Ledge. We were treated to a view of the clouds coming up through the valley and across and up and over the lake. Dustin said he was getting cold and we knew we had 1 mile to the summit so we moved with haste. The trail ends out onto Sunapee's access road and we knew we were almost home. As we pushed up the last few stretches a family was walking down with two of the fattiest kids i've ever seen. They all give us strange looks as if we were rapists or pedophiles. Never a hello, or anything. It's as if 3 people with hiking gear were aliens to them.
A few more steps and we've made it, well kind of. Dustin and I high five one another while standing on the survey's pin at the peak of Sunapee. Man what a journey. The clouds are rolling in and the gondola is running so people are all over the place. It's mildly disappointing, after starting on top of Monadnock with true hikers we've reached the northern peak and are surrounded by fat yuppies that RODE to the top.
After looking for a few minutes we find the trail down from the summit. 2.4 more miles to the car! We're pumped. We laugh and joke and then we hear voices ahead. A couple of women are hiking up, one in flip flops. I shake my head, i mean, perhaps she was hardcore, but flip flops? seriously? on this muddy rocky trail? I'm sure she was part of the reason NH has changed it's laws so you have to pay for your own rescues.
Due to our quickened pace knowing the end was near Dustin had slipped a few times and repeatedly said, "the next time I'm going over, just you wait." But today, the hiking gods were on our side and he managed to save himself no less then 4 times on the decent. 10 minutes or so from the trail head we pass a pack of wanna-be hippy kids, one makes a sneering comment "huh, that's a lot of a gear." "yeah, five days worth." i snap back. You'd think being in the woods for 5 days with minimal human contact would give you greater patience for your fellow man, for me it has the oppostite effect. My third eye was too open, i saw these kids for what they were, they were hippies for the drugs, not because of the lifestyle or anything else. They just wanted to go smoke pot in the woods.
We reach the trail head and are overwhelmed by cars. The Sunapee Craftsman's fair was today. Cars filling the parking lots, and lining the access road, being shuttled from parking lots further away. Yes the craftsmans fair is a place where dopes PAY to look at overpriced shit that you don't realy need. How it was described for us by one of the 3 that shared our site the night prior. "It's a place where you get to pay to get to look at buying and overpriced set of wooden spoons." Ah yes, a rich mans craft fair. And boy was that parking lot packed full of douche bags. Good thing we are in a recession and people can't afford to eat or heat their homes. It took me all of 50 feet of walking through the parking lot looking at the dopey piles of humanity to turn to Dustin and say, "Hey, you want to turn around and go the other way?" His prompt response, "This sucks! Yeah, i'd rather be in the wood too dude." It was obvious his eye was too open as well.
We made it, we didn't just make it, we killed it. There was never a doubt we couldn't do it. It was just something that i hadn't ever thought i would actually do. It took us about a day back in the office to change our tune about the Long Trail. The doubts that we shared on being able to do a full 30 days in the woods, camping with our gear was gone. A bad day hiking in the woods away from the corporate world is a million times better then a good day in a cubicle dealing with these fake fraudulent human beings.