Monday, September 15, 2008

Lonesome Lake

It was a misty rainy hike up to Lonesome Lake hut on Friday afternoon. Sara and I hiked the 1.6 miles in just under an hour and discovered that only five other people had made their way up.

There was a man who had hiked to the hut with his two little children and over dinner we learned that he was a photojournalist and had spent time in Macedonia ten years ago covering the Albanian refugee situation. Then we discovered that one of the croo had a friend visiting and that the friend was headed to Mozambique for the Peace Corps. What a small world.

Saturday the weather cleared out and we were able to enjoy a spectacular view of Franconia Ridge. The photojournalist and his children headed down the mountain and the hut filled up with day hikers and a large group that was staying for the night. Sara headed back to the car to drive home and Charlie switched places with her and hiked up to spend Saturday night with me at the hut.

The hut was totally full with 48 on Saturday night. There was one large group of friends and two smaller family groups all talking and laughing at once. Because Lonesome Lake hut is so close to I-93 (only an hour hike--1.6 miles and 1000 feet in elevation) it is a great "starter" hike. Folks who haven't hiked much before or families with young children can access the hut and get a taste of the back country. The AMC croo takes care of providing a hearty supper and breakfast and the bunks are comfortable and equipped with three woolen blankets and a pillow.

The huts through the white mountains are also convenient to the Appalachian Trail and they provide a place for through hikers to stay and in exchange for some chores they can get a meal and a place to sleep on the floor.

Overnight heavy rain started and the 48 people at breakfast were all a little quieter wondering how miserable it would be getting back down the mountain. One thing you learn and acquire as you hike for a while is the correct clothing for weather in the mountains. The secret is synthetic fabrics that dry quickly--it took me a few years but I now have a wardrobe from undergarment to outerwear that will minimize the amount of moisture next to my skin and maximize the preservation of my body heat.

The weather in the White Mountains can be mercurial and coupling that with the accessibility of trails leading to the high peaks, every year there are accidents, injuries and fatalities due to the weather and judgment errors. Tom posted an entry about a terrible death and near-death on Franconia Ridge that occured this past Winter. There is an newspaper article about the survivor here.

Many of the rookie hikers at the hut on Sunday had blue jeans, sneakers and sweatshirts for their walk down the mountain in the rain. The temperatures were warm enough that nothing but discomfort would result from their cotton clothing but it wouldn't have taken much of a drop in temperature for the situation to be more concerning.


KGMom said...

Wow--I followed your links and read the stories of hiking deaths. Serious stuff.
The message--ALWAYS be prepared. Sounds as though you are!

Judi~Gmj said...

I am learning as I read. Thanks for the information. Valueable stuff.

Jayne said...

I've never been a hiker, but would like to think that I'd have thought about the weather a bit more. A hard lesson learned. Glad everyone was going to be OK.
Your beautiful photo of the lake is on my desktop now Beth! Beautiful!!

Beth said...

kgmom, it was a scary article wasn't it? It's hard to imagine that mountains so easy to reach could be deadly.

judi-gmj, thanks I enjoy your posts as well.

jayne, you probably would have been one of those over-prepared hikers who could take care of everyone with extra hats, mittens and hot chocolate. I like to hike with people like you.

The Texican said...

Glad all went well. Sounds like a good starter hike for Bebe and I. Beautiful scenery. It is in the sixties here today. Our first taste of fall. Pappy

beckie said...

Beth, breath taking views-no wonder you like to climb mountains. Sounds like a fun and interesting weekend. Glad you 3 enjoyed it.

Mary said...

Sounds like you are well prepared and experienced, Beth. I could enjoy the cabins and bunks - they look cozy enough :o) I've always been uneasy with heights, though.

I admire you and the others who hike mountains. Must be exhilarating but the best part for me would be to stand on flat ground :o)

Great story. I love your stories - they take me there with you.


Anonymous said...

There seems to be an endless number of interesting pursuits in your part of the country. Thanks for your kind comment on my blog. I sincerely appreciate your prayers.

Nan said...

Beth, I keep forgetting to ask you - have you seen Michael Palin's New Europe or read his book? Macedonia is mentioned. Netflix has the movie. Great and fascinating.

RuthieJ said...

Wow Beth, that newspaper article was so sad. It's a good lesson to always be ready for whatever Mother Nature has to throw at you. I'm glad you had a nice & uneventful hike this time.