Wednesday, 17 August
|Destination: Lake of the Clouds Hut (1860.0)
|Today’s Miles: 7.1
|Start Location: Madison Spring Hut (1867.1)
|Trip Miles: 14.9
Last evening two thru hikers stopped at the hut. Usually two thru hikers are able to work for stay. They cleanup after dinner, sweeping and wiping tables. They get any leftover dinner and get to sleep on the floor in the dining room. The thru hikers last night lucked out. There were two cancellations and the croo let them sleep in bunks, quieter and more comfortable.
The weather forecast for today was a bit concerning. Showers turning to harder rain, 30-40 mile winds with gusts up to 80 miles per hour on Mount Washington. The Lake of the Clouds Hut is two miles past Mount Washington. Wedding Walker was able to get an hourly forecast with his Garmin Inreach. We had no cell service.
One of the croo told us it would be about a five hour hike to the hut. Our plan was to get an early start, take the Westside Trail to avoid the wind at the peak of Mount Washington and get into Lake of the Clouds Hut before the rain and wind begin.
The croo woke us at 6:30, breakfast at seven. No change in the weather forecast so WW and I were off at 7:30. The seven miles to the hut was all above tree line so that meant seven miles of boulders. The trail in this section is marked with cairns, piles of rocks. Occasionally the cairns were hard to follow. The wind picked up as the morning went by. As we neared the Westside Trail clouds started rolling on Mount Washington. We crossed under the Cog Railroad that goes up to Mount Washington. I was finally relieved when we saw the sign that the hut was 0.9 miles. We rolled in at 12:45 and got our bunk assignments beating the rain.
At 2:30 it poured. Nice to be warm and dry. Temperature was in the low to mid fifties. Lake of the Clouds Hut is just over 5,000 in elevation. It is the most popular hut sleeping over ninety people. We have been warned that the dining is a little tight. There are eight bunk rooms with about a dozen bunks each.
WW and I had a bunk room with only one other couple until five when three very wet ladies joined us. They had been hiking in the rain for a few hours. The wind has picked up. Wet hikers continue to come in, another couple that were in the rain for seven hours added to our bunk mates.
The croo puts on a little show after dinner before serving dessert. Tonight was a special show – the cook, Aiden, proposed to one of the other croo members, Maya. Quite the excitement at dinner. WW and I found out another couple, two ladies that stayed in Madison Spring Hut and followed us to Lake of the Clouds Hut also got engaged yesterday. Must be something about the altitude. Wind continues to howl. Rain and wind are supposed to get better tomorrow.
No pics tonight. Internet is too slow. Hopefully WiFi tomorrow.