June 20, 2018
Destination: Jeffers Brook Shelter Today's Miles: 15.70
Start Location: Hexacuba Shelter Trip Miles: 1793.10
Some days I feel like I’m just as tired after 15 miles as I am after 20. It’s funny how that works.
Today I ended the day thinking I’d walked 19, not having done the math in my plan for a few days. Ah well - in the end it worked out well to have lighter days before the big climbs start tomorrow.
It was only me at Hexacuba Shelter last night, though I still tented. The tent sites there are few and not great, but I made one of them work just fine. I got up early and started my climb up Mt. Cube. The views waiting for me at the top were phenomenal! I loved the initial “approach” views on the Quartzite Ledges, and then the buildup at the southern peak. I took photos there and hung out for a bit, just taking it in. It was kind of cool to have it all to myself in the early morning, and it really put me in good spirits. I was gushing with trail love! As I walked away from the south peak, I came upon a large hare. He had huge hind legs and looked at me both curiously and somewhat with fear. I was able to take a picture of him before he hopped away. I then took a side trail off the AT to go check out the north peak. It was 0.3 miles one way, but totally worth it for more spectacular views. The quartz rock on the peak almost looked sophisticated in the morning sun, so smooth with an occasional sparkle.
Aside from those views, the other big highlight today was meeting Carl the Omelette Guy. When I arrived at the Cape Moonshine Road crossing, Carl was there with his truck. Carl is a Trail Angel and regularly sets up in that spot to provide a little oasis in the desert for hikers. He had a little music playing, a place to charge my phone, and FOOD! I was seriously hungry at that point, but trying to backload my calories so I would feel as good as possible tackling Moosilauke. Carl offered to make me an omelette, and I don’t know how many eggs he put in it, but it was something like 6! He chopped up onions and peppers and added cheese. He even had Tabasco sauce! The icing on the cake was that he put big chunks of ham in the omelette - yum! He had lots of other snacks and bananas, and he also had Dunkin Donuts. I had a donut and my eyes rolled back into my head. Mmmmmmmm sooooo gooooood! The omelette was incredible and I almost wanted to cuddle it - almost.... Instead I just ate it like a pig while petting Carl’s dog, Lips. I probably sat there for an hour just chatting with Carl. We talked about all sorts of things - the trail, animals, other hikers, and I just kind of enjoyed having good conversation. Carl is a really interesting and kind person, and I couldn’t have been more lucky and humbled by his kindness and generosity. I really feel like he gave me that last push I needed before Moosilauke. One last thing - he has awesome taste in music! I don’t hike listening to music, so it was really nice to have it in the background while we talked. It was all 70s and 80s, like David Bowie, Journey, and even Billy Joel! It was a real treat. Carl, thank you so much for today - I had an absolute blast!
Between Carl and Brian and Jill, and with all of the awesome scenery this far, AND the BEARS, I’m kind of crushing on New Hampshire at the moment. I met a couple of nice section hikers at the shelter tonight - two guys, Isaac and Tim, Tufts alumni - but, prior to them, I thought I might be the only one at this shelter tonight. I was grateful for a good solid day of hiking today, for the awesomeness that was Mt. Cube, and for Carl and his generosity and willingness to chat with me today. It was an awesome day thanks to other people and the mountains around me. I’m very excited about Moosilauke tomorrow! I also realized I have been spelling it wrong with two “e’s,” so I fixed that here. No signal here so will have to upload later. Time for an early night!