We descended rather steeply from Wildcat
D, heading down to Wildcat Col. When we reached the bottom of a
particularly steep stretch, I happened to glance down at Muffin and
noticed that she was only wearing one of her four booties. "Why
didn't you say something?!" I complained. "You could have barked or
just stopped and whined like you do when your leash gets stuck
somewhere!" She just looked up at me as if I had three heads. I
didn't want her to get sore feet over the course of a three-day
hike, so I did the only thing I could do - go back up and look for
them. After climbing about 200 feet, I found them by some rocks in
the trail. I put them back on her, a bit more tightly this time, and
we started back down again. I seem to get stuck going back after
things way too often; if it isn't booties, it's a forgotten camera
or even a missing dog backpack.
On the way through the col and back up toward Wildcat C, I
tried to keep Muffin in front of me so I could see her if she lost
a bootie again. Wildcat Ridge officially has
peaks named A through E, but actually has at least ten mini summits,
punctuated by numerous shallow cols. Only one of these, Wildcat
Col, between peaks D and C, dips down fairly low.
We pretty much just breezed by the
barely noticeable summits of Wildcat C and B, which are not official
4000-footers anyway. Wildcat A has the most spectacular viewpoint on
the trail - a nearby ledge that overlooks Carter Notch far below. We
stopped here for the views. It was fairly crowded; except for me and
Muffin, everyone else seemed to be a north-heading thru-hiker. And
all of them agreed that the White Mountains had the toughest and
most scenic sections of the Appalachian Trail so far.
It was clear, so the views down to the
notch and across to Carter Dome were particularly good and I managed
to take some nice pictures. Soon, we started on down the trail,
looking forward to the end of the day's trail, a good rest, and a
chance to change into some dry socks.
Down in the notch, we passed North and
South Carter Ponds, and arrived at the main hut building, where I
took off my pack and went in to get a look around, buy a t-shirt,
and get some advice on good legal places to set up our tent.
Wildcat Ridge. As you can see, she is still wearing all four of
her booties, something which was soon to become just a memory.