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Madison Spring Hut
September 16, 2004

Route: Valley Way, Gulfside, Airline Cutoff,
Airline Trail, Randolph Path
Map: map.jpg (84106 bytes)


Madison Spring Hut 4825 ft
Partway up Gulfside 4900 ft

Vertical Climb:

3701 ft


7.6 miles

Who Went:

Paul, Toi, Muffin

The plan for this trip was for Toi, Muffin, and I to go up the Valley Way, stop at Madison Spring Hut, then climb Mt Madison. After that, we were going to head over to Mt Adams, and then descend via the Spur Trail and Amphibrach, stopping at Crag Camp on the way down. Of course, it didn't quite turn on like this.

We got to the Appalachia Trailhead around 8:00, and were soon on our way up the Valley Way. The trail was wet and slippery from a rainy night, but it was a nice day now, and as usual, Muffin was having a great time running up and down, doing twice as much mileage as us humans. We stopped for a nice rest near the Randolph Path, even though Muffin, who's always anxious to get moving again, wasn't too pleased about it.

Occasional views of Howker Ridge and its craggy "Howks" were welcome as we began to tackle the steeper sections of the trail. I had been lagging behind Toi for most of the way up since she had been exercising more regularly than I had been lately, but as we got closer to treeline, she slowed down considerably and I had to stop and wait for her every so often. At the time, I didn't think much of it, as I usually get a second wind when I start getting close to treeline.

But by the time we reached the Alpine Zone, she was totally bushed and ready to collapse. Finally, a couple of tenths of a mile or so before the hut, she got a terrible leg cramp and had to sit down and massage her leg for quite a while before we were able to continue on to the hut. Muffin just smiled and wondered what the holdup was. I suspected that she hadn't been drinking enough water, but figured that she'd be as good as new after a nice long rest at the hut, along with some lunch and a lot of liquids.

After passing the "Stop" sign and coming out into the open, we soon reached the hut, and tied Muffin up outside and went in for a well-deserved rest. The hut was getting ready to close for the season in a few days, so a number of the croo, along with help from a family of through-hikers, were working to prepare the hut for the winter.

The Appalachia Trailhead. A number of trails leave from this spot, including the Valley Way and Airline, both of which we took.

trailhead.jpg (117220 bytes)

Toi and Muffin during a rest stop on the Valley Way Trail. Muffin hates to rest and can't wait to get moving again.

valley way 1.jpg (122992 bytes)

Howker Ridge from the Valley Way Trail. The Howker Ridge Trail is another route to Mt Madison.

howker ridge 1.jpg (94551 bytes)

Toi approaching treeline on the Valley Way. She was totally bushed by this time, mostly from being dehydrated as we figured out later.

valley way 2.jpg (126717 bytes)

A smiling Muffin near treeline. Rarely tired or unhappy, "Mountain Muffin" can hike for hours and climb the steepest ledges.

valley way 3.jpg (137280 bytes)

One of the famous Presidential Range "Stop" signs. On this hike, the weather was cooperating, so on we went.

stop sign.jpg (111219 bytes)


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