This was my first real trip of the year to
work on my trail. I had climbed up a couple of months before on May 1,
but that was mostly to retrieve my tools that I had left at the hut all
winter. On that trip, the snow had still been way too deep to even think
of working on the trail.
Anyway, this time I was staying at the hut for
two nights so I would be able to get in two days of work on my trail. It
was the 4th of July weekend, and I was going to return home on July 2 in
time to spend most of it with my family.
On the first day, I sawed my way through ten
or twelve blowdowns and did a lot of brushing. The trail was in awful
shape after a hard winter with heavy snows. Many smaller firs and
spruces were bent completely over into the trail and had to be cut down.
After a long day's work, the usual hearty meal at the hut and my warm
sleeping bag were a welcome sight.
During the night, a heavy rain began to fall
and, naturally, was still falling in the morning. To say the least, I
was not in a hurry to get out on the trail, so after breakfast, I waited
around on my bunk for a while to see whether it might let up. It didn't.
I finally resolved that I couldn't afford to let the rain stop me from
getting some work done, so I put on my rain paints and jacket, and
headed back down the slippery trail with my trusty tools in hand.
I was able to cut down a few more blowdowns, a
couple of which were particularly tough with my small bow saw, and do a
bit more brushing, but by the time I got down to just below 3100 feet,
after less than four hours out on the trail, I had totally and
completely had it. Water bubbled up out of my Goretex boots with each
step, and every stitch of clothing I had on were little more than
sopping sponges. I have to hand it to my rain pants though; like
sandwich baggies, they did a great job of sealing the moisture inside.
I'm sure that I was actually more waterlogged than the trees I was
I slogged and sloshed my way back to the hut
around two o'clock, little by little peeled off the sticky wet clothing
that was glued to my skin, changed into dry things, and hung or spread
out all my sodden stuff as best as I could, knowing full well that none
of it would be even remotely dry by the morning. I then crawled into my
sleeping bag to rest for the remaining hours of the afternoon.
The next morning dawned clear and dry. A front
had passed by during the night and brought with it cooler and windier
weather. After breakfast, I stowed my tools in the hut's basement,
crammed my still soggy things into the bottom of my pack, and hoped that
my dry socks would somewhat protect my feet from my squishy boots.
My plan for the day was to climb Mt Pierce,
head up the Crawford Path, ascend Mt Eisenhower, and then make my way
back to my car at the Highland Center on the Edmands Path and Mt Clinton
At the summit of Mt Pierce, I got a taste of
just how cold and windy it was going to be up on the ridge. The
temperature had dropped to just below freezing. I zipped my jacket all
of the way to my neck and cinched the hood tight around my face. Still,
it was a beautiful day with no higher clouds to obscure the bright
gibbous moon in the southwest skies.