One President on One Day
(Not the Planned 2-day Presidential Traverse)
Steve Sawyer, Steve Smith, James Streitman, Chuck Wynn, Fred Knight

mapThe hike as planned (yellow on map) was a two-day traverse of the Presidentials with a camp at Sphinx Col, but the weather did not cooperate. We managed one peak, Mt Madison, and part of Mt Adams before rain and lightning forced a retreat (purple track on map). We ended back where we started, at Appalacia Trailhead, well into the evening.Team

As planned, we drove up early and reached the Appalachia Trailhead just ~8:45am and got going just after 9. Steve had lobbied for the purple route incessantly during the drive, so we took off and reached Mossy Falls after a couple hours. The vertical pitch increased there and got quite difficult for me at Chemin des Damas. Steve captured me going through The Tunnel as advertised, where we had to take off our packs. Unfortunately, I managed to throw one of my trekking poles down a crevasse just before this. I had heaved the two over a boulder to free my hands for climbing. It disappeared down a crevice but was just in reach if I stretched to hook it with my other pole. As I tried to retrieve it, I jostled it and it rolled out of sight further down the crevice, disappearing forever. As I found out on the remainder of the hike, 2 poles are better than one. The climb up Chemin des Damas was extensive until we reached Air Line. Then we made a final push to just above Madison Spring Hut and descended to the Hut.

At the hut, about 3.5 hours into the hike, the weather had been great, warm but without rain. bootsWe went up Madison without packs (except Mountain Man James). On the way down, the rain started. Chuck, James, and Steve made it back to the hut without getting too wet, but old Steve and I were pretty soaked. Lots of company in the hut while we wrang out clothes. In order to make the campsite, we had to continue in the rain. With Steve and me lagging, we were to go around Mt Adams while young Steve, James, and Chuck went over Mt Adams. Steve and I realized we were on the eastside trail, not Gulfside, so we doubled back. However, the rain continued heavy with some lightning, so we stayed on lower ground still in trees. Boots were pretty wet now. Needing to make it to the other side to meet the other three, we pushed on, meeting two through hikers coming the other way. They said "That's some mean weather ahead!" Our pace slackened more. On reaching the next junction, we didn't see the other three. Then Team2they appeared from behind us, packless. They had aborted on Mt Adams when a lightning strike was too close. Leaving their packs at the Hut and deciding to abandon the hike, they needed to catch us. About 5:30, we started the 5-mile return trip. Again, Steve and I were slower, so we planned to meet the others coming back from the hut where they retrieved their packs. The trip down took a long time, and my boot soles both gave way (see pic). James was back at 7:45, Fred at 8:30 , and others, sticking with old Steve, at 9:05.

The pictures are mostly Steve's. The Fuji XE-1 and old Steve are a great combo.

Summary: ~10 miles over 11 hours, ~5000 elevation rise to Mt Madison and 3 of us (young Steve, Chuck, and James) most of Mt Adams. As Steve put it on the drive home, "All ok. Glorious day. Driven off ridge by t-storm, hail, lightning. Retreat. En rt back to Boston now. Been hiking 9 to 9, completely exhausted. Long periods in torrential downpours, staying low. But before 1400, PERFECT weather, views. Lots of photos."
--Fred (aka tarpman)
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