Friday, July 5, 2019
Start: Crider shelter
End: Dublin trailhead
Miles: 15.7 (+0.5 for shelter side trail and going the wrong way at one road intersection)
Elevation gain: 2503′
I had a horrible night sleep. The bugs started up again around 7:30pm and were relentless in their pursuit of me until around 10:30-11pm. People on the local ATV trail also were shooting off fireworks until midnight. I would fall asleep for 5 minutes and then be woken up by bugs in my eyes or ears, or fireworks exploding, or something biting me. I was delirious from lack of sleep and weariness, and just wanted to sleep! I finally ended up hiding in my sleeping bag, despite the heat, with a headnet on. So I had restless, hot and sweaty sleep, and was then woken up at 4:30am by mosquitoes in my ears again. I was up and hiking again by 5:15am.
Today was a really flat day, all things considered, and I made very good time. Around 40-50% of today’s miles were road walking on dirt or gravel roads, and most of the other walking was on old woods roads which were fairly clear and smooth, though some areas were overgrown with thorns and those took some chunks out of my legs. The bugs were just as enthusiastic as the day before, despite being covered in layers of DEET and picaridin. I was eager to be done, and made a fast pace.
I passed by some pretty ponds, and had an encounter with a mama bear and her cub. I was walking by a pond with dense thorns, and looked up to see a baby bear hustling up a tree, with its mama at the base of the tree. She went into the bushes, and I backed up. After a while, I decided that walking around and getting out of their space was the best plan. So I quickly walked around them, with my poles over my head, banging them as I went.
I refilled on water a few times as I walked, and made it to the Mt Monadnock Dublin parking lot by 10:45am. Thankfully, the bugs weren’t bad and there was some rocks in the shade where I could hang out while I waited for my ride. I managed to dry out my shoes and ankle braces, and yogi some water from hikers just finishing their summit of Monadnock. I considered summiting Monadnock, but I’ve summited it numerous times, including half a dozen times from the Dublin parking area, so I decided against it. My partner arrived at 12 noon, and we headed up to New Hampshire for some R&R in the Whites!