Day 53 (Farmhouse Inn to stealth site on Saddleback Mountain)

I had breakfast at the hostel with Lucky and two SOBO hikers, Kermit and Yogi. They were a cute young couple hiking together. Shane and Stacey own the hostel. I really enjoyed getting to know Stacey during my stay. They have owned the hostel for 2 years and are really trying to make it a good thing.

Shane wasn’t ready to shuttle me to the trail until 8:30 so I wasn’t able to start hiking until 9:00. One of the disadvantages of staying in a hostel where you are dependent upon their shuttle is it often means a later start.

The weather was overcast with a few sprinkles but never enough to stop and put on a rain coat. The trails were very muddy… 6 – 12 inches deep in a lot of places. One time on Mt. Wolf in New Hampshire, I took a step in to a mud puddle and sunk to my mid thigh. I had to grab on to a tree to pull myself out. Since that time I have learned to test the depth of the mud with my trekking pole before I step.

There weren’t any big climbs until the end of the day when I started climbing Saddleback Mountain. I hiked until a half a mile before the treeline and stopped to set up camp. I normally would have hiked another hour but that would have put me in the fragile alpine area above the treeline. There is a 2.5 mile section on top of the mountain that is above treeline. I will finish climbing the mountain first thing in the morning.