July 16th: Woke up at 12:20am, 1:40am, 6:00am and finally got myself out of bed at 6:40am. Not a great night sleep. Reasons being I am still getting used to going to bed before 10pm, there was a crawling sound (I guess that's how I would put it) next to my ear because it sounded like a mouse was inside my mattress, and then my alarm was set for 6am (not too realistic). In addition, I think I was almost expecting a bear to enter my tent site. It didn't. Made breakfast, oatmeal with raisins (nothing changed). Now I do bring 8-9 packets of oatmeal for my 3 breakfasts because I have 3 each morning and 2 usually on Monday. Made a round to check on the campsite and use the latrine. It's clockwork every morning. As soon as I wake up, I have to almost always use the bathroom and sometimes it's somewhat urgent. The walk is only a 2-3 minute walk. I have not had to pull off on my way there because it's been that urgent. Everyone was sleeping when I made my first round at 7:30ish. Made another round at 8:10 and noticed some people hiked in late the night before. I got chatting to Gavin and Kevin from site #15 and they were really supportive of my caretaking position and how it is a perfect experience with my major. Made me feel pretty good about myself so I left there standing a little bit taller. Waited for John and Giff to haul in some volunteers helping out with the bridge pack out. They pulled up at about 9:30 and John said I could go on patrol. We decided on the Lincoln Brook Trail and summiting Owl's Head because I hadn't done it before. It was a killing two birds with one stone, familiarizing myself with the trail and patrolling at the same time. Nice! I timed myself pretty accurately this time around and covered ground at a brisk pace.
10:00 Wade stream and make it to Franconia Brook/Bondcliff junction
31:17 1.7 miles to the Lincoln Brook junction
70:02 3.4 miles to the base of Owl's Slide, passed two older guys that were doing Owl's head as well. Passed them almost immediately after chatting a bit
56:15 1.1 miles to reach summit up a legit rockslide and major blowdowns towards the top. Saw a snake. Almost got lost in the last 10 minutes before the summit. Luckily there was a group that had left the summit to direct me. One woman goes jokingly "Oh, a real life ranger to save us!" when she spotted me in my uniform.
31:57 Relaxed and ate lunch on summit with large family/friends. Great bunch and learned that some of them (woman included) had chaffing on their nipples. I said I understood because I am a runner. One of the moms was truly interested on what I was doing for the summer and my next step in life. We were able to snap each other's photographs for proof we conquered Owl's head.
46:07 Returned to base of slide. On my way down, saw the guys I passed earlier in the hike heading up to the summit. They still had another 45+ minutes to go. They also had 35-40 pound packs on, but they ditched them at the bottom of the slide. Chatted with this guy for the last 15 minutes of my descent. He was grateful for the wonderful conversation that we had and that I returned him safely to his group.
62:59 3.4 miles with minimal stopping only to literally dunk my head in the river crossings. It was beyond refreshing.
28:56 1.7 miles back to bridge
9:24 Made it back to my campsite where I pounded water because I kinda needed it. I finished my one Nalgene I had at the summit. Should I brought my water filter.
As I was returning, John radioed to me that he issued a warning to site #12 for improper food storage. And #12 belonged to boy scouts. Very surprising. Took a dip in the range pool. Ahh, refreshing! Stayed in for 12 minutes because my legs were a bit toast after 12.5 miles of some serious hiking. Laid out in the sun for 10 minutes to dry off and warm up. Changed up once I got back to make some rounds. Two couples (the late night arrivals) were totally chill and we talked a lot about job opportunities and what my responsibilities were as a caretaker.they thought it was a pretty sweet gig for the summer. I vouched for them. It is. The boy scout troop (the criminals) caught some brookies in the river. They were cooking em up for dinner. A kid, Dillan, came passing through looking for a place to set up camp. He ended up just heading up the trail a ways and set up in The Wilderness. He was just looking for a night of solitude away from the busy life in Maine. He was a super genuinely nice person all around. Reminded me of a Brian Pennarola. A young couple arrived while I was preparing my classic dinner of refried beans and cheese wraps. After I informed them the site is free and we have openings, they jumped on the opportunity and set up at site #15 (previous left in the afternoon because they had to get back for one of their parents anniversaries). I had some extra quesadillas to work with because I was having the newly acquired lo mein noodles to next night. I thought it would be smart to use 3 quesadillas for the 1 can of refried beans. I added a little water to the beans because my new Coleman stove was a diesel (not the type of fuel it burns, but how powerful it is) cooker. The heat output was huge and I almost ended up burning my beans. The water helped, yet it made for less of a paste and more of a yogurt consistency. So my 3 quesadilla idea didn't work out and still had too much fill by the last one. Oh well. Learn from your mistakes. Relaxed for the rest of the night with a final round and a final latrine stop. Woohoo! Made it in my tent by 8:30pm where I read a chapter in Born to Run and played a card game my sister, Sarah, showed me. I haven't won yet. I eventually will. Sunday is dedicated to finishing filling in the tent pad and the run to Franconia Falls and back. Shooting for a new course record for the final 2.7 miles. Watch out!
Summary: Solid day of cross training. I was gonna shakeout a bit after the hike, but felt like I shouldn't overdo it. My legs were throbbing at dinner while I was just sitting at my picnic table. So I definitely got a workout in. Weekend is turning out to be an enjoyable one. One of the best ones yet.