Mount Washington Wilderness Area

Hiking Mordor

Today’s trail was the kind of experience that starts super cool and unique but finishes with a big, “fuck you.” 

When I asked Brianna if she would recommend this trail to one of her friends, her response was, “For sure, if they enjoy hiking in the sun and walking on lava rocks all day.”

While this area south of the Lionshead fire area is open, fires did hit the land very hard. We hiked many miles through a boneyard of charred pine tree forests, completely exposed to the sun. Making it through the burnt and barren lands was rewarded by more exposed hiking on lava rocks of all sizes for about 5 miles. If you’ve ever used one of those electronic foot massagers and left your feet in there too long, it was like that over a 3 hour period. Our feet were obliterated by the end of the day. I now know what Sam and Frodo’s feet must have felt like on the walk to Mordor.

Unsurprisingly, my favorite part of the day was reaching camp. Brianna found a sweet spot just 1/4 mile off the PCT, Lava Lake Campground: flat camping spots, bathroom, picnic tables, lake, no fees. It was a long stretch without water, so the warm lake water is what we really needed, everything else was just a huge bonus.

We set the tent up, had dinner, and called it a night pretty early. Beautiful spot right on the edges of satan’s chainsaw.

Internationally Interesting

Interesting trail fact – thus far, we have run into more international hikers than we have US hikers. This anecdotal piece of information is based almost solely on accents and those who converse with us to exchange stories. It could be that Americans just don’t want to talk to us, or it could be that the international hikers are faster. Brianna and I are hiking south, which means the first group of northbound hikers we are seeing are the fastest.

I have met 5 self-confessed English guys, none of which knew the whereabouts of RAF Lakenheath, where I lived back in the day. It amuses me that people from the UK refer to themselves as their specific area when asked where they are from – England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, they never say ‘United Kingdom’. When I lived in the UK and told people I was from Michigan, people would look at me and ask, “what country is that?”

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