No matter; we have always been able to get rides.
Today, it was a matter of three different cars. The first, took us from the hotel to Pinkham's Notch Visitor's Center where we dropped our stuff off to pick up later in the day. The second took us from Pinkham's Notch to the Mountain Washington Auto Road. (and it turned out to be from the White Mountain Hostel, where we were spending the next night!) The third car was a couple of guys going up to the top of Mount Washington for a ham radio event. There are signs posted everywhere on the road strictly prohibiting hitchhiking, but nobody seemed to care that we were blatantly ignoring those signs.
We got to the top of Mount Washington and were able to get our picture taken at the summit sign, which was crowded with a line at least 30 deep the day before. (call me nuts, but I don't think you've earned the right to take your picture at the sign when you DROVE up. Just sayin')
It is a tradition for thru-hikers to moon the train as it goes by. But I'm more about spreading love and goodwill, not glimpses of my mosquito bitten bottom. We opted to wave instead. And I'm sure the passengers are eternally grateful. (Us mooning them may have been more traumatic than rolling backwards down the hill at breakneck speed!)
Unfortunately, my synopsis of the morning as "slow" was about to get put into perspective. From the hut, we went up to the summit of Mt. Madison and then descended to the notch. I had thought the morning was rocky and slow. I hadn't seen anything. Mt. Madison was also covered with boulders. And loose scree. So careful foot placement was paramount. It was agonizingly slow. We got to a marker on the trail and I nearly lost my mind. "Three miles? THREE MILES?? That took us almost three HOURS!" Yes, slack pack or no, we were averaging just over 1 mile per hour since the hut. It was torture.
I guess Subaru felt the same way, because after a brief sustenance break at the sign, he took off like a cog-train plummeting backwards down a mountain. I was practically running to keep up with him. Over roots, over rocks, through streams, up and down hills. After smashing my shin on a rock for the forth or so time, I finally yelled at him to slow down. I mean, 1 mile per hour is ridiculously slow, but we don't have to try to go for 5 miles per hour to make up time. Just chalk it up to the White Mountains trying to show us who is in charge.
At long last, we made it to Pinkham Notch and called the shuttle from White Mountain Hostel to pick us up.
For only a 13 mile slack pack, we were much more exhausted than I had anticipated.
Fortunately, we had hot showers, warm beds, clean sheets, and a hostel so pristine you could have eaten off the floor awaiting us. We did a resupply in town, ate, and fell into bed for a well deserved night's sleep.