(This is a guest blog by Bruce while Dickens is recovering)
The plan was for my friend Gary Kling and I to ascend Mt Adams NH (5799') by going up the Caps Ridge Trail on Mt Jefferson (5716') up to the Cornice trail, then take that trail south to the Gulfside Trail, then take that trail up to the top of Mt Adams. We would then descend on Lowe's Path. We realized that the descent might take us into the nighttime but we both had flashlights.
We started up the Caps Ridge trail at 7:52 AM. The weather was ideal. Starting up the first cap, we met a young couple and their dog Sequoia, a brindled pit-bull type dog. We completed our ascent of the caps and then took the Cornice trail, which involved a lot of boulder hopping, but not as bad as the Gulfside trail.
We had lunch on the scenic Gulfside trail. Here, we met "Ramblin' Man", an AT thru hiker, who praised the Grayson Highlands in Virginia because they reminded him of the heather moors in Scotland. Almost all of the Gulfside trail involved hopping over boulders, many of which were sideways or slanted. If you missed or slipped into the voids between them, you could get injured. I picked my way through these boulder fields very carefully, but Gary just bounded through them like a chamois, as if he had been hiking on them all his life. Needless to say I slowed Gary down on this stretch of the trail. I became very fatigued but Gary stayed as fresh as a daisy.
The views along the trail and from the slopes of Mt Adams were very dramatic. We turned back at 3:50 PM. We descended on Lowe's Path which crossed through a series of grassy tablelands and over Adams 4 (5355'). Here also we had to travel on a path made of jumbled boulders.
When we reached Gray Knob Cabin at 6:50 PM, I was so tired out that I decided to spend the night. Gary, however, still had a reservoir of energy, and he decided to continue downhill to try to finish that evening.
My night at the cabin went well. I was given a mattress and a blanket. At 2 AM in the night, I went outside to visit the outhouse. I looked up at the night sky and saw a shooting star. I also saw what at the time I thought was a blazing campfire in the distance, but upon reflection I am sure it was a will o' the wisp.
The next morning I left the cabin at 6:45 AM and arrived back at the bottom at 11:30 AM. Here, I met Carol and we went to lunch together, and later stopped at Slicks for some ice cream cones.
Overall a very challenging and adventurous hike.