Leaving the tent site in the morning I hurried to the shelter to pack up my gear. We set out to climb Madison fairly early, making great time over the boulders on our climb. I passed a few Flip Floppers who I had seen back in Virginia. Flip Floppers are hikers who hike a section one direction and flip to the other side and hike the opposite direction. It was nice seeing some familiar faces coming at me for a change. Chatting with them for a few moments I continued my climb to the rocky peak. At the summit I was treated with a wonderful panoramic view of my climb down Mount Washington and over the presidential range.
Flailing and I decided to take in the views at the top for a few moments while Earthling hiked down the ridgeline. The way down looked like a descending Rollercoaster of hills, each peak lower than the previous one. Watching her hike down we took a few pictures of the climb down and took a few more of where we had come from. Reaching the first hill she took the opportunity to take a photo of us from a few hundred yards away. Never a dull moment on the trail, we quickly dropped our pants with out talking to each other and mooned her, then flashed her shaking our hips back and forth.
Donning our clothes again, we followed behind as she took photos of us climbing down to the first hill. This would be our last day in the whites and I took my time coming down the ridges, parsley because of the boulders and partly because I wanted that last great shot. We talked znd moved slowly as she climbed down. Our knees becoming sore as we went down the steep trail. Each step just large enough that we had to drop to the one below no matter what. The constant dropping was taking a toll on all of us. By the time we reached the trail crossing we sat for a while and had lunch.
We had just 5 miles to go at this point and the map said it was mostly smooth with one hill, which meant rocks and roots. If the map shows an up its rocks, a down its rocks, and if it’s flatt’s rocks and roots. Having a quick lunch we pushed onto a swimming hole and cooled off before getting back to the trail. It’s been nice going through the whites and we had an expierence of a life time. By now Earthling and Flailing were not feeling well and my knees we shot for the day. We all focused on getting to the trail head for the shuttle instead of goofing off. Flailing had started to get a headache and it was a big problem for him.
The rest of the afternoon we crossed stream after creek all the way to the notch. We would have to wait a few hours for the shuttle but at least we had friends to keep us company. It turns out we had caught Shadow Monk and Socrates as well and they were excited to see us. Taking the shuttle into town we would have four crap days of time off. Turns out that Earthling caught a virus and was violently ill, then Flailing was too with the headaches and the virus. Losing such a large chunk of time set us back on the trail, dropping us back into the bubble we tried so hard to stay ahead of.