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Moss Needs Water

The title stems from the fact Mt Garfield — one of them NH 4000-footers — is drying up. Some will tell you climate change isn’t real, but more and more its effects tell a different story. The upper elevations in New Hampshire’s mountains are typically on the moist side, moss growing on everything that isn’t moving. Heck, some even refer to the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) as the “Asbestos Forest” due to it not being prone to crown fires or fires at upper elevations. All thanks to the moisture that the moss so loves. Without it, the soils begin to crack, the moss dies, and then it can burn and all can be lost. Sorry, we don’t mean to hijack this blog post with this topic of darkness, but it is also an observation worth noting. And sharing. Too important to gloss over.

On lead for this trip was Redline Guide Mike Maciel showing a many-time returning guest the way to the summit of Garfield. For our guest the summit was needed in her quest for the 48. For her this was summit number twenty-three — almost halfway there. The hike was fairly standard, nothing remarkable happened besides the experience itself, which of course is actually pretty remarkable. It’s the WMNF! The temps were comfy down low, but chilly up high. Typical for this time of year. Barring an inversion, typical for any time of year, relatively speaking. It was a beautiful fall day and the colors are really starting to come around. The company good, though we weren’t there, we know these two people.

Happy hiker at the start of her adventure. Smile! Oh, you are… haha. Whoops.

On the way up.

This isn’t normal.

 It was dry, like a cold desert. We crawled on our hands and knees, searching for water. Desperate.

Look what’s happening to the once green leaves… okay, we’re kidding. We know, it’s autumn.

Upon finding this stream they jumped right in. Actually Mike usually does this* when he hikes. He runs hot. (Guest photo.)

The final push to the summit. The “Play Pen” is up there, and it looks like nobody else is up there.

Peering into the Pemi. In about two weeks this is going to be a riot of color.

Number 23… woohoo!

Distanced at four feet, you may ask? Mike factored in wind speed, direction, and the drag coefficient on the viral structure. It’s heavy stuff.

Cool guide shenanigans, as requested. This is Mike doing an unyoga pose.

Lunch the descent. They would’ve probably eaten on the summit but it was chilly.

*PHOTO NOTE: In one of the photos above it looks like Mike could be drinking, but know that he is not. He is rinsing his head and face so as to cool off. The US Forest Service recommends the treatment of all water sources in the WMNF to ensure potability. We follow this recommendation.

Good lead, Mike, and to the team, well done on getting another summit checked off. Thanks for adventuring with Redline Guiding.

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