Not all stories go as you think they will. Sometimes the writer throws an unexpected twist to the plot and you have a surprise ending. Ethan’s trip was the same way. What was planned as a 4-day backpack ended up being a 2-day backpack.
Friday, I left Ethan at the Livermore/Mt. Tripyramid Trail junction. He continued up to Scaur Ridge Trail and ascended up to the Tripyramids via Pine Bend. He decided to camp just below South Tripyramid and continue on to the Sleepers, Whiteface and Passaconaway on Saturday. In the morning, he picked up the Kate Sleeper trail and headed over to Whiteface. Somewhere in there, he had a problem with one of knees and made the decision to cut his trip short and come home that day.
By the time he got to the Rollins and Dicey’s Mill Trail junction, he had informed me of his decision and that he had decided to hike out via Square Ledge, Passaconaway Cutoff and Oliverian Brook Trails. I loaded my larger pack with water and essential items and I was off to the Oliverian Brook Trail to hike up and help him hike out.
I had never been on these trails, so it was an adventure for me, too. The Oliverian Brook Trail was pretty easy and the Passaconaway Cutoff started off easy, but soon enough, the elevation gain started. I expected to see Ethan higher up on Passaconaway Cutoff, but when I got to the junction with Square Ledge, I knew he was probably still on Square Ledge Trail. After a short break, I continued upward toward the summit of Passaconaway on Square Ledge. A few tenths of the way in, I passed a dad and son pair who had seen Ethan and had been asked to look out for me and pass along the message that he was still up further up the trail. In another 10 minutes or so, I found him. After a snack and redistributing the gear to take some of the weight off of his knee, we set off for the parking lot, about 4 miles away.
The descent was slow as Ethan’s knee was really hurting, but we made steady progress and eventually got to the part of the trail that was more level and that had easier footing. He seemed to pick up the pace a bit with better trail, so we made good progress toward the car.
Needless to say, we did not hike Chocura on Monday, so that will have to wait for another day! Ethan did add four more peaks to his list and did get a couple of days in the woods, so the trip was not a total loss. His knee is improving with rest and maybe the next hike will be better!