Woke up in the clouds and wind at the hut. All nine thru hikers packed up and got out of the way before breakfast was announced at 6:30am. Boss, Eureka, Homebrew and I helped set up the tables. After the guests were finished, we got the leftovers, and then I forced myself to put back on my still-wet clothes. This is probably one of my least favorite things to do on the trail.
Hiking big days and long hours - no worries.
Pooping in the woods - no problem.
Going days without a shower - ain't no thing.
Putting wet clothes on - hate it.
We hiked straight up to South Twin mountain in a thick fog. No view or cell service, and the wind was cold and strong, so our time at the summit was brief. Back down into the protection of the trees then across and down to Mount Guyot. The weather cleared out, thankfully, by the time we got over Zealand mountain, where we stopped for lunch. The summit was surrounded by trees, so there was no view, but it was a nice, warm spot, protected from the wind. With full bellies, we hiked on to the Zeacliff viewpoint. Wow, what a view! We could see where we'd be headed over the next few hours and days, and it all looked good.
Down the mountain to the Zealand Falls Hut where we sat in the glorious sun and snacked on homemade bread one of the croo gave us. Thanks, Mac! I let my shoes and socks dry out in the sun to the point where they were ALMOST fully dry, and then we were off for the 7.5 miles left for the day down to NH 302. It was really nice and mostly flat. How could anything be bad in this kind of weather?!
A quick stop at Ethan Pond tent site, which was BEAUTIFUL in the sunshine. Wanted to stick around but we continued down the ramp-like trail to 302. There weren't any rocks to climb over, but the steep grade was hard on my knees at the end. We were glad to make it to the parking area where we found Uncas trying to hitch a ride to the general store. He'd been there for twenty unsuccessful minutes. As soon as I stuck out my thumb, a pick-up pulled over and gave all three of us a ride (it helps to be a girl sometimes). Thanks for the ride, Wayne!!
Over at the general store, a guy walked in and asked if anyone knew where a hiker named Little Foot was... It was his dad! Little Foot's dad!!?! Papa Foot! What a surprise. I knew he would be meeting up with Little Foot in the Whites, but I wasn't sure when/where. It was so good to catch up! (update on LF: he managed to get Lyme disease AGAIN?! But is all better now...)
Well, Boss and I had planned to just eat dinner at the general store and pick up a few things before heading back to a stealth camp site near the trail, but Papa Foot said we could stay at his campsite with him. Great! We rode back to the site and set up while Papa told us all about his plans for the whites. We cooked hot dogs over a fire and talked about gear and all things AT. Soon enough, it was bed time for all of us. We have a big ole climb first thing in the morning, but it should include a few fantastic views!
Btw: the stab wound in my foot is good. It still is quite sore when I press on it (don't do that!), but feels fine when I'm hiking. Both ankles get rolled at least once a day, but it's the left one that screams at me loudest. My knees only cry out when there's over an hour of straight downhill. Other than that, I'm feeling good!!
-- Posted from the trail...
Location:Dry River Campground (NH 302)