AT miles hiked today: 8.8
Total AT miles hiked: 930.4
We slept in this morning at the Eliza Brook Shelter and trail magic worked so that we met Sparky again, along with Stubby and Low Gear as they left the campsite this morning. We reconfirmed the slackpack of Mt Washington and the Presidential peaks and they headed out. We finally left camp at 10am and hiked a while with Wildflower, but she eventually pulled ahead because we are slower hikers than some. I am slowest on the rocks, especially going downhill on rocks. I am definitely the most cautious there, but I do make up my speed on rooty soil trails. Chief took a zero at the shelter to dry out and got invited to the slackpack as well.
Climbing South Kinsman was intense! I'm realizing that we no longer hike 2mph in The Whites. We are lucky to hike 1mph here. Well, I'm not really sure you can call it hiking anymore. Rock climbing or scrambling maybe, up steep cliff walls and vertical boulders. In the rain, of course. Well, the rain started near the summit of South Kinsman, but we did get a quick view before the clouds completely blocked things out. Luckily, the rain didn't last long and the sun even peeked out during our late lunch break at the shelter by the pond.
Around 4pm we made it to our first AMC hut, where we met Dude and Chucky da Phish, who got work for stay at the hut without even asking for it. We have plans to go back to Chet's Place tonight, though, so we headed on after I took some pictures of the pond. It was turning into another long day and once again we were worried about getting off the mountain before dark. The trail got a little easier and we got to a river crossing where the bridge was washed out and we had to find a way across. Luckily it was not dark yet. We finally got close and found the side trail to get to a parking lot where we could call the shuttle again, but it was another mile and it was getting dark by 8:20 when we finally reached the Liberty Springs parking lot in Franconia Notch. We called the shuttle and got to Chet's around 9pm, where we set up our wet tents in his backyard and then walked into Lincoln to the laundromat and for some food. It was another long day and late night and I'm exhausted.