7-31-12

AT miles hiked today: 10.3
Total AT miles hiked: 940.7

I am tented on a wooden platform at Garfield Ridge Shelter. This is my first time setting up my tent on a platform, other than at the Dancing Bones place. This platform has rings on the side and I can't quite get it all taut and secure. It won't fall down, though, even though it's windy and cold. There is a mysterious illness referenced in the trail register. I wonder if the dreaded norovirus had worked its way up here?

Franconia Ridge was beautiful and awe inspiring and we had perfect weather to see amazing views. We ate lunch up on the ridge and visited with Chief and I took a bunch of pictures. Wow, we were so lucky. We saw Payman and Twosteps in the morning, but not again. They hike faster than we do.

We were about 1.5 miles from the shelter when we passed some boy scouts and their leader on the side of the trail. The leader asked if we had extra water and I only had a few sips left. Eagle Eye was out as well. We had been hurrying to get to the next water source, which was a pond about a half a mile away. He had run out by sharing his water with the boys. They were all okay, but he had become quite dehydrated and had to stop while the other leader and half the boys went on to the pond to get and treat some water to bring back. Toe Knee was ahead and actually had about half a quart of water she had shared with him, but none of us thruhikers, other than Toe Knee, were prepared to help. Often I hike with just enough water to get to the next source, and I think most thruhikers do the same. We hiked on to the pond and saw the other boy scouts on their way back with the life giving water and then got our own water refilled for the climb up Garfield.

There was a really steep downhill right at the end of the day and I kept thinking I would see the shelter, but it kept not showing up. I could even hear people for a while and then the sounds faded. I was sure I had missed the shelter but couldn't even imagine going back up the hill and then finally I saw the sign. What a relief that was. It was almost dark and I kept thinking I wouldn't have a space to put my tent or sleep in the shelter (either option costs $8), but Toe Knee and Eagle Eye got there ahead of me and found a spot for my tent. The caregiver for the site was worried about the boy scout group, who had reservations there, but were still behind me, so she went looking for them. They finally made it after dark.

Dude was there, and so was Chief. What a long and tiring day.