Fri, Aug 30
Franconia Ridge Day.
I wake at N&C’s after my last night in Glencliff along the trail. Breakfast. Leave at 7:20. I drive to the Notch Hostel and hang out for a little bit, I’m going to give a ride to a few hikers. They share some food with me – pancakes and sausage. I leave with Socks, Tales, Balto, Mountain Laurel, Blue Jay, and Daredevil at 10. To the trailhead for the Basin at 10:20. we hike down the bike path then up, up, up Liberty Springs Trail. Water break at the spring with a handful of other hikers. It’s kind of cloudy outside.
Once I’m near the tree line there are clouds over Little Haystack Mountain. Dang. I hope that this clears up because Franconia Ridge has some epic views. A volunteer at Haystack is giving a talking to all the thru-hikers about the rules in the Whites: camping regulations and Alpine zone stuff. On go my wind pants and rain jacket because it’s quite windy. The clouds start to clear! I head over to Mount Lincoln and hike with Socks and Tales over the ridge to Mount Lafayette. People are up here but it’s not hella crowded. Clouds part, the sun shining, pretty awesome. There are great views. Over some knobs before the descent off of Lafayette.
A young chatty hiker named Short Shorts catches up and we walk and talk for a while. He hiked the PCT last year but is just out for the long weekend from Boston. He’s pontificating about the spirituality of long-distance hiking when we run into this old cranky Scottish man who’s all like “this bloody sucks!”. He ia right, the trail is tough here, but the timing couldn’t have been better. Socks and Tales catch up and we all hike to Garfield where the views are great and it’s quite windy. We have some snacks. But it’s too windy for me so I head down toward Garfield Ridge Campsite. Slow going for the last is 0.4 miles.
I arrive and pay the $10 fee and check in with the caretaker named Spice Girl who says there are about 40 other hikers at the site! I set my stuff up in the shelter then join Tadpole and Survivor in the cook area. Short Shorts joins. Then Gummies and Glow Worm. And Tales and Socks. And Balto and Mountain Laurel. Eat soup. Hot chocolate. Into the shelter by 9 for sleep.