Day 69

Gear boy and Pia rustle around about 5:30. Trail Magic left before dawn to catch the sunrise on top of the next mountain. I try to squeeze in another few minutes of sleep. I tossed and turned all night. Maybe it was the strange atmosphere of the hut floor or the anticipation of getting kicked out by 6:30. I slowly rise and begin stuffing my things in my bag. Pia brings out her little bottle of milk to add to her container of oats. Gear boy gasps at the sight of milk. You packed out milk?! he says. Pia says I love milk as she shrugs her shoulders.

Gear boy took off at 6:30 and at 7 Pia and I walk out the door to the clinking sound of forks as guests enjoy oatmeal and pancakes. We begin out 2 mile climb up South Twin Mountain. It was steep but non technical. We took a break at the top where we could make out the ridge line of the Presidentials including Mt Washington. I walk over to a guy named John and ask about the ridges in view. He points to the Mt Bond range which is where he is headed. There are a lot of trail systems in the Whites outside of the AT. After taking in the views and looking back at how far we had come, we made our way down the mountain toward Zealand Hut over flat ridge bog walks and rocky down hills.

On the way we passed a view point of the valley below and surrounding mountains. It looked like the landscape of a different country to me. This is my favorite section so far. It really feels remote and nary a day hiker to be seen. We reached Zealand Hut around 2 and had are free thru hiker soup. 5 more miles to our destination on what turned out to be a flat dirt path. What a gift. A short side trail to Thoreau Falls as on the way so we stopped to put our feet in. We passed over bogs and streams arriving at Ethan Pond Shelter at 4:30. There was a guy there named Traveler who had a 360 degree camera attached to a helmet. He was taking pictures for Google so one could walk the trail via Google maps. His company plans to do that for all the major US trails. Thoreau On the way we passed a view point of the valley below and surrounding mountains. It looked like the landscape of a different country to me. This is my favorite section so far. It really feels remote and nary a day hiker to be seen. We reached Zealand Hut around 2 and had are free thru hiker soup. 5 more miles to our destination on what turned out to be a flat dirt path. What a gift. A short side trail to Thourou Falls as on the way so we stopped to put our feet in. We passed over bogs and streams arriving at Ethan Pond Shelter at 4:30. There was a guy there named Traveler who had a 360 degree camera attached to a helmet. He was taking pictures for Google so one could walk the trail via Google maps. His company plans to do that for all the major US trails.

I set up the tent precariously on a wooden platform making sure the doors would close this time. It was going to rain tonight. Pia and I ate out last dinner with a father and daughter out for their first backing trip. Prairie Dog and Maverick joined us. After dinner we walked down the pond in hopes of catching the resident moose that leaves there. Sunset is prime time for moose. We didn’t see any but it was beautiful nonetheless. Pia and I crammed into the tent in the blue hour of dusk and battened down the hatches for the night.

Miles: 1831.9 – 1843.7 (11.8)

Total: 727.7