It was nice waking up with a chill in the air and no bugs buzzing around the tent. Our stealth campsite was near the trail, and while packing, I saw a couple of NOBO through hikers walk by and wave. Tandem left the site first and I followed soon after. Jukebox had issue with his contacts and left later.
He passed me before I climbed Mount Wolf. I stopped to see the view and found my 4,444th geocache. I used it as a milestone and called it into Podcacher using their new app. Twist, who we hadn’t seen since Harpers Ferry, WV, caught up with me there. We chatted for a bit, then I took off.
I hiked down to the Eliza Brooks shelter and decided to have lunch since it was 12:30. Tandem was there, and Twist showed up 10 minutes later. They both left, and I finished my third PB&J with chips, which left me full for the hike up South Kinsman Mountain. Before I left, Go Far showed up with Spruce. Spruce and I chatted about work and programming job opportunities for him. They settled in the shelter for lunch, and I left.
Climbing South Kinsman Mountain was not easy. There were many large rocks to climb over and up, which made my hiking rate just 1.5 miles per hour. I saw many frogs and toads along the trail, and the view from South Kinsman Mountain was fantastic.
Then came North Kinsman Mountain after a hike through the saddle between them. I caught up with Tandem and Jukebox at the Kinsman Pond shelter on the way down. This is the first shelter in the Whites that has a Caretaker and charges $8 to tent or stay in the shelter.
We decided to go into North Woodstock to Chet’s Place hostel, which was 4.5 miles down to the highway from there. Jukebox took off down the large rock descent. I followed, and Tandem caught up 1.8 miles later at the Lonesome Lake Hut. I was exhausted and decided to see about us staying there for work for food.
The problem was that Jukebox had passed there already. We found that we could eat and stay there in exchange for talking with guests about our thru hiking experiences and answering questions. We called Jukebox’s cell but got voicemail immediately. Tandem decided to go down to the road to let him know and go to the hostel with him.
I stayed and chatted with Twist, Go Far, and Spruce, who were all working for dinner and a stay on the dining room floor. After the guests ate, we were invited to eat from the leftovers. It was great! There was rice with chicken and gravy, corn, salad, breads, and garbanzo bean soup. We ate so well and were so happy!
After dinner, Go Far and Spruce did dishes while Twist and I discussed our thru hiking experiences and gear and answered questions with a small group consisting of a family and a couple of members of the AMC. The talk went very well. After that, the four of us said our goodnights and settled on the floor of the dining room. It had been a tough and rocky 12 mile day for me.