Garfield Campsite: 1826.9
Crawford Notch: 1844.4
Total miles: 17.5
Tent pads don't protect against cold. We woke up comfy, but making it out of the tent was difficult. Luckily, Duck Fart had brought our food bag to us and we were able to move on from there. We ate breakfast, made coffee and started hiking at 8:30. We also picked up our AT thru hiker passes. That means all future tent sites are half price amd we get the free baked goods and a free soup at any hut along the way.
After three miles, we would have our first chance to spend our tokens at Galehead hit. However there was enough free oatmeal and food from the previous night (spicy beef) that we got bonus breakfast for free.
After Galehead the trail was busy. We passed some thru hikers, section hikers, and a number of family day hikers going both directions. Eventually we also caught up to Evac, a thru hiker we first met back at the Graymoor Center. He joined up with our tramily since he said we were making him hike faster. We continued the climb up South Twin on the way to Zealand hut. Clem, our buddy we last saw at Moosilauke, was starting his hike at Zealand and coming towards us. Two miles out from Zealand we met up with him. When we finally hit Zealand Hut we all took lunch, later in the day than probably any of us wanted. We are near a ball of garter snakes hanging out near the shelter. All of the hikers came over to take pictures of the collection of six snakes as we ate.
*We think there were about 7 snakes in the snake ball. Ah!
After lunch, we continued down the Ethan Pond Trail and Clem split off to that A to Z trail so he could make it to the AMC Highland Center, a fairly cheap, but completely booked bunk house where he at least had booked another bed for the night. He offered a ride to a general store up the road in Twin Mountain so we could get a room near there.
The Ethan Pond Trail was a fantastic trail along an old railroad grade track. It was flat, without rocks, and fast traveling. Clem told us the book time was 4.5 hours, and we made it to 302 in just over three hours. Along the way, we experienced another group hallucination. The first was our witness of the guy with a roller suitcase out of Dalton, MA. This time it was a woman wearing water shoes with a child on her hip, and a young boy with a backpack following behind. We were still a couple of miles from a road, so we weren't sure where she came from, or where she was going.
When we made it to the actual parking lot, Clem showed up shortly after. Duck Fart and Dean found a ride with a day hiker in the parking lot while the two of us and Patch headed first to the AMC Highland Center for fuel and then to Fosters general store where we got another short resupply and some beer. We said goodbye to Clem who thought he might meet up with us again tomorrow. He gave us some seriously good snacks and a backpackers pantry dinner and hit the road. He, though, already has become a legend as Clem the Provider.
*Clem and Tyler
*Dean and Duck Fart at Fosters
While we said goodbye to Clem, Duck Fart found us seemingly the last rooms in the area to rent. End of summer rooms have been scarce from the family's in the area renting for their last trips before the school year and school orientation outings. Duck Fart also booked us a taxi for the next morning so we could get the twelve miles back to the trail.
We walked about a mile down to the 4 Seasons Motor Inn as a group. Duck Fart and Patch got a room and the two of us and Dean shared another in adjoining rooms. We tried for about forty five minutes to find a place to deliver food but absolutely no restaurants deliver to Twin Mountain. Duck Fart asked the hotel managers about delivery and they offered various prices to rent their car. Eventually though, they offered to drive us back to Fosters, which apparently their daughter owns, to make a weird hobo dinner.
*4 Seasons Motor Inn
The hotel manager drove Tyler and Duck Fart down. They bought dogs, buns, tortillas, chili, chips, fruit loops, and milk. We thanked the hotel manager for his generous ride, and cooked our weird dinner with camp stoves and devoured the food. Finally, we got to do some serious relaxing before heading back to the trail the next day. It was a weird, but grand evening.