When I woke up, I discovered that the campsite we’d found in the dark was actually right next to a park office building. Another hiker with a car pulled into the parking lot and offered to take us to town. We resupplied at Price Chopper, and it was conveniently located across the street from a McDonald’s. Feeling much better about food, we headed back to the trail.
Then I actually woke up to rain and no civilization nearby. What a letdown after the dream. The rain slowed by the time I made it out of my tent. I got going up the hill to the Liberty Springs Campsite, which felt like a never ending staircase. No matter how far up I looked, it kept going. Once past there, the trail seemed to be easier. I knew I’d be getting above treeline for a few miles so I stopped to eat lunch before then. It was very windy and misty so I knew I wouldn’t want to take any breaks up there. Just as I sat down to eat, a southbounder came past me looking soaked so I put my rain gear on before heading up too.
Once above treeline, I went over the peaks of Little Haystack Mountain, Mount Lincoln, and Mount Lafayette. It wouldn’t have been difficult except for the very strong winds and zero visibility. The winds took breaks sometimes when I first got up there but seemed to get stronger and more constant the farther along I went. My guide had told me I would be above treeline for two miles, so I was starting to get antsy to get back below treeline at the end. My hands and feet were freezing, and it was starting to get difficult to change my grip on my trekking poles. It turned out to be over three miles I was up there though.
I was so happy to get back into the trees and out of the main winds that I started going faster, trying to warm up quickly. I’m finally starting to trust the rocks to have traction, even when wet, since they are so rough. I made such good time to Garfield Pond that I decided to go over Mount Garfield too. The winds had finally blown the mist away by that time so I could see a great view from the summit.
I stopped at the Garfield Ridge Shelter for the night, even though it was only 5:30, to try to dry some things out. The wind had died down by then so nothing really dried at all. I was in my sleeping bag by 7:00. There is a freeze warning tonight and it’s already really, really cold. I did 10.3 miles though, and finally making double digit miles in the Whites, combined with the number of peaks I bagged today, made me feel much better, despite still having cold, wet feet all day again.