6:30 start at Liberty Springs parking area
He came upon a grouse laying on the trail. Well, Ponytail startled her, she flew at him. He quickly moved backwards to get away from her, tripped over a rock and fell backwards (good thing he has his big pack on to save his back and head). Then he had to swat at the bird because now she is on his chest coming at his face. (Can you even imagine?) He managed to get her off and get back up off the ground. Now, the bird sat on a branch near the trail where he needed to pass. He went very slowly and never took his eyes off of her. She was only trying to protect her babies. PTD never saw them till after she came after him
He went over Mt Liberty (4,459), Mt Flume (4,328), Little Haystack (5,089), Mt Lincoln (5,090) (named after our 16th president) to the Unnamed Mnt (5,020) and over to the Greenleaf Hut (4,200) -this is above tree line. The hut can accommodate up to 48 people. This is a pay hut as all are in the White Mountains. Thru-hikers may stay the night IF there is room and IF they work for their stay (dishes, cook, maintenance and whatever is else may be needed)
Mid morning he had reached the summit of Lafayette (5,260), He was cranking. Oh and did I mention it was raining! Rain started about 9:30. This didn’t make for many views. He actually waited a bit when a heavy downpour came before proceeding on. He then went over to Garfield (4,500) then to Mt Guyot (4,580). Somehow he managed to slightly bend one of his hiking poles. Eventually made it over to the Zealand Falls Hut.
Spent the night at the Zealand Falls Hut. Non paying guests needed to wait outside on the cold semi dry porch while the paying guests ate. After wards they could come in and hang out. Lights out at 10pm(that is late for a thru-hiker - especially one that just hiked 20 miles) and then they were able to move the tables a side so they could sleep on the floor. There was some major thunder and lightning going on. PTD was glad he was inside, safe and dry. PTD didn’t eat dinner or breakfast at the hut. To pay for sleeping on the floor in the dinning room he set the tables in the morning and headed out to get a jump on the long day ahead. If he ate breakfast he would have to hang around till eveyone was done and then do the dishes. So, he opted to head right out to get the jump on the day.
20 really hard miles today and the rain just wouldn’t let up