We packed up our stuff, retrieved our food from the bear box, and set off. Immediately, we had to finish the descent off Mount Garfield, which started with a sketchy scramble down a steep rocky waterfall. It didn’t last long though and then the climb became a lot more manageable. After the initial descent, the trail wound up and down a bit but was relatively gentle. We ate breakfast with views of the rolling green mountains, and not long after stopped into Galehead Hut, where most of the hikers we’ve been hiking around had congregated. The huts are kind of weird because they charge like 100 dollars for a bunk so they’re pretty elite, but we can at least use the toilets and fill up our water bottles from the tap, which is pretty awesome.
It was here that we received some bad news. Monday, the day that we (and most of the other hikers) were planning to summit Mount Washington, was forecasted to be a complete washout. 100% chance of rain, all day long. As we hiked out, we began brain storming alternative ideas. Right after leaving the hut, we had to steeply climb up to the summit of South Twin. It honestly wasn’t that bad at all, very steep, but pretty nontechnical. Just more climbing up the big stone stairmaster. I definitely feel like I’m getting stronger on the uphills, which is nice.
The summit was super cold and windy, with views covered by shifting clouds again. We had hoped to get cell service to formulate a plan for Washington and the weather, but it was too weak to actually do much of anything. The rest of today’s hiking looked fairly simple, and we thought we could possibly push a bigger day and then summit Washington tomorrow, hopefully getting a ride down into town from someone once we reached the top. We made that our tentative plan and pushed up.
The trail leaving the hut was blessedly flat and smooth. It felt like being on the PCT again, and there were even some great mountain views for a while. Double Orca quickly caught up to us and passed us, but we caught her again a bit later and ended up hiking the rest of the day with her. That was a lot of fun, as it was the first time we’ve actually hiked with anyone else on this trip, other than each other. The trail stayed mostly super chill for the rest of the day, except for a steep descent for less than a mile at the end, which was super helpful.