Finally! Where were we? We hiked down Mount Lafayette to stay at the Greenleaf Hut and I was tucked into my bunk…
Monday morning I was up with the shuffle of everyone moving around in the bunk. The official wake up time was 6:30 AM when a member of the Croo serenaded us to a tune on his guitar. Or maybe was it was a ukulele? I don’t know but it was lovely. I got dressed and ready for the day by packing up everything (including refilling my water) before breakfast at seven. Everyone was served oatmeal- I added brown sugar, coconut flakes and sliced peaches to mine- and I had vegan pancakes. I got super excited because everyone else had cheesy, broccoli eggs and I thought I might get a tofu scramble for a little extra protein, but pancakes it was. At least I had real Vermont maple syrup? I shouldn’t complain because once again my belly was full; I’m just not a pancake kind of gal.
Day two of hiking started off by going straight back up Lafayette Mountain to pick up where we left off on the trail. It really wasn’t as horrible as it seemed it would be the night before; my feet felt much better and it was much cooler than it had been the prior afternoon. We took our time reaching the summit and were all left humbled by the views; it was much quieter at this hour and the only other people we ran into were a father and son squeezing in a second view before hiking out from the hut. We snapped our typical shots and moved on.
I knew the distance to the Galehead Hut was much shorter than day one but Paula had warned me that it was much more difficult. The climb on the Garfield Ridge Trail was a very steep down and lasted much longer than I had imagined. We finally made it below the tree line and it wasn’t too long before we started climbing back up to summit Mount Garfield. We reached the summit just before one o’clock; the rain had held off but it surely was windy!
Our initial plans for the day included hiking on to summit Galehead Mountain, South Twin and North Twin before dinner but as we descended Garfield I did the math and knew that at the pace we were hiking, we wouldn’t make it (at least in the daylight). The next few hours I don’t remember much but I do know there were ups, downs, rocks and talk of natural disasters and tattoos. Your mind wanders in the woods as well!
When we finally reached the Galehead Hut, we all made the decision to dump almost everything from our packs and book it up Galehead Mountain before dinner at six. It was 4:45 PM when we left the hut and it was a quick jaunt up because I summited at 5:09 PM. By that time, the views were minimal (clouds) so we turned around and I practically trail ran back to the hut. It felt great to move my legs so quickly on the trail! I for a hot second considered doing more trail running when returning home but then quickly brought myself back to reality and reminded myself that I’m not that crazy. I had plenty of time to wash up and change into something a little more cozy before the meal was served.
Dinner was a bowl of vegetable soup with fresh herb bread, salad and a veggie tempeh stir fry! I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to hear I was having tempeh for dinner. “Protein!” I thought as I dived in but soon realized I wouldn’t be able to finish the heaping serving of rice that accompanied it. It was delicious and I felt like I had a little Buddha belly walking away from the table.
I wasn’t as exhausted as I was the night before, so I prepared my pack for the following day and studied the map with a member of the Croo. I knew I had more food leftover from the previous two days than I had initially anticipated so I seriously contemplated getting up around 4-4:30 AM to hike out on my own to summit North Twin Mountain. Day three was by far our longest day and without tacking on Zealand Mountain, would be just over 15 miles. With Zealand, 18 miles and including North Twin, over 20. I told Paula and Jeremy my plan and they agreed they’d leave as soon as they could after breakfast to meet up with me on the trail, most likely near the summit of South Twin.
We all snuggled in, I set my alarm for 4:30AM and stuffed it under my pillow- I didn’t want to wake the whole bunk up two hours before the official wake up time.