Back at the Appalachian Trail – Day 6

After a night with occasional light rain, I hit the trail at 6:00 am. After 15 minutes of hiking, I somehow made a right turn at a clearly marked trail junction rather than a correct left turn. I soon realized that the trail did seem to match the guidebook map. I continued on for two hours until two hikers told me that I was on the wrong trail. I won't repeat my first word - it was a bad word. I turned around and retraced my steps for two hours. Back at the trail junction, I made the correct choice. I enjoyed 1.5 miles of easy hiking then began the 600-ft climb up Haystack Mountain followed by another 300 feet up Mt Lincoln followed by 300 more feet up Mt Lafayette. As I was approaching Mt. Lafayette, the clouds cleared for a minute to reveal the peak and more distant mountains. A guy on top of Mt. Lafayette took my picture. Then a 1,400-foot descent to Garfield Pond, mostly obscured by trees. The 600 grueling feet of elevation gain to the top of Mt Garfield and then down a steep rocky trail to the turnoff to the Garfield Ridge shelter ate me alive. I was elated to find lots of space in the shelter. Others soon arrived and filled the shelter. Was I ever grateful to be in the dry shelter. I hiked 6.8 miles today in 6 hours not counting my side trip. Tomorrow the weather is forecast to improve. I hope so. At least we're serenaded by white-crowed sparrows.

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