We hiked on over to Garfield ridge Shelter and got water again at another beautiful spring. We then came down the steepest, rockiest trail, with a creek running right through the middle of it. It was like climbing down a waterfall, except there wasn't enough water flowing to get you all wet. Just enough to make the rocks all slippery! Yikes! We climbed more than hiked down, and were happy to reach the bottom unscathed.
We met three young hikers along the way, all students at Virginia Tech, and enjoyed leapfrogging them along the way. They were having a blast, and were here to hike for a week. It was two girls and one guy, and the guy had hiked here a lot, so he was full of information.
Soon, we reached our first AMC hut that we were actually going to visit. It was lunch time, and we had been told, they are happy to feed thru-hikers left-overs from their meals. I went in and told the kitchen crew that it was my first visit to a hut, that I was a thru-hiker, and that I was told to ask for handouts. As you can imagine, this felt kind of strange, to ask total strangers for handouts.
The young man with no shirt on, in an apron, turned to me with a big smile, and asked, 'Do you like chicken?' "Of course! I replied." He got me a plate, and I told him I had a husband with me, and there were two other hikers on the porch, so he grabbed four plates, and we all sat down to really yummy ginger chicken. He also had cooked soup for lunch, and so the chicken was free (left-overs), but the soup was $2 for the first bowl, and then $1 for each refill. It was potato dill soup, and when the three college students arrived, they gave me some salmon out of their packs, and we all added it to the soup. Yum! They also had hot drinks and some baked goods for sale at the hug. We ended up having a really great lunch for just a few bucks, and they treated us so well, we were anxious to visit another hut.
We left there and climbed a mile up a steep trail to the South Twin Mountain, which gave us our first view of Mt. Washington in the distance. It was a gorgeous day to see in all directions.
We then hiked on, heading to another stealth campsite just past Zealand Falls Hut for the night. The trail got a bit easier, which was nice, and we felt like we were finally making good time. It went much slower than we thought however, and we were really drained by the time we reached the Hut. The hut was full of dayhikers, waiting for supper to be served. It sat right next to the most beautiful falls that cascaded all the way down the side of the mountain. I only went in to top off our water bottles, and then we hiked on another half-mile to the stealth site in the woods. It began to rain, but we got camp set up in time to stay dry. It never rained hard that night, thank goodness, and we had a great night's sleep.