We started hiking, and for the entire day, were in clouds. We never had any views AT ALL. The trail was quite challenging, with quite a few steep, rocky climbs. We also passed through some boggy areas, which I never expect to be so high up, on the tops of mountains. At one point, a man, his daughter, and their dog, were on the other end of a very long board walk, and we were meeting in the middle. We tried to step aside, on to a grassy area, that was solid ground, but he offered for them to step aside, and picked up his dog off of the boards, and set his dog on what he THOUGHT was solid group, but actually threw the dog into the bog. That poor dog sunk like it was in quicksand! He immediately grabbed it, before the head went under and pulled it out. It was covered in black muck. We insisted that they go ahead and cross and we stayed in the grass. I felt so sorry for him, and especially for the dog. I have no idea how they were going to get him clean.
We hiked on, and as we hiked the clouds got thicker and the wind picked up horribly. We reached an AMC hut called Mizpah, and went in for a quick break. They had soup, and the boys had minestrone, and I had potato soup and some hot coffee. We ran into Kindle and visited with him a while. The crew there was preparing for haul supplies down the mountain. The crews at the huts are all college students, and twice a week they pack out trash and pack in supplies. It was amazing to see how much they were loading on their backs.
We hiked on and crossed Mt. Eisenhower, Mr. Franklin, and Mr. Monroe, ending up at Lakes of the Clouds Hut. As we crossed these, the wind got really bad, and I was definitely out of my comfort range, as it was now affecting my balance, starting to blow me around. We met two hikers going in the opposite direction, and they told us the hut was just a few hundred yards ahead. We never saw it until we were about 30 yards away. I've never been so glad to reach a building in my life! Inside were lots of people sitting around the tables, playing cards and visiting. We found out they had room for us to stay and do "work for stay," and changed into dry clothes. It was the first night for this new crew, and they were all giddy with excitement. We ended up helping set the tables, and cleaning up afterwards, and were rewarded with as much food as we could eat, but we ate with the crew, in the kitchen, after the guests were all served and their dishes were cleaned. The next morning, we once again, were fed a huge breakfast, after we cleaned up after the guests. We felt like we got a great deal, especially since the guests were paying $80 a night to have a bunk and they same food.
That night, we slept in the dining room on long benches shoved together. We laid out our air mattresses and sleeping bags. As I tried to go to sleep, I couldn't believe the incredible wind howling outside against the big picture windows in the dining room. In the middle of the night, I woke up, and the wind was still blowing, but I could see the big dipper perfectly framed in the window. There were a million stars in the sky, and I realized it had cleared! I was so excited, because in the morning, we would climb Mt. Washington, the second highest mountain we had climbed yet, and we wanted a beautiful day for views. It looked promising!
Poncho and PB Whack were also staying at this hut, and we really enjoyed playing cards with them, and visiting with another thru-hiker, named B1 (for his luggage tag attached to his backpack).