Day 93: Franconia ridge in the sun

Wednesday June 12, 17.0mi/27.4km

Lincoln/Hwy 3 (1819.0) to Zealand Summit (1836.0) (NH)

We got up at the usual time, and Chris was making eggs and bacon for breakfast! He dropped us off at the Liberty Springs Trailhead at 8:30am, and went off to work.Bob and I waited in the parking lot for a few minutes, and Amanda drove up. We had hiked most of the Te Araroa together, and had planned a day to hike together here in New Hampshire. Old trail family reunion, awesome!We were talking the whole way up the climb to Franconia ridge, so I didn’t even notice the climb until it was over! We got some summit photos on Mt Lincoln, and continued on.Mt Lafayette is the highest on the ridge, 5259ft/1603m. We had a nice lunch break there, then Amanda took a side trail back down to her car.The descent from Mt Lafayette, which I have done probably a dozen times over the years, was expectedly steep. But I didn’t expect any snow! It was just little patches, so it was easy to walk around.We did the steep climb up to Mt Garfield, and had another nice break on the summit firetower foundation.We hiked/downclimbed the really steep descent, and stopped at Galehead hut for a drink and snack. The AMC operates eight huts in the White mountains, which are staffed in the summer. They serve breakfast and dinner, and snacks all day. The lodging is quite expensive, so most thru-hikers don’t stay the night.The final climb of the day was up the steep one mile climb up to the summit of South Twin mountain. We knocked it out quickly, and had one last summit photo for the day.When the trail wasn’t on an exposed ridge, it was in a nice pine forest all day. Perfect!We didn’t have the time to continue down to the next official campsite, so we opted to camp on the summit of Zealand mountain. It was a tree’d summit, so it’s protected from the wind and perfect for camping.We made dinner and watched the sun set over the mountains. It was a long day, even though we only covered 17 miles! This terrain is rougher and slower, so it’s to be expected. I had a great view from my tent…

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