(Daily Mi: 19.4) Find a girl asleep on my feet as I stir near five. Up, packed and ready to roll when most of the short timers still waking up. Hike w/ Choo Choo to the second shelter to make breakfast.
Base of the fire tower about 200' up the hill from where we spent the night is surrounded by a sea of tents. Everyone still asleep.
Pretty kick ass hike today. Ran up some big hills including Stratton Mountain (3936) (where Benton Mckaye first imagined the AT).
Averaging 15-20 minut miles over some pretty steep hills. Nice, fresh, cold spring just below the summit of Stratton. Summit itself is pretty but completely socked in.
Very crowded shelter. A group of twenty late stage tweens are on the Trail for a two hundred mile hike through the Whites with an outfit named "Overland".
Stout really likes on of the Overland counselors but is less thrilled with the Overlanders who are nice but between 12 and 15 and many in number.
This is supposed to be a "fee" site maintained by the Green Moutain Club, but the caretaker is off for the day so it is a "free" site.
Have my first encounter of the trip with blackflies right after coming in. Suddenly notice red spots appear on my legs and before I even feel the bites see ribbons of blood down the front of my calves. They are DEET proof so I put on long pants which all you can really do.