|A red dawn over Twin Mountain - the first climb of the day.|
|Clouds began lowering over the peaks as the morning began.|
|Rain gear on and ready to tackle the day!|
|An inhospitable summit.|
|Summit selfie - photobomb by Traci.|
|Looking south towards Franconia Ridge and Mount Garfield. The only view we had all day.|
Fortunately, the trail descended along the ridge and into the sub-alpine forest of stunted trees and krumholz. It wasn't much shelter, but it helped. Meanwhile the clouds descended upon us and we walked in a dense fog, with the views to either side only imagined in the grayness. Despite our rain gear, we were all wet and chilled, so the only goal for the day was to keep moving. Even a short stop to pass out sandwiches for lunch left us shivering and cold.
As we descended the temperature gradually climbed, and we enjoyed some smooth even trail for large sections. Aside from one quick climb through gusty winds and sleet to cross a ridge line, we made relatively good time.
Approaching the hut, we descended further into a forest of larger trees and warmer temperatures. But by the time we walked in the door of the hut we were a cold and bedraggled group. Zealand Falls Hut is next to a swift-flowing stream with waterfalls. It would be a wonderful location on a warm summer day, but we were content to get inside, claim some bunks, and shift into drier clothes.
Next - Return to Crawford Notch