Around 3:00 am it started to rain hard and it did not let up until 6:15 am. Needless to say, it was a very wet morning. So we waited to get up until after it stopped raining. We packed the tent up, wet and muddy, and hit the trail. The first 5 miles today were very flat, but due to the rain, it was also more stream than trail. We were able to hike 7 miles in 3 hours, better than we have done in a long time.
The rest of the day was uphill climbing into the Presidential Mountains. When we approached the first view, we met a couple of hikers, a NoBo and a SoBo. As we were talking, the SoBo told us that there was at least 20 other NoBos headed to the hut where we were planning on staying the night. That was not good. Then he told us about a place to stealth camp of of the trail not too far before the hut. After talking about it, Max and I decided to look for and to stay at the stealth camp.
We stopped for lunch on a cliff ledge with a great view. As we were settling into lunch, it started to rain again. So we grabbed our stuff and went to a little outcove of trees where we were mostly protected from the rain. It stopped raining about the same time we finished lunch.
We continued climbing up the ridge for the rest of the day. Max and I took a small break to fill up water at one of the huts and ran into a Swedish NoBo that we have been seeing for the past few days. He was going to do work in trade for a stay at the hut. After filling up water, we headed out. From what the SoBo told us earlier today, it sounded like the stealth sites were about a mile up the trail. When we got to where we thought the sites would be, we did not see anything. So we kept hiking in the hope we would find them, but to no avail. As we continued up the trail, the trees became shorter and more spread out. After a while, a fog came down and the wind picked up, so we put on our rain jackets and we hiked faster.
It turned out that we completely missed the stealth camping sites and Max and I ended up hiking to the Lake of the Clouds Hut. When we walked thru the door, it was immediately clear that they were completely full. After talking to staff, they sent us down the hill to a stealth camp site. It was a very steep downhill hike for about 2/3's of a mile, but the site was beautiful with a view of Mt. Washington and of the valley on the back side. It was a cold night, so as soon as the sun got low, we were in our sleeping bags.
Stealth camp site to Stealth Site near Lake of the Clouds Hut
Location: Latitude: 44.26162, Longitude: -71.32028