My alarm went off at 6:00AM and I was packed up and ready to go by 6:30am. I wanted to beat the rain over Mansfield and the summit was 6.7 away. They were calling for rain around noon. It would take me no more than 4 miles to do it.
Leaving Sterling Pond, the trail was like a wave snaking up and down until finally descending to the road. It was starting to spit. I had 2 miles to Taft Lodge. I passed a gentleman on the way up. It was rocky and there were also some stone stairs along the way. Again, it reminded me of the whites.
I reached Taft Lodge as the rain started to pick up. I went to fill up on water and headed inside hoping to wait out the storm. It quickly passed and I was headed back out again. From here, it was .6 to the summit of Mansfield. The first .3 weren’t that bad. Neither were the last .3. The last .3 was a scramble to the top. The wind practically knocked me over. I pushed forward anxious for these sketchy ladders and a crevice that I had to encounter. But first, I got to ridge walk for about 2 miles. The descent down towards Butler’s Lodge is when I encountered one ladder and the Needle’s Eye, which must have been what the guys were talking about. It was not bad at all…. I hate when people fear monger.
I walked .1 to Butler Lodge for lunch. It had a great view. Obviously whoever made the shelters had the views and sunrises and sunsets in mind. I passed a couple after lunch that I chatted with for a bit. They informed me I was literally gaining on the SoBo hiker I had heard about my first night. He was only going to be camped at a shelter next to mine.
I joyously bounded down the trail until reaching Taylor lodge, where I had to fill up on water taking a .2 side trail to grab some.
Next it was mostly uphill 3.2 miles to Puffer Shelter, where I would be calling it home for the night. This shelter is known for being one of the best on the trail for its sunrise view. I met another female hiker there and decided with the possibility of incoming rain and not having to pack up a wet tent, I’d sleep in the shelter. Besides I could get a sunrise view from my sleeping bag. I’m only 10ish miles into the town of Waterbury tomorrow and my first shower.