We left camp the hotel around 7:30, and it took us about 40 minutes to drive to the north end of today's hike to drop Rainbow off. We briefly scouted for campsites, but didn't find much of anything beyond the parking lot. In an effort to make camp more efficient, Papa Monkey and I took out tents with us, so we'd be able to get set up while waiting for Rainbow to arrive. Also, the weather forecast was calling for a 60% chance of showers, so we would be able to get into our tents and stay out of the rain.
Driving back to the south trailhead, we accidentally overshot the exit we needed to take, and wound up going ten miles out of our way. This turned out to be a fortuitous accident, as once we got to the trailhead, we found the shuffle from the Green Mountain House hostel in the parking lot. Rainbow and I had wanted to stay there when we were passing through Manchester Center, but the place books up quickly and we neglected to even call to place reservations. (Had I not started slackpacking with Rainbow and Papa Monkey, this is where I'd have stayed, after hiking to this trailhead.)
We talked to the owner of Green Mountain House for a little while, and secured ourselves three spaces in the overflow bunkhouse for three days from now. We finally got on the trail at 9:30, one of my latest starts yet.
The day started off with a long climb up Bromley Mountain, gradual at first, and then steeper as the trail climbed up a ski slope. We took our first break after about 6.5 miles, and our second 3.5 miles later at the Peru Peak Shelter. (I wouldn't have stopped, but Papa Monkey needed more water.)
During the climb of the steep and rocky Baker Peak, we ran into Sophie Caldwell, a member of the US Olympic Team for cross country skiing. She was out hiking this section of the trail to help stay in shape for the winter.
As we approached the trailhead, I was tired, and my feet hurt more than they should have. I suspect it was because our second break was too soon; or rather, I hiked too long after the second break without taking another.
We made it to the trailhead around 6:30, and got looking for campsites. Fortunately, it didn't rain at all today, and the weather forecast for the evening improved, so we lucked out there. Having the tents did let us get set up more quickly, though with a bit of a hitch for Papa Monkey.
Papa Monkey found a tentsite in the woods just down the hill from the parking lot. It was kind of nestled in between some rocks and roots, so he wound up rejecting it. (I thought it was a perfect spot, though, and set my tent up there.) He found another spot further into the woods, and started to set up there, eventually abandoning that site after deciding it was also too rocky and rooty, and also too close to water drainage.
While I was setting up, Papa Monkey scouted out somewhere up the road, in the woods, off the trail, before deciding he didn't like that site either, instead setting up in the day-use area a short walk down the road from the parking lot. While doing that, he realized that he lost his rainfly.
I searched the area around where I set up my tent, and where he had set up initially, but didn't find the rainfly. This meant he had lost it somewhere on the road or in the woods.
Rainbow returned from the other trailhead, having made a run to pick up McDonalds for us, and we commenced another search for Papa Monkey's rainfly. While we were driving, I suggested turning on the car lights; if the rainfly was on the side of the road, its reflective elements should light up brightly. This wasn't successful (the rainfly wasn't on the road), but it did lead to eventually finding the rainfly in the area uphill and off the road he had looked at, his headlamp making the rainfly stand out brightly.
With the tent crisis resolved, we ate dinner. Afterwards, I retired to my tent, and Rainbow set up in the parking lot after taking Papa Monkey to his campsite.
While I'm enjoying the slackpacking, the driving time is getting frustrating; also, the car is a little cramped, and there's no way we can add additional people to our team. I'm vaguely considering trying to get my car sent up here somehow; it'd greatly simplify what we're trying to do.