The morning was not off to a good start, with pretty much everyone telling me, before I even got out of bed, what I should do, and I really wasn't very happy about it.
Rainbow still wanted my help through the Whites, and that I needed to help because he had rearranged all his plans for the Whites with the slackpacking group in mind. Clo Bear reminded me that she was unreliable, likely to bail at any time, and that if I wanted people who'd have my back, it'd be Rainbow and Papa Monkey.
This was unsolicited demand/advice I wasn't particularly interested in hearing, especially before breakfast. That said, they made excellent points I had already considered, it was just irritating in that way it is when someone asks you when you're going to do something you were just about to start, and now you can't take credit for doing it without the unnecessary reminder.
I was still a bit sore about everything that happened yesterday, particularly last night, but sticking with the slackpack crew, at least through the Whites, seemed to be the least bad option. We already had a plan for the Whites, and I wasn't really keen on hiking the Whites with a full pack. And, I didn't really want to leave my car here, in basically the middle of nowhere.
I agreed to rejoin the team, provided we avoid doing the sort of things that led to yesterday's confrontations.
Papa Monkey headed north, to the NH 25 trailhead to hike south, while Rainbow and I went back to the NH 25A trailhead and hiked north.
Crossing NH 25A brought us back into the woods, and to a little trail magic camp with chairs, a table, and a "Welcome to the Whites" sign. (There was also a bucket hanging; we had been told earlier that it was cooking equipment for the guy who does trail magic there.)
The trail today was pretty easy, and even with a short break in the middle, we averaged 2.7 mph. It would be nice if the rest of the Whites were this easy, but I knew it wouldn't be.
From the trailhead, we went to the nearby Hikers Welcome hostel. Inexpensive, it has a bunk room in the main house above the common room, and a second, newer, bunkhouse (quieter, but no electricity). There's also an outdoor shower, which was quite refreshing.
My shower (and laundry) was delayed a couple of hours, though, because Papa Monkey had decided to give a hiker a ride from the trailhead to a store, waited for them to finish their shopping, and then shuttled them back, before coming to the hostel. I thought this to be inconsiderate and rude, especially because with limited cell service in the area there was no way to tell why he was late. Also, the events of last night boiled down to people not being where they were supposed to be, when they were supposed to be there, and this seemed to take any lesson learned from last night and throw it out. (I'd have been fine with him giving a ride to someone if the destination were vaguely on the way to where the car was supposed to wind up, but going so far out of the way in a car that wasn't his seemed an intentional antagonism, though it probably wasn't.)
After I got a shower and started my laundry, I had a chance to talk with Rainbow about last night, now that we had both calmed down significantly. It seems that the root cause of last night's woes was a significant case of bad timing: both Papa Monkey and Rainbow were driving to and past the trailhead, but not staying long enough for the other to show up. Rainbow checked a number of other places where we might have been, including Hiker's Welcome (which was next on our list of places to check had we not found Rainbow last night) and the sugar farm (there are two houses on the property; he checked the one that people weren't in and didn't see the hikers sign on the one we were in). Between our wrong turn last night and not actually having a plan for what to do if people weren't where they should have been, it spiraled out of control pretty awfully.
The Hikers Welcome hostel shuttles people to the same convenience store/deli that we got food from last night, calling orders in ahead of time so they can be made while the shuttle is en route. I was pleasantly surprised by this (though in retrospect, I shouldn't have been, since it was probably the only reasonable choice for this sort of thing in the area).
With Clo Bear out of the picture, we again attempted to shuffle around our hut reservation for Galehead Hut, moving it from the 20/22nd to the 17th, calling in a favor from a friend of Rainbow's to get the AMC to let us move the reservations around like we wanted. We won't know until tomorrow, though, if the AMC will let us do what we want. (We're supposed to call at 9 am, and we "need" to be hiking before then, most likely in an area with no cell service.)
Tomorrow's revised plan: we go over the first of the White Mountains, Moosilauke.