I got up at 5:45 am, to somewhat miserable weather. Today wasn't looking good for hiking up a steep mountain.
In packing up from the hostel, I discovered that my fleece was missing. It turned out that Rainbow, lacking his gear two nights ago (in Papa Monkey's car), had borrowed my fleece, which had been laying in the open in my trunk. He attempted to return it by putting it with my pack, but somehow it got misplaced with someone else's things. I saw it with someone else's stuff, but I was so burnt out that night that I didn't even actually question it. ("Huh, that's weird, that looks like my fleece. Wonder what it's doing there," was basically the entirety of my thought process on the matter that night.)
We returned to the sugar house to see if it might still be lying around there, but to no avail. (None of the hikers there in the morning had seen it either.) An employee happened to be there, and took us to Peter's house, and we asked him if he might have seen it (he didn't).
This would be problematic, since the fleece was half of my cold weather gear, which I'd need for the Whites. So it'd have to be replaced. Nuts; this was the first thing of any real consequence I've lost on the trail.
Since it was rainy and miserable out, we decided against hiking, and instead, drove through the Whites for most of the day, scouting the parking areas in each of the notches where we'd start or end looking for campsites or anything else noteworthy. We didn't find campsites (and camping is prohibited within a quarter mile of trailheads), though we did find that one of the parking areas requires a small fee.
In the course of our running around, I did happen to find the water bottle I thought I had lost a few days ago; it had been in the back seat, and fallen into the foot well, and then under the driver's seat. (I also found under my seat the water bottle from my test hike at Sugarloaf Mountain that I also thought was lost.)
Our plan for the next two days is unchanged: tomorrow, we start from Pinkham Notch and hike up Wildcat Mountain, to Carter Notch Hut, a short 5.9 mile day. Then, the next day, we hike the 15.2 miles to the trailhead in Gorham, staying at the White Mountains Lodge and Hostel.
Opting for cheap lodging tonight, we decided to stay at the Dolly Copp campgrounds, relatively close to both Gorham and Pinkham Notch. We reserved a campsite there, and Papa Monkey set his tent up to claim the site.
We drove into Gorham, stopping at an outfitter to get me a new fleece (and for Papa Monkey and Rainbow to get some other things as well). Then, we went to Walmart for Resupply, and finally, staged Papa Monkey's car at the trailhead in Gorham. We grabbed dinner at Subway, and returned to the campsite, set up our tents, and updated our plan for the Whites.