Because of how slowly we hiked yesterday, both Papa Monkey and Rainbow hiked out early. I, on the other hand, decided to stay for the 7 am breakfast at the hut. (I paid to stay at the hut; I should get my money's worth.)
Breakfast was as excellent as dinner, consisting of oatmeal, pancakes, and bacon. After breakfast, the hut crew (or "croo" as they call themselves) put on a humorous skit that was a reminder to people to pack out their own trash (so the hut crew doesn't have to) and also a request for tips.
I left the hut around 7:35, and climbed out of the very steep Carter Notch to Carter Dome. I practically charged up the mountain, reaching the top about 75 minutes later, and catching up with Rainbow.
Unfortunately, charging up the mountain left me somewhat tired out. I stopped a couple of miles later to catch my breath, and after that, I never caught back up to Rainbow today.
When I was stopped, I should have put my pack cover on. Rain was forecast, and it wasn't too long after I started hiking again that it started a light rain. Not for too long, though, but long enough that I had to stop again to put on my pack cover, and to make all the rocks wet.
A couple miles later, during a break in the rain, I took a break at the summit of North Carter Mountain. On the way up the next mountain, Mt. Moriah, there was thunder and a little more light rain. Fortunately, though the rocks continued to get wet, most of them were not slippery.
Descending Mt. Moriah, I took my second break after about ten miles. For a while, the trail followed the Rattle River, gradually becoming less steep. Once the trail passed the Rattle River Shelter, it became a nice, easy almost rock-free trail, and I was able to hike the last mile in less than half an hour, finally reaching the trailhead at 5:30.
When I got to the trailhead, no one was there. This was somewhat irksome since just the other day we had a discussion on waiting at the trailhead. Apparently, Rainbow went directly to the hostel we were staying at that night (the White Mountain Lodge and Hostel, which was a short distance north of the parking lot, directly on the trail), and Papa Monkey gave another hiker a ride to the Walmart in town. In any case, no one made it clear that the meeting point was the hostel and not the trailhead, so I wound up unnecessarily waiting at the trailhead, until Rainbow finally called me back just as it started raining again, saying where they were.
As I mentioned, the White Mountain Lodge and Hostel is directly on the trail, at the intersection of US 2 and North Road. I'm not sure I've seen a better-positioned hostel on the trail. It's a nice place, with a nice common area, a bunk room, and several other private or semi-private rooms.
Packs and dirty hiker clothes aren't allowed in the house; there's a place to put packs and a changing area in the garage. And while that makes sense, it's a bit weird to have to change into clean clothes before you can get to a shower. (Packs also don't really dry in the garage either, since there's no direct sunlight and no air conditioning.)
Two-pack happened to be at the hostel; it was nice to see her, and also give her back the check I had found over a week ago.
Papa Monkey, Rainbow, and I, along with a hiker they had been trying to catch up with for awhile, Hong Kong Steve (from Hong Kong; "Steve" was the most American name he could think of), went to J's Corner Restaurant and Lounge for dinner. I had intended to bring up the failure to meet at the trailhead at dinner, but with a non-party present, I didn't feel like bringing it up in that context was worth it, and I let the matter slide since there wasn't really any significant adverse effect.
Today, I completed 1800 miles on the trail, though the actual 1800 mile marker is in a section of the Whites we have yet to do.
The weather forecast for tomorrow looks to be lousy. We don't want to take another zero so soon, but it'd be probably be a bad idea to hike in the Whites when it's raining. Slippery rocks are no fun!