July 3. Woke up in the hotel at 5 AM and thought about getting going...but I rolled back over and slept until 7. This was another hotel with shower soap but no shampoo...must be a Northeast thing to not offer shampoo at hotels, oh well! My body was completely sore...my legs, arms, and core. Yesterday the trail was tough...we had passed a sign that said "Extremely Difficult Trail" and it was right! We packed up our gear and walked down to Peg's, a local breakfast spot. We ordered the Hungry Man breakfast special, pancakes, eggs, corned beef hash, toast, bacon, and coffee. I have been really eating recently and I was still hungry! Our server had also been our server the night before and we had fun shooting the breeze with her, but eventually we had to get back to the trail. I checked the weather on my phone and it looked good for today, but storms tomorrow. It has been a great feeling to check the weather on my app...each time I check it I add a new town, the next town, and I delete the last few towns...I can track my progress on the AT by the towns I delete! We headed out to hitch a ride...one thing about hitch hiking, we have learned that although you'd think a Sabaru driver would be an outdoors person and someone who would likely pick up a hiker, it seems to not happen. We have been passed by countless Sabarus with roof racks, kayak holders, bike holders, but no space for hikers. Also, luxery cars like a Lexus will never stop. And it is always hard to watch a pickup truck pass by with an open bed. We stood out on the road for several minutes before a lady picked us up. On the ride to the trail we learned that her boyfriend thru-hiked before and now he makes is own backpacks and gear. She dropped us off at the trail and we headed back into the Whites. I told Amy a few days ago that I was going to the White Mountains and the Presidential Range, where people can die. Amy was not a fan of that comment. The Whites can be dangerous, but I was prepared with warm gear and we were shooting for huts along the way. Besides, today was one of those ideal days in the Whites...amazing weather and spectacular views. We headed out of the gap and up the Franconia Ridge. The trail was tough again...stepping up on rocks with my knees and feet as high as my hips, trying to power myself up. It was a hard trail yesterday and this morning and I felt like the primary motion was up or down...but the secondary motion was forward. Franconia Ridge was amazing...the views were unbelievable. I took photos...but there is no way they will do it justice. We took it slow through the ridge, looking at the views, but after that we needed to make some miles. We hiked up and over Mount Garfield and that was one of my favorite views of the day. The mountain was smaller than the others, but it was surrounded by wilderness and we sat looking in one direction and could only see natural beauty while behind us were towns, highways, and buildings. We hiked on to the Galehead Hut. Rafiki was in the lead but he was having a rough day and eventually he realized that he was going slow. He tried to speed up for a few minutes but I eventually had to pass him and pace us faster. We stopped at the hut at 5 PM but we headed on to Zealand Falls Hut, 7 miles up the trail. The trail from the hut to South Twin Mountain was 30 minutes straight up, like taking a stair master for half an hour, with a 30 pound pack. It was hard! The rest of the 7 miles were downhill but rocky. It was an amazing evening and we pulled into the Zealand Falls Hut at 8:20 and asked about a work for stay. There were already 4 hikers there but the staff said if we cleaned the bathrooms in the morning we could stay. We had cookies and leftover turkey and at lights out at 9:30, the 6 of us hikers spread out in the dining room on the floor to sleep. It was supposed to rain overnight and it would be nice to hike with a dry tent in the morning. Today was a good 19 mile hike, we finished on mile 1830.9, 353.3 miles from Katahdin!