Day #49-Get Smarts; Miles hiked: 23.4

Today was a long haul out of Hanover, but after a sleepless night at the frat it was time to get back into the woods. There are about 44 miles between here and the start of the Whites and a window of good weather starting Sunday. With that in mind, Crush and I decided to push miles for good weather in the Whites.

Check out my lunch spot on Moose Mtn. It might be hard to pick out, but the bare summits of some of the Whites are visible. Here I also met back up with some other hikers I haven’t seen in quite awhile-Melt Down, Bean, and Revenant.The rough part of my day came when it was time to climb a massive mountain right around dinner time. My body staged a rebellion when I was pushing it up a hill instead of feeding it, so I had my dinner on the way up.I made it just in time to catch the last of the sunset at the Smarts Mtn fire tower. The stars are out now, but more rain and storms are headed our way tomorrow!

Day #48-A Dartmouth day; Miles hiked: 9.6

Today was a short walk out of Vermont and and a feeding frenzy at Dartmouth. We took a slow morning at the Hart’s place, the trail angels who graciously hosted us in their yard last night. She even made us breakfast!Not even 10 miles later, we crossed the border and entered the great state of New Hampshire-famous for the hardest and most beautiful stretch of mountains on the whole trail.But first, it was time to experience Hanover like a college student! I was blessed by another UMC connection that led to an all you can eat buffet at the Dartmouth dining hall. I just graduated a few months ago, and had an absolute blast destroying a dining hall with zero inhibitions this time. Thank you to Don for the meal and the company! This afternoon we resupplied and explored Hanover. Jack has also scored some unique housing-the couch at his old fraternity house. With that, I bid thee goodnight from academia.

Day #47-Farmland rollercoaster; Miles hiked: 19.8

Wow, today was a roller coaster! We didn’t get to camp until almost 11 pm last night because we got distracted by the Inn, but this morning the views at our campsite were amazing! We stayed at a private cabin that is open to thru hikers with a ladder to a viewing platform on top. I slept on the porch to not make too much noise when we came in and watched the sunrise this morning.The hiking today was deceivingly challenging with a roller coaster worth of abrupt ups and downs. This was kind of rough on both body and spirit, but there were plenty of wildflowers to see in the fields.I ate my body weight in both raspberries and blackberries!

The final excitement of the day was “the back porch.” A couple that hiked the trail in 2016 has converted their porch into a hiker haven with homemade ice cream sandwiches for sale. What a treat!Tonight we’re crashing in a lady’s back yard who also cares for hikers. New Hampshire tomorrow!

Day #46-Headed east; Miles hiked: 17.3

Today was full of distractions, but they were all culinary in nature! I had breakfast with the other hikers at the Yellow Deli this morning and had a blast using their industrial dishwasher-wish we had one of those at home!

After only 2 miles of hiking (first picture is of hikers that don’t want to move after filling up on farm fresh omelettes), we took a 1/2 mile detour to the Inn at the Long Trail. This hiker favorite has an Irish pub where we burned a solid 3 hours enjoying the atmosphere.A few miles later, I passed the first big waterfall of my hike so far. There are a plenty of these in the South, but this was my first glimpse of one that wasn’t bone dry.Today we left the Long Trail behind and started heading east to New Hampshire. The split is called Maine Junction for obvious reasons.At Maine Junction, one of my hiking friends who is walking the Long Trail decided to continue on with me and my friend Crush to revisit Dartmouth, his alma mater. Here is Jack climbing down a ladder on a steep rock:Looking forward to hanging out with Jack and Crush for the next few days!