I’ve made it through the boulder scrambles of Southern Maine, now it’s time for the state’s highest peaks (besides Katahdin, of course). And guess what? It’s raining!
The warmup mountain of Maine’s big boys was Old Blue, a lovely climb when I’m toting up 12 pounds (yes, my appetite has increased to something ridiculous) of food. Check out the view of fog:About 5 soggy miles later, I encountered a rarity in Maine-trail magic! While rapidly consuming a soda, I got to interact with a really cool SOBO from Canada. It was a good time to help him reflect on the challenges he’s encountered so far on the trail and look forward to the miles to come.It was time for me to move ahead of the hikers I’ve been with for the past few weeks and meet some new faces, and I got to sit and look at this beautiful lake on my temporarily solo journey. What a neat place to reflect for me too:
Man, what a restful day. The Human Nature Hostel in Andover, ME was simply too nice to leave behind. I’ve had a great day of sleeping in, sewing up holes in my gear and trying to glue the soles of my shoes back together, and eating nonstop.
I made some mail drops for the more remote areas of Maine with some other hikers…here’s our food explosion. The rest of the day has been rather uneventful besides watching Into the Wild and chowing down on chips. But check out how cool this place is!It’s a geodesic dome hand-built by a former thruhiker with amazing views. Perhaps the most blissful moment I’ve had on trail was using the roofless outdoor shower under the stars last night. Before we sinned and needed to wear clothes, I imagine that’s what life was like!
Even with a 90% chance of rain tomorrow, it’s back to the trail and onto Stratton!
After fueling up on leftover pizza and soda for breakfast, it was time to journey up one of my favorite mountains in Maine: Bald Pate.
At least for a moment, the sun came out for our climb!Sitting on top of Bald Pate really shows how wild Maine is–there is nothing except wilderness as far as the eye can see.
My friends pushed on and I decided to eat my lunch until I saw a thunder cell quickly building in the distance. I’m not a fan of lightning, so I got moving. Sure enough, the rumbling started just a few minutes later soon followed by the downpour and light show. I was close enough to a shelter to make a mad dash and only caught a few raindrops before I got to safety. Other hikers at the shelter had the same idea.Because we all got crammed into the shelter, I got to walk out with a man named Moses. Turns out he’s from just outside Knoxville. We spent 5 miles reflecting on what he has received on his journey and what he still needs from his time on the trail. Please pray for closure for Moses on a difficult personal situation and direction on what’s next after the trail.
I also met and walked with a guy named Spenders today who is full of life and wisdom. I hope I get to spend more time alongside him in the coming miles.
On a lighter note, I’m still waiting to see a moose. There were signs of one around the shelter we stayed at tonight and a dog started barking at something that must have been the moose. However, I didn’t catch a glimpse. Better luck next time!
Southern Maine is kicking our butts, but we have arrived! The fog is still resting in the Mahoosuc Mountains…especially around water like this pond.However, after a really steep climb up to Mt. Success (the last mountain of New Hampshire), the fog broke and gave me and my new friend Grey Squirrel a nice view.Poor Grey Squirrel fell in the shower a few days ago and is having a hard time-please pray for his speedy recovery! It’s town that’s dangerous for us wilderness dwellers…
And finally, the Maine event-we crossed the border!!!I sat for a few hours by this sign to congratulate NOBOs crossing into their last state and offer a space to talk about what the trail has given them and what they still need from their journey. Only 270ish miles to the finish line. More Maine adventures tomorrow!
Today was the last official day in the Whites and I’m pretty ready to move on. A cold front brought not only more rain, but a dense fog over the mountains today. No views over the Carter Moriah range today…
When I got down to the road into Gorham, my day got quite a bit more exciting as I was able to reconnect with Ms. Janet, Half Slow, and some other hikers I haven’t seen in awhile. A parking lot party!One of the local trail angels was also able to whisk me into Gorham to deal with my broken trekking pole. A new one is on its way to Andover!
Heading out of Gorham, I passed an odd landmark-a dam!Notice all of the water that has been falling on hikers recently.
Tonight I’m at a campsite with NOBOs, SOBOs, and a bunch of doctors who I’ve enjoyed interacting with. For those interested in where the heck I sleep, check out my tarp pitch for the night…rain, you can’t get me!Tomorrow, we’ll be in Maine-so close!!
Wow, this terrain keeps making things interesting! The trail has no switchbacks and the rain keeps things slippery. I got a late start today because I had to spend some time dealing with life outside of hiking (transcripts, housing deposits, etc.), but really wanted to catch up to the girl gang that I met a few days ago. So up and over the Wildcats I went!
The Wildcats are a range of mountains with 4-5 really steep peaks to climb up and over, but they also provide great views of Mt. Washington! Too bad it didn’t look like this a few days ago…
As the miles crept by, I ran into some challenges…namely two pretty bloody falls. One was a face plant onto a wooden bog bridge that tore up my legs and arms, and the second was a slide down a rocky ledge that snapped my trekking pole in half. No worries, all bones still intact!
Check out this view of the last AMC hut–this is after a mere .4 miles of climbing away from it.Sunset was beautiful, but I did end up hiking into the campsite in the dark. Glad to have caught up with my friends!
After sleeping in and thanking God we weren’t in the path of the tree that fell beside our campsite last night (the wind was wicked), it was time to go into Gorham.
After an easy walk into Pinkham Notch, we started refueling with soup and homemade bread at the AMC-run visitors center.After dropping our packs off, it was off to an establishment I’ve been looking forward to since Harpers Ferry: Chinese Dynasty Buffet. For $7.25, we cleared 4 heaping plates each.This afternoon was a relaxing one spent outside reorganizing our packs and planning for Maine. Can’t believe the flip of the flip flop is almost over!
We sadly had to say goodbye to Esther, but got a commemorative photo of the trail family from the last few days. Thanks to Andre for picking her up!