The intermission between blogs has been due to spotty cell service and me falling asleep instantly when in get to camp. We are talking 2 seconds flat.
Let’s see.. the past two days we have averaged over 20 miles. And they have been difficult days. It really hit me for the first time that the mental difficulty is increasing. The climbs were hard, but it was even harder knowing that these “hard” climbs are only the rolling hills of the white mountains. I don’t know if it is anxiety about them, or if I’m a little scared, or maybe it’s the realization that this is the last big challenge.. and I don’t want it to end. It’s mind blowing that as I sit in this bunk at the “hikers welcome hostel” I will be done with the white mountains and almost to Maine a week from today.
Witch doctor and I talked about this feeling a lot today. The excitement about being so close, mixed with the reality of it being over, and perhaps being ready for it to be over. You know it has been a long time when it’s difficult to recall details of the beginning of the trip.
We met the first SOBO. He’s trying to break the record. Saw him at the end of Vermont, and he had started thirteen days prior. He did the whites in three days. With a tiny mesh backpack, brite side, witch doctor, and I all assumed he was a day hiker when he flew passed us. Larry boy told us his story later. Pretty impressive.
The day before yesterday had been a long one. We all ran out of water at one point or another, and took several siestas midday in the heat. We kept pushing to make it to our destination and were certainly rewarded. 5 miles before camp, at the base of smarts mountain, is the home of bill ackerly. I had never heard of him, but he is certainly a legend. Ice cream, soda, Jim beam, and croquet. He let’s people tent, has a water hose, and is a fine story teller. He signed his book and hung out for an hour before he rushed us off to make it to the tower before dark. “Well, it’s 5 o clock, Bourbon time…. well we can’t do all this talking about bourbon and not drink any!” I’ll be back to visit him!
That night BS, WD, LB and I were finally all reunited at a cabin at a fire tower on smarts mountain. We were told by bill to sleep in the tower, but I didn’t have the nerves with a storm rolling in. We had a lot of silly time in the cabin.. great to have a space just full of thru hikers.
Yesterday we did a few big climbs and rolled into a hostel around 7 pm. Hot again, so the evening thunderstorm was rather refreshing. Met a fantastic motorcyclist by the name of Liz. One of the highlights of my day. Again about 5 miles from destination, I was lounging by a road and she passed by, made a u turn and came back to chat. She stealth camps and couch surfs all over the country as she adventures from one place to the next. She does auto-cross, bikes, and lives a free spirited life. Inspiring. She also gave us snackies and let us finish off her soda. Unexpected trail magic!
The hostel we are at is great. Six bunks, indoor tent spot, hiker trash tent with running toilet, washer and dryer, and hot shower. We watched minority report, made a run to the store for ice cream and drinks, and listened to a lot of past AT and PCT stories from old timers. It was refreshing and homie.
Now I’m clean and ready to go. Whites start now. Moosilauke this morning. Wish me luck!