Hello! Well in one phrase, things are going great. Maine is over and I’m currently in New Hampshire. Southern Maine was intense and some of the hardest hiking I’ve ever done but the views were out of this world. In Maine, from the Bigelow Mountains going south, it was just constant large, hard rocky climbs for over 100 miles and in NH the climbs are similar but appear to be shorter and sharper. By that I also mean the climbs don’t seem so everlasting. Some northbounders suggested that the Whites, where I am now, would be easier then Maine. I’m starting to get a little convinced. The climbs do seem a tad easier and they’re also more enjoyable. NH has these ridges which we hike on and we can see where we’re hiking to since it’s open and above tree line. You can look left and right and see miles into the distance.
There’s a lot of look-down hiking because the terrain is rocky and in areas very very steep. On some mountain descents, I’m glad I’m going south and not north. I do have to say I enjoy the more technical climbs. I feel like they’re a bit more fun and there’s been a ton of hiking like that. Mahoosic Notch is considered ‘one of the most difficult or fun miles of the AT’. I guess it depends on what kind of Hiker one is. It’s basically one mile of going through a big boulder field in a small valley. A bit of climbing up and hopping from one large rock to the other, climbing down and doing it again. Some areas don’t get touched by the sun and you can see your breath in those low lying sections while it’s 80 degrees elsewhere. It’s pretty cool- no pun intended.
So far the Whites have been pretty amazing. The Mt. Washington summit and sections going south have by far been my favorite hiking. I’ve met some folks I’ve been hiking with and we were very lucky in our summit day. We left Gorham, NH(first town outside of ME) with anticipating on Wednesday October 4th for a nice day summit on Mt. Washington. Luckily the weather held and we rocked it. I got a little lucky myself by receiving some trail magic by a woman that wanted to help someone in the hiking community, I was grateful it was me. In the Whites there are huts managed by the AMC(Appalachian Mountain Club). They are expensive to stay but hikers with their White Mountain Hiker Cards are able to grab a free drink and baked good while stopping by. Hikers can also do work-for-stay at these huts to get a good meal and sleep indoors(on the floor). It was raining for a few day stretch so this was a little enticing for me but requires staying up late to help the hut. I appreciate my sleep so i don’t believe I’ll be doing it.
Besides the few days of rain, the weather has been great. Going over Franconia Ridge was quite tough. There was a storm coming through and the winds on the ridge were gusting to over 90 mph. That’s not a typo. It was a constant battle with the wind at all times above tree line. My pack cover was taken by the wind three times. Luckily the first two I was grasping onto it and the third time it was caught by an Alpine tree. My pack straps kept whipping me in the face as well. I think that was the toughest weather I’ve ever had to face but in all honestly, dude, that was a ton of fun. Such a rush
Just as last year, the people and hikers have been fantastic. I can’t really say it in any other way. Going south and out of season, I didn’t expect to get so lucky. I’m a bubble of SoBo’s And everyone is stellar. There’s only about 10 of us and I do believe we’re the last of them but that’s what I think what makes it so special. I’ve passed hundreds of NoBos on trail and so far I haven’t met a bad soul. I question the timing on their mt Katahdin possible summit day these days but I give them credit for still pushing. Good for them.
Currently I’m in Lincoln, NH, right after Franconia Ridge going South. It’s a pretty nice town and busy. I took a day off to wait out a storm passing at a place called Chet’s. It’s really a gentleman’s home who helps the hikers but this gentleman has a story that I will forever look on and reflect on during my hike. This man likes his privacy so I will not tell his story. This one almost has to be earned.
My health is doing ok. I feel like I’m in good shape and have my legs back. Coming South has been a crash course for terrain but I’m loving every second of it. It took a while for my legs to come back but at least for now, they are much stronger. I’ve lost maybe about 15-20 pounds so far. Like I keep saying, the terrain in the this northern section is super tough so I think that’s what’s causing it. I’m appreciating town food much more these days to pack in some extra calories.
Some of my gear has been swapped such as my pack and shoes. My good friend Rob really helped out by shipping out a new pack for me in Rangely, ME. It’s a way more functional pack and two pounds lighter from my last. I’m grateful for his help on this trip. Thanks, Rob!! Yesterday my sister was just as helpful and purchased a new pair of shoes. The loops for the laces on my last pair ripped in three different places and a hiker friend fixed and showed me how to fix them. If it wasn’t for her my feet and legs wouldn’t have made it so safely to town. Thanks to my sister for her help!!
Coming up I have the rest of the Whites and then head into Vermont. There’s a small section of trail closed for wild fires so I’ll have to skip a little bit of trail but I have no control over it. In a few days and getting into Vermont the terrain calms down and there aren’t many huge climbs. From what I understand some rolling ups and downs, which I’m excited for to push in some extra miles per day. It’s been about 10-13 per day due to terrain. Again I don’t mind either way because the views are best I’ve ever seen. When I head out today I’ll be hiking up Mt Moosilauke and after that the terrain becomes small sharp ups and downs. I’m going to miss the views but my body could use the terrain break. Next town day is likely going to be in 5-6 Days so hopefully I can squeeze in a post then