Long-distance hiking and internet blogging do not mix. For me at least. Having a blast off-grid. I’ve already filled up and sent home my first physical trail journal, about a quarter way through my second. Having a hard time deciding how to begin updating such a huge gap. We’ve had some serious adventures on our journey!
Many thanks to Scot @ High 5 Hostel in Andover, ME. Great conversation, and I got to drive (badly) an ATV for the first time!!! There are pictures!! We ate bear sausage, too! Shout out to Supachef, Cat & Toast! Love, love, love to the White Mountain Hostel in Gorham, NH. Much respect and love to Chet, who put us up for a whole week in Lincon, NH. Big, Big, Hugs to Karen and Ralph at Tigger’s Tree House in Etna, NH.
In Gorham, we had to take Jason to the hospital for some stomach problems, he’s fine now, but had to stay overnight to have fluids replenished. I insisted he rest another two days in town before we set out again, so we spent a full zero week. In Lincon, Jason’s ATM card was eaten by the machine. Between waiting for a replacement and Hurricane Irene, we lost another week.
The White Mountains completely shook me. I was rocked by how difficult it was. I was floored by so much natural beauty in the face of such physical pain. I took pictures like mad- partially because I got so few in Maine, partially because I had a feeling that any description I have for my time out there would fall short of the images I could collect. Even photos (which I promise to upload asap) seem too small.
It’s looking like we won’t finish the trail until late November. I’m not so terribly ruffled by this, but six months was way longer than what J was expecting to spend out here. Fortunately, with the White Mountains, The Great Smoky Mountains, and the Difficult-ass Mountains of GA under our belts, we have the hardest terrain over and done with. It won’t be out of the question to do thirty mile days soon. I’m really looking forward to moving at a quicker pace on (supposedly) easier terrain, from what I can tell from our altitude profiles.
Hurricane Irene has wiped out the trail in VT, but there was no way I was going to Completely skip one of the most awesome states on the trail. There was also no way I was going to miss an opportunity to visit Sam D., one of my best friends from Savannah! We’re staying with her until tomorrow, and then I’m going to Burlington to see my old high-school buddy, Tim L. Super stoked, obviously. We’ve got a ride to Dalton, MA on Thursday, when we’ll be resuming our journey south.
Gear update- My left trekking pole broke, going to replace my Black Diamonds with Leki poles like J has. They’re heavier, but more durable and comfortable. We both replaced our Merrill Chamelion Gore-tex boots with Innov-8 Roclite 312 GTX trail runners. They’ve got Gore-tex as well, but are much lighter, more in line with a minimalist shoe. I personally might get some insoles with more arch support, but I want to do a few miles to try the shoes out as-is before I make the change.
Physically, I’m feeling pretty good. My left knee has been giving me some trouble, but I’m working through it with ibuprofen, elevating it when I can, and stretching regularly. I’ve lost thirty-two pounds so far, I don’t think I should lose too much more weight since I’ve stayed where I am for the past coupla weeks. I haven’t been this small since high school. My upper body has more muscle than I’ve ever remembered. Eating like a madwoman whenever possible.
J has been doing more research on minimalist backpacking, and from some of the websites he’s shown me, it seems like a very doable option. I’d love to do the Pacific Crest Trail next year with only a 25 lbs pack weight. Right now, I hover between 30-35 lbs. Jason’s is even lighter because his pack is smaller to begin with and he is less fond of journaling and moisturizing than I am. While we are traveling a lot lighter than a lot of other packs out here, it still feels like a tumor on those rough patches. With my knee acting up more often, I want to shed all the weight I can.