Miles from Springer Mountain: 1905.5
Miles to Mount Katahdin: 286.5
I conquered the White Mountain National Forest, I’ve passed the 1900 mile mark, and I’ve got less than 300 miles to go! I’m not in Maine yet, but the weight of completing the Appalachian Trail is growing heavier on my shoulders every day. For so long finishing felt so far away, now with each passing day I’m realizing how close to the finish I actually am. I heard about the troubles of the Whites from the day I started dreaming about the trail until the day I stepped foot in it, now I can say I made it past one of the toughest hurdles of becoming an AT thru-hiker!
I woke up the sorest I’ve ever been on the 27th, I begged my knees to bend – I had to eat my breakfast laying down, I couldn’t sit up long enough without aching. I massaged my legs, I agonized knowing I needed to pack up and move onward. After summiting Mt. Washington I still had one final hurdle, Wildcat Ridge. I lumbered towards Pinkham Notch to snack on some ice cream before ascending the first peak of the ridge. A pint of Ben and Jerry’s is enough to move my broken muscles.
The Wildcats were astounding, at every view on the ridge line I could see the Presidentials and Mt. Washington in all its glory – a supreme sense of pride rushed over me as I realized what I had climbed the previous day. I didn’t let the feeling last long, I had more miles to walk. It was a day of steep inclines and declines, sometimes the downhills are the most terrifying. One misstep is almost always at least a 10 foot fall down a slick rock, just that would be lucky. My pace was slow and I was in pain, but I made it to the Imp Shelter for another beautiful sunset – my last in the Whites.
The next day I woke up early to bust out the last 8 miles of the Whites, heading towards the Rattle River Hostel. The trail wasn’t the roughest, but any time I opened my mouth to breath I almost certainly swallowed a bug. Not a recommended source of protein. I made it to the hostel before 10 and began my day of relaxation. I haven’t stayed at many hostels, but this one may have been my favorite. The people make it all worth it, the conversation, the amenities, and my friend Flickertail made cookies too! I resupplied, ate some BBQ, and relaxed. At the hostel a group of Amish guys from Lancaster County helped the owner do some yard work, he was amazed at how much stuff the Dutch Mafia could accomplish in a couple hours!
I set off on the 29th intending to reach Maine, but I decided not to push it too far and did just over 11 miles to the Gentian Shelter – I was rewarded with another amazing view until the rain started. I set off today with too much food, I don’t plan on stopping for 8-10 days. You would think by now I would be smart about my pack weight and planning, but I’ll just think of it as a little extra workout during my last few weeks on trail!
With 1900 miles down I’ve just entered the Mahoosuc portion of the trail, a tough section that is overshadowed by the Whites. I’ll be in this portion for about a 100 miles, but afterwards it’s said that the last half of Maine becomes one of the easiest parts of the trail. If you’re keeping track at home I’ve got less than 20 days left! In those 20 days if you have any blog requests, please let me know and I’ll find some time to write and answer questions. Thanks for following along!