Monday, October 3, 2016

Day 23-32

Day 23 hiking. 9/4
I'm Getting back on trail. I thought it would be on Wednesday right after finishing my Dartmouth job, but the flu bug hit me Monday and I felt the need to rest and let my body get back to normal functioning. I also needed a ride to Rangeley ME, a 4 hr ride. My dear friend Steve Crossman rearranged some stuff in his schedule and add a visit to a cemetery nearby for a photo. it's actually Saturday I get there, there happens to be a Trail Days Fedtival going on in the town that day. I met lots of people, NOBO's SOBO's town people out to celebrate with us. Best of all an ice cream eating contest! This photo was the kids under 12, then town people, then Hikers had their own category. I sat across from the winner in my hiker group, she totally consumed the cup in no time. No other guy or gal was close. I'm sure she had freeze brain and she expressed frozen tongue too. It was fun, and the ice cream was delish!
Now back at the cutest Hostel ever. This is my room, a little house with just a bed chair, and table. There is no electricity at this place or wifi, but there is an outdoor shower with hot water from on demand propane heater and battery operated pump. 

 This is set up near the river that runs through the place as the water supply. Amazing people Steve and Katherine where the hosts. 
This is Katherine I never did get a shot of Steve. This night Steve suggests that I slack pack the first 13 miles. Let me explain you carry a full pack with everything you need stove tent sleeping bag you name it its all in there slack packing is just like day hiking, you only carry what you need for the day, snacks, water, water purifier, headlamp, jacket. It lightens the load for sure. 
Now I agree it's the 4th I get my little pack together and Steve will meet me at the next road with my full pack. I now realize the difference between day hiking & backpacking! I feel light as a feather for the first 13 miles of trail. I meet Steve at 2pm at the toad as planed. 13 miles 7-2. That's faster than I've gone during the whole trail.  I see Steve waiting for me in the parking lot. I'll be get my backpack fully weighted with 7 days of food & water. My guess is that with that much food in it the weight is about 39 lbs. what a difference when I put it on. Remember I've already gone 13 miles to here I have another 5 to get to the shelter. At the parking lot was a previous thru-hiker doing amazing trail magic: he had yogurt, fresh fruit, sandwiches, veggies, candy, chips, & many other snacks. Not that I needed anything but I ate some anyway. I chatted a bit, put my heavy pack on and returned to the trail full & heavy. I was fatigued by 5pm stopped & ate heavy meals tuna & mac&cheese, full again I hike until dusk 8pm I read the comments about the shelter, "homeless man with dig that doesn't shut up" I feel like I need to pull up short of there. I set up my tent in a nice clearing and sleep. 
Day 24 hiking 9-5 Labor Day
I woke up very early as usual. After relieving myself I start to gather and pack my stuff, as I'm doing it I hear very close a CLOMP CRUNCH! CLOMP CRUNCH! Real close, I stand real still as this big momma moose comes up over the hill nearby. She is about 20 yards from me, I'm amazed & uneasy at the same time. My camera was in the tent and I didn't think I should make a move to get it. We look at each other for a bit, then she moves away into the woods. The small trees all around are about 3' tall covering the height of the moose but I can tell she is big. After heading away from me she snorts several times maybe to announce my presence in not sure but it's interesting sound I might not have associated with a moose. I'm amazed still packed up & ready to go I find that the shelter is only 5min walk from my camp. I'm ready for a great day! It started so nice with a moose sighting, then come many great things blueberries in big clusters on bushes that are easy access. Communication to home only happens on the high places, so I get out of airplane mode usually only 1x per day. I don't always wait for responses either, so if you text me I may not see it until the next day. Texting has opened up a great way to have connections to those back home. Every once in a while I can make a phone call. This day I call Maureen my very good friend we chat about where I am and my plans for the day. She is 1 of my go to people. I also have a couple of people tracking me on an Appalachian map of the trail so I'll have them in my communications too. I continue on down the trail at 5pm I arrive at a campsite that is right on a river. I decide to set up in a small space right next to the water. At dusk a beaver comes out and starts working on the river. All night long I hear him splashing and working. There are many others at this sight I'm seeing a great deal of clusters of NOBO's I'm in 1 at this campsite. About 15 tents and several hammocks. 
Day 25 hiking 9-6 Tuesday 
The beaver is still a little active when I wake up. 5:30am he set off to go into his house so I said goodbye. Everything packed in my pack and on trail by 6:45, I've got some tough ups & downs today. The words from Elizabeth ring in my head "I hike from 7-7" I think that shall be my strategy too. 3 elevations that are steep up & down, it is probably going to be a tough day. Southern ME is tough for sure.  
Here is an example of help given in the really tough spots. I met a guy along the trail today named Boiling Frog. We hiked for a while together, I had a charger that he might be able to use. We stopped for water and found out my charger was not going to work. We stayed with each other for a while longer ate lunch and continued on to the next road. I was able to put pace BF on the downhill area we did. Out to the road we came. He left to go to town to charge his phone I kept going. I pulled up a little before 7 because I found a good space & didn't think I could make it the extra miles to the shelter. My battery sources are running low too but I decided to get to the next road.  wanted to be fully charged going into the HARDEST 1MILE STRETCH:
Manoosuc Arm & Manoosuc Notch. 
Day 26 Wed 9-7
This is a photo of the ridge trail beautiful stuff I'm living every day. I did a hard day of 8.5 miles and get a ride into Hanover ME to a campground by a day hiker. The campground has wifi and showers. At the campground I catch up on some emails and other wifi stuff FB and updates. The other amazing thing about the campground is FOOD! I have trail hunger again, it is a hunger I've never experienced before. I have to eat food lots of food. Like 2 meals at a time. I crave sugars & salts. Feels like PMS in a way. So I eat a large steak & cheese with a salad and chips then dessert. I got a site a mile away from the office with no electricity but ended up staying the night in the rec hall on the floor as my stuff charged. I didn't sleep real well, maybe the food digestion was happening. 
Day 27 9-8
I got a shuttle ride early back to the trail. I mentioned to the owner other revenues he could do to attract more of the hikers. I offer to bring his card to the next shelter to advertise his place. Today I meet a hiker Cadence we do the dance: I pass him he passes me most of the day. I'm thinking he might be my buddy to go through the Maoosuc Notch together. I get to the shelter they have the weather report, rain is coming overnight. My reading of the Arm section of this area is a slide trail so I decide to press on to descend the Arm this day instead of waiting for the Morning. Cadence stays so there goes my possible buddy. But a guy named Pony from Colorado had gone down to the next campsite. I'll ask him to go through the Notch with me. Sure enough the Maoosuc Arm is a rock slab trail very steep! I'm happy to be going down this day not after rain. I slip at one point without even having the rock surface wet. I get down to the bottom and get to the camping area it's almost dark but enough time to set up my tent and cook my food. I ask Pony what time he would be leaving in the morning and if I could partner with him. He said yes.  Had prayed for a partner to go through that area with. God not only gave me a partner but someone who is very familiar with Boulder climbing and maneuvering. I'm always thankful and amazed by the answers to my prayers. Later in the evening I had to go to the bathroom so I get up and go, when I get back to my tent I see something slide down my tent. I don't think much of it but as I'm trying to get into the tent I see a small bird he bounces at my tent several times I quickly zip up my tent and the bird continued to be stressed out and was stuck under the fly of my tent but not in my tent. The bird was making lots of noise flappy flappy trying to get out but I don't know if birds see in the dark very well finally he flys out from my tent area then I hear him hitting branches as it flys around the campsite. Wow was that weird! 
Day 28 
My big day with Pony, we hike into the notch at first it's not bad but then, the boulders came. Quite interesting was the changes in temperature. It would be like a hot summer day with heat & humidity, then it would be cold like a freezer with the ability to see your breath. Big boulders little boulders some you ho over some you go under through little holes too small for you & your backpack. I got the sense of pack on- pack off like karate kid. Lots of fun. I'm so glad to have had a person to do this stretch with. There were a couple of times that Pony had to help me up or down off the ledges we were maneuvering. We thought it was over at this 1 point and so I released him to go ahead, I had a snack and took my time to move and low & behold there was more to move through. It took is 2&1/2 hours to get through 1 mile of trail. Amazing. Stuff 
This is Pony and I wiggling through a crevasse  I wish I had more to show you 
Notice the arrow pointing down my backpack on top we won't fit together. What fun. I did put this shot as my FB but not until I was gone for a while from here. I don't post updates to FB for safety reasons and wish you all would not share it there either, thank you. 
So after this amazing crawl I still had a big day in front of me I'm hoping to be on NH tonight. As the day goes on I lost my ambition to make it to NH I pull up just shy to a shelter, I'll make NH tomorrow.  
It's my first time setting up my tent on a platform I'm not sure of how to do it where do you put the stakes? I use the spaces between the boards to place the poles it seems to work okay. It's weird but flat no roots or rocks to worry about. I hiked 7.2 miles today over 5 peaks, I took a side trail .5 to summit Gooseye West Mt. The shelter is .5 off trail so with extra side trails over 8 miles. I'm the only one at the shelter until after 7 5 people show up and stay in the shelter. It's only .5 miles til NH i get there tomorrow for sure. 
Day 29 Sat 9-10
Maine is almost behind me! I wake up early and get on my way I'm hoping to get to Goham NH by Sunday. My bible reading today is Psalm 118 God has saved me from death! I'm about to get out of my first state today 7:40am I enter NH 
There it is a leaning sign amazing I feel as if I'm getting there now. Im only going 10 miles today so I take my time and stop and talk to many NOBO's  I finally meet these kids I was told about 4 kids 8-14 from the same family only the kids are on the trail mom meets them at road crossings they are all very sweet kids, I would have never in a million yes be able to do that. I met them on top of Mount Success the first mountain in NH I make my communications and let people know I'm okay after doing the Notch I had asked my church for prayer to have a companion and no injury. I got both! Thank you Jesus! Great day until later in the afternoon a drizzling rain started. A grouse in the trail let me photograph him most of them flew away very awkwardly 
The rain started about 3 until about 5 I couldn't wait to put up my tent and get dry. I arrive at the campsite and the rain had stopped but the winds were really blowing. It help to dry me off. I went to get water and met 2 men that just arrived and had mentioned s fire. I would join them for the warmth and conversation. 
Day 30 9-11
It had been storming through the night with thunder & lightning, but when I woke up there was a clam in the air the winds had disappeared and I packed up and was heading into Gorham today. I'm really looking forward to a shower & bed for the next rest. I start out early 6:45 and need to hike 8 miles I get going and I start hearing thunder again then the rain starts coming I know I have 2 peaks today and hope they are not bald ones. Not that I don't want a view but T-storms and hiking are never a good combination. Rain is coming down pretty heavy thunder and lightning is happening and I'm just pushing to get to Gorham. There are some bald spots here & there, but I'm fortunate not to be there when the storms were close. I can't wear my glasses because they are fogging up with the moisture and rain, I'm glad I can see okay without them just not great details. I keep hiking no views today! I'm on my last descent when the rain stops. At the bottom of the trail I enter into a dirt road, here is when I realize that NH trails are not marked with the white dash like ME is. I keep going down the road wondering if I'm on the trail still, at the end of the road I see the marks I'm happy but really I would have liked more affirmation before here. 

 The sky's really broke from the rainy day as I was walking down the street past this damn toward the White mountain Inn & hostel. As I'm walking up the hill I noticed my sox were weird, then I realized the rain had washed the dirt off my clothes & body and dribbled down them, I just had to take a pic. 
I knew I needed a shower. This place makes you change your clothes and they do your laundry for you! I got checked in, my room had 7 beds in it I get a great cubby bed no bunk for me! I'm expecting company but I end up getting the room all to myself. What a treat. That night at 6 I get a ride to Walmart, I get some stuff to eat for a 2 day hike. My package is at the PO which doesn't open until Monday. I decided to light hike 21 miles which is a little different than slack pack, you still have your tent & stove but very little else. I was able to leave a bunch of stuff at the hostel. 
Day 31 mon 9-12
I didn't get to sleep until after 2am breakfast at 7am then a shuttle to Pinkerton Notch. I'm let off with Pony yes the same guy that went through the Mahoosuc Notch with me! There is also GoatGas & FineLine I ask if we 3 could hike together we do for a very little while then they said I was going faster than they wanted to go so I should go ahead. I'm really feeling like I'm home. Hiking in NH has challenges that most other places don't. This trail I'm doing this time is in a NOBO direction straight up Wildcat Mt. It's very steep but with great views. A few NOBO's pass me, but I'm still feeling really good about my day hiking and am making my way uphill pretty fast for me even with very little sleep. I think it's the caffeine. Not sure but I'm able to do more and faster than before, just having s great day! That is until I get to Carter hut 1 of the AMC's huts in the Whites. I sit down in the hut have some lunch and snacks I stay longer than I wanted to, then it's all I can do to hike anymore, I lost my momentum. I make it only 8.5 miles to Zeta Pass. So much for being on top of the world in the am then dragging, so much for the 13 mile plan. I'll have to do 13 tomorrow. It's windy and cold as I set up my tent, then get dinner cooked. I was shivering as I was eating my dinner. I had to layer up. I think I waited too long I can't get the cold out of me. I'll have to get better about getting layers on faster before I get shivers. I get into my sleeping bag with every piece of clothing I had with me. Thank God I warmed up during the night. The elevation was about 3500 ft with high winds and cold temps. The coldest I've been since I started.  I'm thinking a warmer sleeping bag should be in order soon. 
Day 32 9-13 
I woke up several times in the night but finally at 5:30 got up feeling much better after getting warm. I had breakfast and off I went. Up over more big mountains I summited Mt Moriah for a 4000 footer not on the trail.  Just a little side track. The last 1/2 of the day was all downhill making my 13 mile day back into Gorham easier but my knees don't like too much downhill at the same time. I made it back to the hostel they had picked up my mail drop for me. I get my resupply and it's too much so I forward some to the next hostel in N Woodstock. I'll be heading out the next day for the presidential range. 
Happy Feet! Happy to be in NH!

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