At 4 am my alarm went off. Slightly dazed, I got out of my sleeping bag and started packing up. I walked over to Spirit’s tent and shook her it. We had to get going if we wanted to catch that sunrise.
At 4:30 we got moving and made it up Bigelow West peak just as the colors of the sky started changing. It was a windy morning, but we sat there for nearly an hour regardless, watching the world get brighter and brighter.
Later that day we made it to the old logging town of Stratton for breakfast and resupply. That’s really all you can do there anyway. After sitting around the gas station, leeching off of their wifi, we hitched back to the trail and started walking up another mountain. I guess that’s how a lot of town days go.
The next day, another mountain, this time in pouring rain. It definitely complicates things. But we got up and over without any major mishaps.
That’s really how some of these days go. It becomes routine and day to day life. A lot of interesting things happen, but mostly it’s all walking. Up and down and then up again. One interesting thing that happened was that some day hikers had carried a 9 week old German Shepard puppy to the top of Saddleback Mountain. Cutest little thing ever. Seeing any dog on trail is always a good time.
We hitched into Rangely, a small tourist town. Mainly for the same reason as every other town. Food! After food we hitched back and walked some more. You get the idea.
A couple days later we made it to Andover. A town with nothing more than two general stores, a diner and a library. The Little Red Hen diner lets hiker stay in their backyard for free. So we did. And sat on their porch, watching pickup trucks stop for beer at the general store. At this point everyone previously mentioned was behind. Except for Spirit. And Tomato who was ahead.
We took a zero in Andover, walked down to the river and sat on the porch some more. Spirit introduced me to libraries. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know about them before. But it never occurred to me that they could be so useful in these little towns. It’s a great place to write blog posts, use wifi and just hang out. The one in Andover was an especially good one. It was this beautiful small dome shaped room with dark wood paneling. I should’ve taken a picture. But I didn’t so you’ll have to imagine it.
The day after Andover we went through the famed Mahoosuc Notch. Famous due to being the supposed most difficult (or fun) mile of the entire trail. It took us a good 2 hours of rock scrambling, crawling under and climbing over boulders. It sure was difficult. But also lots of fun.
Luckily we had good weather going through the notch. Those boulders would’ve been slippery. The day after, not so good weather. It rained all morning and I made it to Gentian Pond shelter and decided to stay there, despite only doing 9 miles or so. Just having a dry place to sleep felt like a luxury. It was also the shelter with the best view so far.
On a gloomy day, in the pouring rain, we finally made it out of Maine and into New Hampshire. Being out of the first state felt like letting go of a big breath of air. And not until then did I feel like it was real. That I’m actually doing this again. Living this life again. Living simply. Living deliberately.