A quick entry to let you all know how I’m doing.
I just went to the post office today and picked up my winter gear. Winter gear?! In August?! Let me assure you that it is absolutely necessary.
Since last I said hello, my fellow hikers and I marched right through the state of Vermont. And let me tell you what a beautiful state it is, filled with ski runs…
…and increasingly mesmerizing views, such as these low-lying clouds overwhelmed by daunting mountains.
Vermont even presented a few surprises, like this “cairn garden” in the middle of the trail…
…and a muddy bog or two to add some color to my boots and socks – I legitimately almost lost a boot to the mire. After testing the texture of the mud with one careless step, I ended up calf deep in glop. I attempted to free my leg, but the suction was so great that my first attempt was futile. By the time I successfully pried the leg free, its pair was equally stuck. The five minutes it took me to get through the pit of mud felt like an eternity, but then I accepted the quarter pound of mud that was sloshing in my boots. Resignation really improved the situation. (Note to self: in the future, put on my Crocs before traversing any muddy bogs.)
In the last several days, the terrain has been getting increasingly steep. With my strained/swollen left ankle, I’ve slowed down considerably. I figure that, especially with the White Mountains coming up, this is not the time in my trek to be taking unnecessary risks. Instead, I’ll let faster hikers pass me throughout the day and bring up the rear, as necessary.
And let’s be real, I’m still making miles and moving north at a comfortable pace.
Case in point, yesterday, after what seemed like a blink of an eye, I hiked into New Hampshire.
New Hampshire! I was smiling the whole mile+ road walk into Hanover and through the Dartmouth College campus.
Last night Techie, Lentil, (and about three dozen other hikers in this crazy bubble), and I stayed in the area around Hanover. The only place in town that accepts mail drops is the post office, so we had to wait out the weekend for it to open.
Today we swapped out gear to prepare for the cold nights ahead. As much as I’m dreading the extra weight, I’m excited to have my puffer jacket, 20 degree sleeping bag, and pants back. It’s been in the 40s at night, and in the White Mountains – with elevations over 4,000, 5,000, even 6,000 feet for the first time in months, I have been told to expect nights in the 30s. Who knows? It may even dip lower.
So that’s where things stand for now. Tomorrow we’ll move on. We should be pushing into the White Mountains in a few days, and I have no clue how long it will take us to hike those 100+ miles of long, steep ascents and descents. A week and a half? Two weeks? I’ll be sure to let you know when I’m on the flip side.