Saturday, July 28, 2012

Gold Medal in Hiking

It's Olympics time! I am not able to watch them, but I am sure I will have a pretty good idea of what's going on through Facebook. With the difficulty and ever changing terrain, the Olympics should add long distance hiking as an event. It would just be the one event that would be too boring to watch for most people. On the bright side, I get a similar experience as I get to participate with hikers from around the globe on this trail. Speaking of the trail...

Up to this point, they say you have hiked 80% of the trail, but only have done 20% of the work. That is all about to change as I get ready to climb into the White Mountains. This is a major milestone and one of the highlights of the entire trail. It feels surreal to know that as I enter the Whites, I only have 400 miles left. They won't be easy miles, but they will be incredible!

Here is the story of my week, leaving Vermont and entering New Hampshire.

Day 134 (7/23) - Zero day
The hostel I am staying at offers work for stay opportunities, so for 2 hours of work I would get to stay the night for free and get breakfast. This hostel runs a deli too, so my 2 hours were spent bussing tables. I did it like a pro! Afterwards, I went to pick up my third pair of shoes, courtesy of Salomon. So impressed I hiked over 800 miles in each of the previous 2 pairs. That's quality and customer service right there!

Day 135 (7/24) - US4 to Winturri Shelter (18.9 mi)
Today was a day that started gloriously! Meat and I caught the first bus towards Killington to where we needed to get back on the trail, but we had to make a stop first to a little restaurant called Sugar and Spice. This place makes their own maple syrup- the real, pure kind. It was the most majestic plate of pancakes I have ever eaten, and I have eaten some good pancakes in my day, like the ones my old babysitter Helen would make with the crispy edges, but I digest, I mean digress. Afterwards, I was ready to do some major miles. There were a few good sized climbs today, which felt pretty good. I just couldn't find a good pace, mainly because I was finding myself chatting with sobo's as we crossed paths, and after meeting around 15 of them today, that took some time. It was a great day to break in my new kicks, but I almost broke them in the wrong way, by stepping in some scat. This wasn't just any poo though, it was moose poo! It's similar to elk poo, but larger (trust me, I read Everybody Poops a lot as a kid). So I am getting close- close to seeing a moose. I have never seen one and am excited!

Day 136 (7/25) - Winturri Shelter to West Hartford, VT (16.4 mi)
Today was a great hiking day. The terrain was nice, though it was full of ups and downs. I just absolutely love the trail through Vermont. As I got close to a road, I remembered in the guide book that there was a market so I automatically started craving a Coke. I walked down the road and it turned out this market was more of a farmers market, and it was closed. I sat there and ate my lunch and continued down the trail. It eventually led me to the very small town of West Hartford. There is a nice market there that caters to hikers. I grabbed a few slices of pizza that looked about a week old...tasted like it too. To a hiker though, it doesn't matter. I ran into Dakota Dan while I was eating and he told me he was camping in the back yard of a house just down the road so instead of putting in the last 4 miles I wanted, I called it an early night. I am attempting to wake up and be on the trail by 6 tomorrow. We will see if that happens.

Day 137 (7/26) - West Hartford, VT to Etna, NH (15.7 mi)
I actually woke up before 6 this morning. I was ready to get the miles in to enter New Hampshire. There was adventure to be had, along with some free food. As I said goodbye to Vermont crossing the Connecticut River, I entered Hanover, home of Dartmouth College. It is a beautiful town. I guess it was also freshman orientation or something because I saw a lot of kids with their parents. I hit up the Bagel Basement for a free bagel and then moved on to the pizza place for a free slice of pizza. Did I mention I love this town? I farted around a little too long which threw me off schedule. As I was hiking out, I had to make a call on staying at a hostel in Etna or hike in the dark to make the next shelter. I decided for the hostel, since I could really use a shower. I called and left a message from the trail and walked the mile towards town to the general store. After waiting a bit in a garage while it was raining, they called back and made arrangements to pick me up. Let me tell you about my accommodations. I am staying in "The Tank." It's an old run down RV but it has electricity and a little TV and VCR. Since I am the only one staying here tonight, I get to pick the entertainment, which is an old VHS of Flight of the Navigator. Score! Plus add a shower and laundry and I chalk this up to a good day!

Day 138 (7/27) - Etna, NH to Fire Warden's Cabin (17.5 mi)
I was sad to have to leave the Tank. I slept so good with the rain beating the roof all night. I needed the rest to help me tackle today. It was a doozy. There were two 1000 foot climbs and then the big one- the 2400 foot climb up Mt. Smarts. As much as that climb sucked, I know it was good practice for what I'm getting ready to experience in the Whites. Once on top, I climbed the fire tower and watched the sunset. The views made me forget about how hard the climb was. The only other highlight of the day was visiting Mr. Ackerly, a nice old guy who lives off the trail and gives you ice cream. Any other time or place, I guess that would be pretty creepy.

Day 139 (7/28) - Fire Warden's Cabin to Glencliff, NH (20.1 mi)
Today was one of those days where I knew I had to get the miles in. The terrain was better than yesterday so there was no excuse, except for the pouring rain that came down the last 3 miles I was hiking. I was absolutely soaked. I just put my head down and pushed on to make it to a hostel in Glencliff. This is the last stop before climbing into the White Mountains. I am pretty excited about the Whites, but not excited about climbing into them on wet rocks. I will just need to be careful. I have allowed myself to reduce the miles through the Whites to allow for the difficulty and the amazing views. It's about to get crazy!

1 comment:

  1. You're doing great! Everyone is so proud of you!