Day 68

Moose Mountain Shelter to tenting at mile 1,781.8 – 27.7 miles

I leave the shelter at 5:10 AM, but need to get water only 100 yards up the trail. I hate doing this in the morning because it feels like a delay, but sometimes there is not a source at the shelter to do it in the evening. This stream is difficult to scoop water from, so I drop my pack and stomp downhill through the brush to find adequate flow. I finally restart about 5:30 AM. 

My pack is uncomfortable from the start. It is slow going with the terrain too.  About six miles in, about 9 AM, there is a sign on the trail for Bill Ackerly, The Ice Cream Man, for free ice cream and an arrow pointing to his house across the street. Amazingly, I actually need to think about stopping for free ice cream. I know I need a big day, but the house is less than 50 yards away and I can use a break already and eat something cold. 

I walk over and another hiker named Sideshow tells me Bill just left. He shows me to the screened in porch with the freezer. He buys me a Coke too. Sideshow, from Cecil County, MD, started from Pen Mar Park on March 28, the same day I started from Springer! Sideshow and I leave here together and hike a few miles together before he stops for a ‘break’. 

I know the day’s going to be tough because of my pack weight, but I feel like I get my butt kicked from 5:10 AM to 3 PM with the exception of 9 – 9:30 when I am eating free ice cream and enjoying a cold Coke. 

The climbs kick my butt, especially the climb to the fire tower atop Smarts Mountain. The climb is so long and steep that when I get to the top, I resist just sitting down and falling asleep. 

One thing I dread about these mountain climbs is knowing what’s coming. I hate seeing a big, steep mountain the next one over, knowing that the trail is taking me to the top of it. [I don’t constantly refer to my guide book the way others do. I rarely know names of mountains.]

The temperature, into the 80s, also makes for a hard day. It is nearly 4 PM when I pass Hexacube Shelter and I’ve only done about 18 miles. (Normally, I’ve finished 18-20 miles by noon.) I keep pushing on past the shelter. Finally, after going over Mt. Cube, the terrain gets ‘walkable’ and I cruise until 7 PM and finish the day with decent mileage. 

At about 5:30 PM, I see a smaller black bear (my third) on the trail about 20 yards ahead. As I move my hands to my camera, it runs away.  

New Hampshire is pretty awesome and definitely the toughest yet.

New Hampshire 

It’s beautiful out here. 

So close. I’ll be finished the week after next. 

So steep and wet. Good thing the rebar is here. 

This setting never gets old. 

Steep and smooth. Just keep your feet moving quickly, like running up a sliding board. Don’t fall. Don’t start sliding. 


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