Tenting to tenting at mile 1,913.7 miles – 18.2 miles
I hate when I sleep through my alarm! I hurriedly pack up and I’m hiking at 5:30 AM. The only good thing to come from today is that I enter Maine and get closer to home. There is so much climbing, rock climbing, and very little walking it seems. Up steep rocks or down steep wet rocks. It’s slow. The Mahoosuc Mountains are hard.
The Mahoosuc Notch (the most fun or most difficult mile of the AT) is cool, but it takes me an hour and a half to navigate the one mile boulder field. Entering the notch is like walking into a refrigerator, the temperature is immediately and significantly cooler. Snow and ice remain in the bottom. At one point my foot breaks through the ice and my leg falls through to my knee. At times I need to remove my pack to crawl through tight spaces under and between boulders, and I have to jump over gaps and crevasses.
I only hike to 7 PM. Being out of food (for the day) and with an empty stomach, I tent partway up a climb. I find a relatively flat spot about 75 feet off the trail. There are few flat spots, so I have to take it when available. Not only flat, but clear enough to pitch my tent. It is a tight squeeze between downed trees, undulating, soft, mossy ground surface, and piles of moose crap.
I’m getting rest. I need some good days ahead. I am so done with the climbs! I really have had enough.
As I stir dinner, my spoon handle breaks. My first thought is, “this just got interesting.” Fortunately, my freeze-dried dinner is in a bag, so it’s easy to squeeze into my mouth.
Today I realized a simple pleasure out here: seeing a white blaze. It can be quite stressful at times, when the trail is difficult and I’m second guessing if I am on the trail or not, there’s poor visibility, and it seems like I walk for hours without seeing a blaze. It is very reassuring and comforting to see that white paint and know that I’m heading the right way.