Ok. So you’ve made it to Maine but this beast isn’t over yet. If I had any advice for a thru hiker it is this – don’t spend too much in the Whites because Maine wants to be noticed too. I attacked the Whites and tried to show her I could keep up my same pace. I may have won the battle but she took a chunk out of me for sure. I am in a bit of a recovery hole. I am getting some more sleep now but waking as tired as I went to bed. I’ve been here before with overtraining and I know what I need to do – slow the hell down.
Honestly, I think this is a little how you are supposed to feel after hiking over 1,900 miles so I’m not that concerned. Every hiker I talk to is pretty beat up. Our conversations have turned from how beautiful everything is to how we are managing our bug bite sores. Like it or not, we are struggling so it’s time to be extra kind to our bodies. Today was easier than yesterday but still really challenging, hot and buggy. This adventure still has some serious work for me.
I started the day with a steep climb up Baldplate and it looks a lot like Stone Mountain. The hike is a steep ascent up granite and the views are amazing from the top. It was a really clear day just after sunrise and I got some good video for you. The descent back into the valley was not that steep and then when I got to the other side there was actual Trail. The dirt kind! I hadn’t seen that since Vermont and it felt so good to stop pecking across boulders and settle into a nice pace on the soft path.
I stopped for lunch at a roaring river and waterfall and spend some time soaking in the cool water away from the bugs. Astronaut, Jellyfish, Fire and NC’Ice were pushing another 26 miles today trying to get done by July 4 but I have a few extra days so I shortened by day to 17 and got a room in tiny Andover. The Trail Angel at the Pine Ellis Inn is so sweet. Eileen is in her 80s and loves to have thru hikers stay at her house. She showed up with cold lemonade for me for the ride into town.
When I arrived, I ran into a crew of hikers that I had met in Gorham, NH and they are also slowing down so I am going to head out with them in the morning. They are a sweet bunch and one of them (Nasty Noodle) and I hiked the first two weeks of the Trail with. It’s funny how we have been so close all this time but had not seen each other until now. I think slowing down a bit will do the trick and I have a plan that should still get me to Katahdin by July 5/6. Just have to take the next days as they come and be kind to my body.