I am eating eggs with chicken and bacon in a tortilla as I write this to y’all, and sitting crosslegged with my down sleeping bag over my lap, which my knee does not like because it has become angry at the mountains in New Hampshire. It is odd; because the others are figuring out what they’ll do after the trail is over, and here we have barely even started. What even is this trail??
Let it be known that I did not want to cook anything tonight. Also let it be known that my knee hurts like the dickens. Also let it be known, hear ye, hear ye, I did stub my toes for the FIRST TIME painfully today, which is great because back at the beginning of Vermont, hundreds of miles ago, I changed from the smooth-soled broken-upon-Pennsylvania-rocks pair of shoes that I loved so much to these hooligans:
….which are heavier, clunkier, have better traction, and (much like your grandfather’s axe) get free repairs in perpetuity when I destroy their straps or soles and send them back to the company for repairs. So let it be. Until winter, that is…
This has added variety and spice to my hiker existence, because people no longer ask if I am hiking alone. I get fewer comments on the quality of my hike (which is a personal problem alright) and more comments on my shoes, which are far less personal and close to my heart. I am delighted by this. They say things like, “YOU HIKE IN SANDALS???” and then I say things such as, “You must be hallucinating my good sir,” and then walk off up the mountain and trip on a rock. Good things all around.
Now, this next topic is a little hard to address.
This country is full of rocks. Does that trail look straight up to you? It should. It is. Very hard.
I will tell you, my peoples… I did not expect to get through New Hampshire so fast. “Expect your mileage to drop by half,” they said. “It’s ok if you go slowly,” they said. Well already we are quite slow…. but I haven’t had so much fun on this trail since we were getting dripped on through the Smokies. More, actually. So much more.
Imagine you, clambering delightedly straight up that rocky knoll you found when you were a kid. Now… multiply the elevations by a thousand or so, make it 96 miles long, and carry everything you own on your back.
So mebbe I hiked 21 miles one day and then another 19 the next, which is faster than I have done in months and it was almost another 21 but there was this beaver pond and nice campsite and 19 miles it is, so. These mountains are hard. I am so happy. I was going so slow before I hit this area, and now it is much, much more. My folks this is so much fun almost cannot handle it. Almost.
In other news, the newest game I play is pretending that I put my sandals on to go for a walk by the river and someone pointed me up this trail, there are huge piles of rocks everywhere and it feels like I’ve been hiking for forever and there is still no river, please help, WHY ARE THERE SO MANY ROCKS OH LORD
Most people do not believe me. I love this trail. I will drink my tea.
Love, sorry I am out of communication so much,
yer buddeh Sail. See y’all in Maine!
P.S. I was walking by some ferns one day, and saw what looked like a bit of white paper sticking onto the undersides of the leaves. I kept walking… then I turned around, walked back, flipped the leaves over, and found this.
Happy trails, my people, and don’t forget to stop and breathe every now and then. It’s how we win. (Errybody likes winning. Errybody.) ❤ ❤
P.P.S. Also, I have no picture for you, but sister and 15-month-old niece came out and climbed a mountain with me for two days. Sister: “We’re what. We are climbing uphill for ten miles. What.” You chose this, hapless sister. You chose this.
Let it be known that at multiple points, I was carrying my things and her things in my pack, she was using my hiking stick, and I had the baby in my arms while she used my hiking stick and carried an empty baby carrier while climbing up the mountain. I am obviously the superior sister. Never mind her graduating with two advanced degrees from Yale a month ago while raising a child and being a nurse. All of that is irrelevant.
…I guess my sister is cool sometimes. Also, her baby is cute. Check out AT thru-hiker Amanda Bess on YouTube in a few weeks and you’ll get to see them both. (Also a legit human, also really cool.) There are so many amazing people out here, folks, and they are all wonderful. Humans are great. I avoid them a lot by hiding in the woods. But they’re awesome sometimes.