Maine is the Tony Perkis of the AT
All right, y’all, I’m out of Maine, the Tony Perkis of the AT. I call it Tony Perkis because it whips you into shape by basically handing you your ass. “Congratulations, Mr. Simms. You’re the fattest boy in camp.”
A hiker called Miss America said to me about Maine, “She’s doing us a favor. She’s toughening us up.” Maine has really been a rough experience for me, and I am so excited to be out. The last 30 miles were the hardest, including Mahoosuc Notch, which people say is the hardest mile of the AT. The day I went through the notch, I had only planned a ten-mile day until I heard it was going to rain. I thought, “Ain’t no way I’m going down Mahoosuc Arm in the rain,” so I hoofed it to the arm and descended. When I reached the bottom, the sun was still shining, so I decided to do the notch before the rain came. The rain started right as I was finishing the notch, and then I walked up to the shelter (which turned out to be over the top of a bald mountain) in the rain. A long, tough, 15-mile day.
The next day, I had five miles to go before I would reach the ME-NH border. The terrain was rugged, it rained all morning, and my shoes sloshed with every step. When I crossed the border and entered New Hampshire, the sun came out, proving Maine is an evil place. Two NOBOs with red beards gave me high fives and said, “Congratulations on finishing your first state! Welcome to New Hampshire!” I said, “Hey, thanks!” then as soon as I turned the corner, I burst into tears. It had been not only a rough, wet morning but a rough, wet three weeks, and I really needed those high fives. I was really touched by their encouragement, and I was doubly touched when another NOBO welcomed me to New Hampshire about five minutes later. Even when I’m having the worst day, the people out here are so nice. I wish people would do that off the trail. For example, I wish someone would approach me in a grocery store parking lot, give me a high five, and say, “Congratulations! You walked from the farthest parking spot!” Wait, no. That would be weird.
Now I’m safely in Gorham, New Hampshire, and yesterday I literally ate so much Chinese food for lunch I made myself sick. Then I ate a pint of my favorite Ben and Jerry’s, Half Baked, for dinner. So yesterday was a good day. Today I slackpacked 21 miles from Pinkham Notch back to Gorham with Pickles and Spot. We did it Northbound, which was weird because we kept running into NOBOs and they would look at us like, “Who are you? I’ve never seen you before!” and we would explain that we’re going south, and they would say, “Um…you’re confused. You’re traveling North.” And now I’m about to pay a ridiculous delivery fee for pizza, and I’m sure it will be worth every penny. I think tomorrow is Mount Washington…I should figure that out. But for now, I need a good ole rest. P.S. I highly recommend the White Mountains hostel in Gorham. The breakfast was amazing. And there are three giant David Hasselhoff posters in my room. What more could you need? P.P.S. Please enjoy this picture of me with a moose.
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