Maine: the end is near
This is probably my last post before finishing the trail. Sounds weird to say that, but we’re less than 200 miles from the finish line and heading into the lands of no cell phone service. It’s hard to believe, but we’re 2,000 miles in!
Days on trail: 131
Total miles: 2000.9
Current location: Stratton, ME
My last post was right before entering the White Mountains. People had been hyping the Whites pretty much the entire hike- the difficulty, the views, the AMC huts. And the hype was true, the Whites were definitely our favorite part of the trail terrain wise. They were gorgeous and we love hiking above treeline.
It wasn’t until about halfway through the Whites that we started hearing some SOBOs talk about southern Maine. We heard ominous things like “don’t underestimate it” but no specifics about what to expect.
I get it now. Our introduction to Maine came with two days of rain and wind. Southern Maine features steep climbs and descents over slick slabs of rock and open alpine terrain at the top of many of the mountains. Navigating this in foul weather was difficult, but we still enjoyed the walk for the most part.
It stopped raining. So that’s good. But the trail did not recover immediately. The next days were slogging through inches of water and shoe-grabbing mud for the majority of the day. My feet are in worse shape now than ever on the hike from walking in wet shoes and socks all day. I don’t think Limbo and I are alone in feeling a little discouraged by this. Climbing up Mahoosic Arm, we rounded a corner just in time to see a SOBO throwing her hands up and yelling “WHY GOD, WHY?!”. I have so much respect for Southbounders after hiking in Maine; they are hiking what I consider the most frustrating terrain as the introduction to their hike.
Maybe it was inevitable, or maybe it was just the crappy conditions we dealt with the first few days, but either way my attitude about the hike has changed. I used to get misty eyed thinking about finishing the hike. We used to joke that when we got to this point we would hike two steps forward and one step back to prolong the hike. Now, I’m ready to greet the end. This is not too say I’m going to wish away the last days. We’re going to continue to go a comfortable pace and take advantage of long breaks at a nice view or an inviting swimming hole. It’s just that I’m at peace with the fact the hike is almost over and ready to see what the next adventure is. Hopefully my next post will be from the other side!
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