Stretch—Day 118 to 128
Day 118: 6.8 mi (1897.8)
The day started out lazy at the White Mountain Hostel. We stayed until noon and planned to do 12 miles out to the shelter. It would have been a good zero day because of impending rain but I had just zeroed. After hiking out the rain became unbearable with the cold wind. Even after layering up on wet clothes I was still freezing and had been falling on the wet rock. My pole even broke on one good fall. I saw that Backtrack decided to stop at the first campsite so I ducked in there as well and we hung out for the rest of the night.
Day 119: 14.5 mi (1912.3)
I made my way out of camp excited that I planned a short day. I figured my body would love the break and mentally it would be good for my crumbling spirit. This day was not what I expected. It turned into my most difficult day on the trail mentally and possibly physically. I started before 8AM and finished at 8:30PM. There were abrupt ups and downs along with rock climbs, some more rain to keep my socks wet and slippery slopes to fall down. I was drained before this and it took the rest out of me. When I finally made it to the shelter I was depleted, hungry and in need of rest. I looked around and it was apparent the tent sites were all taken so I asked if space could be made for me in the shelter. The shelter fit 12 but only had 10 spread out but some section hikers, while cooperating, were making it clear they didn’t want move over by being extremely slow about it and making excuses why they couldn’t move someone else’s things a foot to the right while he got water. I was in one of the worst mental and physical states that I’ve been on the whole hike and just wanted to get rest. Being upset, I decided to just tent in a crummy spot down a hill. My tent was wet from the rain the night before and I was so drained that I was too tired to cook so I crawled into my tent without eating dinner and slept in a puddle. Everything hit me all at once and I cried myself to sleep. Definitely the worst night of the trail.
Day 120: 15.5 mi (1927.8)
The next day didn’t start out and better. The night was cold and my tent got hit with so much wind that it blew one of the stakes out, leaving a wet tent to lay right on me. I was too cold to get much sleep and most likely that was made much worst by not eating. I cooked myself breakfast and packed up my still wet tent and was able to get an early start. Just by chance I started at the same time as Backtrack, Towanda and Timex but I was immediately left in the dust. Mentally I was not feeling much better than the night before but I just kept my feet moving. I went through Mohousic Notch early in the day. Somehow I didn’t look ahead in my book or hear about this spot before I went through it. It’s the hardest mile of the trail. A 1.3 mile boulder field with tight squeezes. I was miserable and cried through most of it because I was still completely drained, in pain and honestly upset that I was so miserable in a spot that looked like it could have been really fun at a different time. It took me 2 hours to go through and afterward I heard it took others 30 minutes. I was starting to feel like I was losing all my hiking abilities and my confidence sunk. I made it to the shelter after the notch and my friends were still taking a break there. I was still in an awful mood so I pushed on after a short break. I made my way to a lookout tower .3 mile off the trail and it wasn’t until I saw the incredible view that I started to feel a little better. I made my way down the mountain and I was stopped by a SOBO. He was hiking back Slacktime’s trekking pole to me, she had the same poles as me and also broke her other pole around the same time I did. She was getting off the trail and wanted to send back some magic on her way out. I’m definitely grateful she thought of me even when she had to make the hard decision to end her hike. After I made it to the parking lot I met another thru hiker Michelangelo, who gave me a beer and then I made my way with Towanda and Timex to the next shelter for a shorter day. When I made it to the shelter, Towanda, who had gotten ahead was no where to be found. Timex and I were a bit confused and decided to eat dinner and see if she passed the side trail and made it to the next shelter. I was happy we ate dinner prior since we got to the next shelter at dark. We found Towanda as well as Backtrack at the next shelter so it worked out.
Day 121: 4.5 mi (1923.3)
Backtrack decided to celebrate his birthday a day early so we could celebrate in town so we made our way to Andover. We stayed at an okay hostel, relaxed and had some beer bonding.
$25 hostel, $8 shuttle, $8 beer, $15 resupply, $15 food
Day 122: 12.9 mi (1945.2)
In the morning we made our way back to the trail with a beer in our packs for further celebration. Backtrack immediately decided he didn’t want to do that many miles and we were all great with that. The plan changed to camp on top of Old Blue and see if we could see some remnants of the meteor shower. There wasn’t a lot of space on top so Backtrack set up his tarp and we squeezed under it. A rainstorm briefly rolled in but we could see the rest of it for miles and had a pretty amazing lightning show and sunset. It got even better after the sun went down and we could see every star in the sky. We hung out with Michelangelo and Finch talking while the sky lit up.
Day 123: 14.2 mi (1959.4)
I woke up to the wind blowing my ground cover at me and the tarp splashing water into my face. People who rely on tarps obviously don’t mind being uncomfortable all the time.
After making my way to the road I met up with two friends from home that were in the area for vacation. It was really nice to see them and hike a few miles with them and their dogs. They were so sweet and brought food for my friends and I as well as some beer. Again, I was really sad to see them go. I made my way to Sabbath Pond Lean-To and spent some time at the beach afterward to cheer up.
Day 124: 11.2 mi (1970.6)
We hiked a short day into Rangeley to resupply and get some food. Finding a hitch was easy and the Farmhouse let us stay and hang out after we were done in town which was very nice. Lately I feel like I’m always tired and the rest on a couch was nice. I was happy to get Towanda hooked on Game of Thrones and to re watch the first few episodes. After meeting so many new people, even really nice people, I tend to feel very drained and at the Farmhouse it was no exception. There was a man who squatted right in front of the show we were watching, asking the dreaded same few questions when all my exhausted self wanted to do was melt into the couch.
$1.25 laundry, $38 resupply, $12 food
Day 125: 16.9 mi (1987.5)
We had stayed at Piazza Rock and in the morning we tried to check out the cave and boulder side trails. We either couldn’t figure it out or it ended up being a little bit disappointing. We made our way to Spaulding with a few good streams to relax by and then some smooth trail to get some speed on.
Day 126: 13.5 mi (2001)
We walked right back into a town to say goodbye to Timex, who had been section hiking with us. On our way into town there was a rough downhill and the 2000 mile marker. It’s surreal to think of this coming to a close. We got a room at the motel in town, the group of us had a nice dinner and stayed up chatting.
$20 motel, $15 resupply, $10 food
Day 127: 5.1 mi (2006.1)
We said goodbye to Timex and shuttled back to the trail. The day started with a big mountain and because of a night of little sleep, a few nights actually, I was exhausted by our first 5 miles in. I made the joke that we should just stay at that shelter and was serious at the same time. After a little discussion and some coin flips we decided on a nero out of town. I used the time to take a 3 hour nap and we stayed up talking as well.
Day 128: 17.9 mi (2024)
The nap and short day were exactly what I needed to start to feel like a hiker again. I had some energy for the Bigelows, saw some hikers that I hadn’t seen in months who had flip-flopped and even had time to relax. We got to West Carry Pond and it was beautiful and even caught back up with Meatstick.
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