Summits, Sunsets, and Switchbacks
Franconia Ridge. Here, there be fairies
The ridgeline is so stark and sharp, cutting into the sky with no qualms about whether or not it has a right to be so high up there. As a SOBO, this was really the last hoorah of the White Mountains, and it was a good one. There is just something truly special about hiking above treeline. When it comes down to it, you are just putting one foot in front of the other like at any other point on the trail, but in those moments you feel the majesty of the situation so distinctly that it’s as if the miles do not even count against your poor feet.
Speaking of my feet, they are some damn troupers
I have started walking quite a bit more miles since leaving the White Mountains. Our whole group did a 21-mile day together to get to Smarts Mountain, where there is a fire tower, because we wanted to see the sunset. It was a really good one too.
We listened to and sang The Circle of Life, deliriously tired and sore to the bone, in this sketchy wooden box way up in the sky in the middle of nowhere, New Hampshire. It really looked like a movie scene. Also, I enjoyed the graffiti.
You see a lot of this poem on the trail, and it’s fitting. The day after doing 21 miles, I was just really feeling good, and did an almost 24-mile day to get into Hanover, NH. I rewarded myself by spending 24 full hours in a luxurious room at a Hilton. It was much needed. (Thank you, Ron!)
Since, the hills and woods of Vermont have been a very welcome change
The trail is a bed of pine needles, with gentle switchbacks to get you up the tougher ascents. Not like Maine or New Hampshire at all. It will be interesting to see how the trail itself changes as I get farther south. Also, in my third state! Hell yes! Vermont is trail famous for mud, but have not had that experience yet. There is a privately owned cabin just off the trail that is open to thru-hikers. It’s called The Lookout. It’s totally enclosed, which is not standard for hiker shelters, and there is a ladder up to a viewing platform on the roof that offers 360-degree views. We could see rain coming in on either side of us, and a sunset in between. We had to carry a bunch of water up to it, which is always exhausting, but finding badass places like this to lay my head at night is one of the coolest aspects of trail life.
Today, in Rutland, VT, Toes, Pale Ale, and I dropped in on a hot yoga class and are feeling rejuvenated for a huge mile day tomorrow. We are staying at the Yellow Deli and slackpacking with the bus system, which is really nice. The “vortex,” which is what we call the draw to stay in town and take zeros, is strong here.
Summits, sunsets, and switchbacks. Oh, and sore feet. It’s been an amazing week.
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