Take It to the Limit

Testing my boundaries of what I can do

I made it to Maine! Which means I’m almost 1/2 way through my thru-hike. The Whites and Maine have been physically challenging, but also emotionally and psychologically challenging. I am feeling very fit these days and see muscle definition that I don’t think I’ve ever had – not even when I was running marathons.

Overcoming obstacles

That said, almost every day I say to myself, “How am I supposed to do THAT???” I am often reminded of my dad saying, “If you don’t fall sometimes, you aren’t pushing yourself to the limits of what you can do.” Usually, this was in reference to skiing. He wanted me to try more challenging slopes, even if I was afraid. If you stay in your comfort zone, you don’t know what you are capable of.

I think those lessons apply with this hike, too. In the pic above, I was climbing down and couldn’t figure out how to safely get down from one boulder to the next. I ended up taking my pack off, sitting on the boulder for a few minutes and sipping on water when it occurred to me I could tie my paracord to my pack handle and lower it down before me. Then I could climb down more confidently. It worked!  This was the first time I had to take my pack off on this hike. But it wasn’t the last!

A little help from my friends

A few days later, I was climbing through Mahoosuc Notch with Thunderdome and Genesis, pictured above. As much as I love solo hiking, it was so much fun to hike through the maze together. It was also really helpful to be able to recon and strategize different options for each obstacle. Sometimes, we took our packs off to get through tight squeezes, like in the cover picture. Other times, we gave a hand up, a push from behind, or steadied a slipping foot.

Genesis and I stuck together the next day and worked together to get up Mahoosuc Arm and then Old Speck. We got dinner in town together before he left for the holiday weekend. I am enjoying my solo hike again, but I find I miss hiking with these guys, too.

The pay-off

This trail is amazing, but definitely not for the faint of heart! Not only do we get ladders made from various materials, we also have those steep climbs, cliff edges, trail that is no more than a log bolted to the mountain, slippery boulder slabs, and so.many.rocks! The times we have smooth, level dirt trail are blessed respites from the challenges. It would be a boring nature walk if the whole 2,194 were easy. Instead, we have the challenges, as well as the flora and fauna that we can’t find in our backyards. And the views! Oh, the views!  I keep saying to myself, “I GET to do this!”

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