The Gateway to New England

The A.T. Guide-David Miller

This 2022 edition, The A.T. Guide  which is the most popular guidebook on the Appalachian Trail is part of my gear.    It was written by David Miller, a 2003 thru-hiker.  I have looked at this book every day for the past year.  On the trail I look at it at least 4 or 5 times a day.

In the morning before jumping on the trail,  I glance at it to set a daily agenda.  At nightfall I fumble through the pages with heavy eyelids, and  relive the miles completed throughout the day.

The AT was just a Dream at home

At first, I looked at this book  while sipping coffee in Maine on a comfy couch in 2021.  I would look at it and imagine hiking  14 states that consisted of rugged terrain and harsh weather.   I would think to myself, “Hmmmm that looks like it will be a hard day.”  Or “Wow Virginia is a long state, 550 miles!”, or  “Now that looks like a beautiful hike!”  At this point and time the trail was just a dream, and I was only living it through this guidebook.

March 10, 2022

Mile 1369.4 was a number I kept looking at while at home.  In the guidebook,  this number identified crossing the state line from New Jersey into New York.

After being on trail for four months, that number, 1369.4 miles has continued to be a focal point.  I am excited to say that my toes have seen that number come and go.

Last state before New England

I have been waiting for New York because it’s the last state to complete before crossing into New England.   Katahdin sits in New England and to me that feels as though a milestone has been reached.

New York Skyline and the Lemon Squeeze

New York, New York the place that never sleeps, unless of course you’re a thru hiker, then you’ll sleep anywhere.  I have slept in church parking lots, grassy fields, and remote wooded areas.  I think New York does sleep and that I am thankful for.

The terrain in New York  consists of quite a mixture.  I went from seeing the New York skyline, to  crossing the Hudson River, to cringing with foot pain from many ups and downs.  Though squeezing thru the infamous, “Lemon Squeeze” will have a place in my long term memory.

Entrance to the Lemon Squeeze

I was kind of dreading the Lemon Squeeze because I had heard it was tough to get thru.  It was narrow with high rock faces on each side. There was a rumor on the trail that some hikers had gotten stuck in the crevices of the rocks.

I have to admit throughout my hike that day I kept visualizing the “Lemon Squeeze”.  Thoughts such as;  “What if there’s snakes in there?”,  “What if I get stuck?”,  “How long will it take me to get thru it?”

I then started thinking how this section of the trail relates to my life.  I can imagine how hard or easy, or scary or nice something is.  Depending on my self- talk, either fear or calmness seems to take over.

“God is in control and therefore give thanks for everything” -kay Arthur

I realized that all these negative concerns were swirling in my head.  That is when I put a stop to it.  I just simply prayed for peace and confidence as I was hiking.  The “Squeeze” ended up being a breeze! As timing had it, I was able to watch others try to wiggle thru with focused faces on the task at hand.    Their struggle became my entertainment and made me laugh.   There is nothing better than a good ole belly laugh,  at someone else’s expense, of course.

State # 10 is Connecticut

Early morning coffee in Connecticut

As I crossed into Connecticut a weight was lifted of my shoulders.  First and foremost, no more rattlesnakes, or venomous snakes for that matter.  Next, I was excited to be able to think of Maine in a more reachable manner, which now includes only four more states.  I have done this 1500 hundred mile journey with states in mind, not miles.  2194.2 miles just seemed a bit too far, so from the beginning I’ve just been picking off states.  That was my head game since day one!

Early mornings have been one of my favorite times on the AT and Connecticut has continued to feed into my passion.  The rivers are more prevalent, which has allowed me to awake to rushing water while sipping on my gourmet, fresh out of the package, instant coffee??‍♀️.     The frequent sighting of  rivers often remind me of many canoe trips with family and friends down the Allagash River in Northern, Maine.

As I continue to prep myself for the next leg, I will continue to trust my Heavenly Father.  I will rely on Him  to pick me up when I am weak and laugh with me when I do stupid, silly things.

Thank you Connecticut for sharing all your beauty.  You were well worth every single mile!








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Comments 1

  • Jane Person : Jul 12th

    Hi Traci,
    Hubby and I are really enjoying your writing and experiences! We had never heard of the Lemon Squeeze- love your saying,” the squeeze was a breeze”.(can’t be overweight there!!)
    Would it be possible to take a picture for us?
    (and only if it’s on your way and not out of your way!)
    The highest point on the Vt. A.T., near Quechee,Vt.
    (This is where we started our honeymoon weeklong hike ,45 years ago!)
    If you don’t see the sign ,no worries.
    Best wishes and congratulations on reaching New England!!!


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