Town Vortex & HYOH (with a dog…)
I was sucked into my first town vortex. One zero day in Rangeley just didn’t feel like enough. The feeling of family at the Farmhouse Inn was too much to leave, so I decided to stay a week!
I know, I know. A waste of trail time, possibly money, and maybe effort from the previous weeks hiking. But honestly, I can’t bring myself to regret it. It was one of the best weeks I’ve had. I got to explore this perfect little Maine town, visit State Parks, swim in a FREEZING cold lake, gorge on hot dogs and ice cream and steak and hamburgers and s’mores, and god knows what else. Hopefully I’ll be able to visit again, and maybe even help them around for awhile. I really loved this place, I could have easily stayed all summer. Stacey and Shane, you were amazing and I’ll be back!!
Now, addressing H.Y.O.H with a dog.
It doesn’t work. You cannot hike your own hike, you have to hike your dogs hike. Everything I do, I first have to consider how it will affect Solomon. And I’m fine with that, I knew this would be the case going into the hike. However, our first real test came while at the Farmhouse inn.
A NOBO thru-hiker, Montana/Princess, became my second major trail angel. He listened to me vent about the trail and other problems, and he vented himself (it’s nice to know that you aren’t the only one who despises and loves the trail at the same time). He was also honest about the trail sections coming up. After seeing how difficult the trail can be in Maine, the past few weeks have consisted of me dreading hiking the southern portion of Maine and New Hampshire.
I want to hike it, I think it would be fun. Mahoosuc notch, the Whites, they all sound exciting and difficult.
But all I can think about is how difficult it would be for Solomon. How easy it would be for him to get hurt. I know that plenty of people have done these sections with dogs in the past, but I just was not at all comfortable with it.
After spending a good 30 minutes talking about my fears, Montana/Princess offered to drive me down to Hanover, NH, so I could start the trail at the NH/VT state line. He was visiting a friend near Boston and would be heading down this way anyways. We made it to Hanover after many wrong and missed turns, unnecessary u-turns, and just general bad driving. Apparently people from Montana don’t know how to pay attention to road signs(no offense, Princess!)
Even with that being the case, I can’t believe that he offered a complete stranger a ride through two states. But that’s just the way trail people are. Incredible, amazing, self sacrificing, helpful, all the good adjectives you can think of.
New plan(again…):Hike south from VT, and try to make it back up in time to hike the Whites and sections of Maine I missed in the fall. This probably makes me a Flip-Flopper now? Who knows. I’m trying to not think too much about it.
So I find myself here, sitting in a building on Dartmouth’s campus, waiting for the rain to slow down so that I can hit the trail. Once again I’m WAY ahead of the pack, and I’m reassuring myself that I’m not cheating. But I think it’s the best decision for Solomon and I.
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