Week 20: The One Where I Hiked the Whites
The White Mountains of New Hampshire are often spoken of in foreboding whispers, especially among hikers who have already hiked through the Smokies, arguably the most difficult section of the South. “Oh, you think is difficult? Just wait until you hit the Whites.” However when asked why, you often receive a a wry smile and a, “Just wait and see.” So needless to say I was like totes excited for my own attempt to hike them.
Let me just say, I tend to not learn from my mistakes. “Oh, binge eating and then hiking right away doesn’t work out well for me? Well let’s do that again and again and again.” Thru hiking is a license to binge eat, something I fear losing when I return back to the real world. Eating food in normal amounts? Shudder. However, I digress. Where I meant to go is that I often underestimate the trail. I become complacent, almost comfortable, with the trail. And then as if reading my mind, the trail throws you a zinger. In this case, the Whites, and more specifically the 18 miles from Kinsman to Franconia Notch. I was wholly unprepared. While Mt Moosilake is often spoken of as challenging, it was doable. So doable, we (Jingle, Sweets, and I) thought 18 miles was totally fine. While achieved, I was both physically and mentally exhausted. Fortunately there was a town day in the cards before attempting the rest of the Whites.
However, again I realize I’m getting ahead of myself. I haven’t posted since Hanover, NH Seems that a photo montage is in order to get the team up to where I’m at.
The Whites have been epic. Epically difficult. Epically beautiful. Just when I think surely those maniacal trail planners can’t devise anything worse. Worse comes. Rock climbs straight up. Steep slick slabs of rocks. Ridge line with no direct path and rocks everywhere. Did I mention just rocks? Rocks everywhere. All types of rock. Guess New Hampshire is called the granite state for a reason. And yet the views are stellar. Photos only skim the surface. I took a picture to show how terrible the trail is, and afterward was struck with the beauty. It’s interesting how we can get so bogged down in our problems that you ignore the magnificence around. Time for more photos.
I have more pictures however it’s taken ALL night to load these.
Continuing the thread where I underestimate the trail before me, the trail coming from down from Mt Washington and then Mt Madison’s summit kicked my butt. I was prepared for climbing up and down rocks. However, a great thing about the AT is that it’s well-marked. However in this section it’s just rocks and cairns. You make your own trail, which some people like. I, on the other hand, do not. After hours of feeling betrayed by the AT I fell. Sitting on the trail I felt the tears coming. I was so angry and so frustrated. Stupid trail. However, I got up, ate a snack and kept hiking because that’s what hikers do. We hike. Food also makes crises better.
Today I woke up in Gorham, NH. Less than 300 miles separate me from Katahdin and just 18 from the New Hampshire-Maine border. It’s surreal that I’m so close to finishing. I dream of things I’m going to throw away in my pack when I’m done. August 25. Mark it in your calendar and think of me.
As always I would like to send a huge thanks to The Mother and Debbie that went with her to get me new shoes in a frenzy and Ms Mercer. I would also like to take a moment to send positive thoughts and prayers to Gwen Fulton. One of my biggest supporters, she had a brain aneurysm last week.
Love can be mailed to:
Molly Bybee; c/o Shaws Lodging; 17 Pleasant Street; Monson, ME 04464; Please hold for AT hiker; ETA 08/18
This is right before the 100 mile wilderness
Or my final destination
Molly Bybee; General Delivery; Millenocket, ME
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