Week 7: The Whites, and Zeros with Grandma!
It has been a new kind of challenging this past week as I entered New Hampshire and, again, the mountains got bigger and rockier than anything I have experienced yet. It has also been incredibly beautiful!
Right now, the Presidentials are staring me in the face and it is supposed to rain and/or storm almost every day this coming week. Fortunately, I can stick the Presidentials on the back burner for the next few days because…
My grandma is visiting me!!!
She lives in northwestern PA and really wanted to come see me while I’m on the Trail. We were hoping it would be in Vermont somewhere, but I kept moving and before I knew it I was making my grandma drive to New Hampshire to see me. She is excited, though, and I am excited! It has given me something to look forward to.
Unfortunately, my body decided to complain about the lack of days off that I am giving it right now. I could have easily zeroed in Killington VT last weekend, but pushed on because the weather was nice and because I knew I would want to zero during my grandma’s visit. Tuesday and Wednesday this week I felt like my feet were hurting more and my body was just feeling worn down. It wasn’t like I was pushing huge miles, although I did hit NH, so things got more difficult. However, I kept telling my body it had to wait.
Well, then God kept me up until midnight Thursday night, I think so that I would decide to zero Friday instead of hiking 16 challenging miles in the pouring rain. Instead, I got to hang out at the hostel all day in my pajamas and watch movies and hang out with other hikers. Such a good life choice. Let God handle those; He is the best at it.
Hiker’s Welcome Hostel: definitely stay there! Odie and Tracy are doing a great job and are cool people! Also, Odie puts out the hiker yearbook, so you should definitely go to the website, http://hikeryearbook.com/ and submit your photos! And then buy the book when Odie puts it out. He uses all photos that hikers have taken along the Trail for the backgrounds and then has all photos of the hikers themselves in there. If Odie shuttles you anywhere, make sure you get him to give you his “You are royalty” speech! (Odie, if you are reading this, thanks for the bracelet! I made it over the Kinsmans.)
Moosilauke: Best Day So Far
Remember how in my last post I wrote about my most miserable day on the Trail? Well, this week I get to tell you about my best day on the Trail so far.
It all began with the decision to slackpack Moosilauke. I stayed at the Hiker’s Welcome Hostel. They will slackpack you over Moosilauke. It was a great decision, especially with how worn down my body had felt this week. I didn’t have to think about how heavy Sully is. (Sully is my backpack, which I named Sully because it is a blue monster like Sully from Monsters, Inc. Not a mean monster, but a monster nonetheless). As I stepped off the yellow shuttle bus and started off down the Trail, I felt invincible. I could climb anything. Suddenly I remembered that hiking can be fun. Even as I climbed the first two steep miles up Moosilauke southbound, I could enjoy the challenge. After the first two miles, where I was climbing stairs and steep rocks, the grade became less steep and the hiking easier. I marveled at the small trees as I got closer to the summit.
Suddenly, the trail left the trees altogether and the rock cairns marking the Trail were the tallest structures around. This kid from Ohio didn’t think about sunscreen, sunglasses, or a hat this morning, because, you know, what are bald mountains? I don’t know. Fortunately, it was a cool day. Actually, it was a gorgeous day: sunny, breezy, and 60s. Once I reached the summit, I turned around.
I was in awe.
I literally started tearing up. That’s how overwhelmed I felt by the beauty of it all. That God gave me a great climb to an incredible view on a perfect day. It was one of those moments. I was in love, with Moosilauke, with God.
The silence was worth noticing, too, only broken by the songs of birds and by the breeze. No airplanes, trains, lawn mowers, etc. Except for a group of fifty people up there (yep, fifty), I could have been the only person on earth.
I celebrated with a Snickers, the best way to reward yourself on the summit of a mountain. I spent a good amount of time up there, staring down the Presidential Range to the northeast.
It makes me nervous, especially because of the weather forecast right now. Do me and my fellow hikers a favor: pray for good weather. PLEASE. Thanks!
Zeros with Grandma!
I am so blessed that my grandma would drive such a long way to see me! We are enjoying a few days of relaxing and spending time together. Her and my mom collaborated to bring me a grocery store of food items: brownies, cookies, chocolate, chocolate milk, fruit, veggies, yogurt, etc. My mom sent along my favorite shirt and some different clothes to wear around instead of the clothes I have been wearing for two months (it’s not as bad as it sounds, I promise; they have been laundered from time to time.) They picked the best location for the motel we are staying at, because I could walk to it from the Trail. We found a church to go to this morning and then went out for pancakes! My favorite off-trail food so far. Last night we drove halfway to Maine looking for moose (didn’t see any). Now I am sorting through food and gear and attempting to plan (ha).
It was the perfect time for a few days off; my body can rest before the remainder of the Whites and maybe the weather forecast will improve when I hit the Trail again.
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