The Flip Side: Becoming a SOBO
The Final Days (Kind Of)
The last few days of my Long Trail thru-hike were the most relaxed I think I’ve ever been on a thru-hike. I knew my ride from the terminus was going to be there on the 18th, so I slowed way down to match up with that schedule. I planned on spending a day in Montgomery that would be an in and out to get some chores done.
The road I planned on hitching into Montgomery from looked like a big road on the map. It was a state route that looked the exact same as any other big road I had crossed. When I got there, I realized it was a dirt road. My heart sank, as hopes for a hitch went down the drain, and I started walking. Surprisingly, the first car that I saw driving toward town stopped and picked me up! I had just as much luck on my way back out. Getting a hitch on this dirt road proved to be easier than getting a hitch into Manchester Center.
In addition to my easy town day, my last day on the LT was only four miles. I walked slowly that morning, toward the inevitable end. When I arrived, it was a different bundle of emotions as when I finished the AT. The excitement was all there, but the fear? The fear was not. Not only did I know I wasn’t done hiking just yet, I also knew the hiking community would never be too far removed from my life.
North End to North End
I took some time at the border to reflect on how much my life has changed in the past 23 days. My future plans are no longer as solid as they once were. Newer, bigger opportunities have presented themselves and completely shaken up my world, in more ways than one. I’m not quite ready to divulge the details yet, but life looks a lot better than it did at the end of August.
That half hour of peace that I got at the border was short-lived. Peregrine (AT ’17) arrived to hike down with me and drive Patch and me to the Northern Terminus of the Cohos Trail. We scooped Patch, got food, and were on our way.
Even More New Territory
The Cohos Trail has so far been vastly different than a better-traveled trail like the LT or AT. The hiking trails are very young, but blazed incredibly well. It is not impossible to get lost, but you definitely have to pay attention. So far, lots of the trail have been on snowmobile or ATV trails. It’s been four days and I’ve seen three other people out hiking.
I’m also a person who has lived in New Hampshire my whole life. Yet I’ve never seen the places I’m hiking through day after day. Northern New Hampshire used to mean North Conway to me. Now, it’s Pittsburg and Errol. Widening my horizons even within my home state, I feel like a small child discovering the backyard of her new home.
Making my way south toward Bartlett, I am both excited and ready for it to be done. I want to keep exploring the North Woods of New Hampshire, I want to know places like the Nash Stream Forest. I’m also looking forward to taking “trail me” and planting her back into society. Since being back on trail, I can feel that my attitude and perspective have shifted. I believe that being on trail makes me a better version of me, and I’m excited to be that person again for the rest of the world.
If you want to follow along on my journey, you can find me on Instagram at the.spitfire or shoot me an email at [email protected]!
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