It rained most of the night, but we woke to clear skies. The trek to the kitchen area and privy was a long one….I dropped things and slid around in the mud on my way there and back…a foreshadowing for sure.
It was still darkish when NEMO and I made our coffee; we would really need to fortify ourselves for the day ahead. You see we are still in New Hampshire, and the hard bits of trail were all around us. Several notable hard days were the next two. Welcome back to the AT NEMO! Let’s do the hard stuff first. She had a good attitude about it, and really, she was faster than me for much of the day….she always has been a fast hiker.
We make the first big climb up to Kinsman Mountain North and found the cloud was back. No views today.
No matter, we continued on to Kinsman South and took a snack break. Actually we snacked on North too, we need to snack all the time to make a dent in these food bags.
We meet a few nobos who tell harrowing tales of the next section…the one they just climbed and we had to descend. Others had told me about this section too…you know it’s notable when this descent is a topic of conversation off trail.
It goes down the quickest way it can: straight. The rain soaked everything and added another layer of terrifying, “will my knees hold out, or will my feet slip out from under me?” to the morning.
We finally leveled out and surveyed the damage. Still walking…so that means we go on.
We pass nobos throughout the day, and they have a glazed daze on their faces. It’s the look of exhaustion that started hours ago.
I’m sorry poor NEMO for bringing you to this for your first day! But really, most days are like this…some say Vermont will be flatish in comparison. They whisper this to each other, hoping it will be true. Sobo hikers get their feet held to the fire on the AT, if they can withstand the heat, pain, and struggle of the Northern 450 miles, they can withstand anything.
Ok, maybe I’m being a little dramatic here, but it’s kind of true.
Back to it!
The hiking gets nice in places, it does! Rolling dirt trails with only the occasional root or rock. I start to dream of 20 mile days….could they be possible some time soon?
We finally roll down to the next notch (this one is called Kinsman), and find a trail head where there are rumored to be trash cans (a VERY big deal when you are out here) and a voice calls, “Trail Magic!”
NEMO and I look at each other wide wide eyes. “Oh baby!!” I think. We walk over to find Stiches, a 1999 thru-hiker, who brought a table full of treats. I crack a warm root bear open (have I told you that cold root beer is my all-time favorite trail fantasy drink? Warm root beer is my third favorite…the second being a cold beer of course) and soon I was eating cookies and enjoying the other hikertrash.
After a bit we thought about trying to make camp before the next storm arrived (this afternoon? Evening? Night? The forecast is rain almost every day for the next week…) and thrn we stumble up the next section of trail until it starts to go up, then find a nook to set up in.
What sweet relief.
We hiked just over 11 miles today, and it took all day.
Tomorrow would be harder.
I love you NEMO! Thanks for doing this with me! 🥰
My Peace Corps calendar tells me that today (Aug 14) is the anniversary of the opening of the AT in 1937!
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