AT 2022 – Day 39: 14.2 miles (423.9 miles total)

I can tell that it’s getting lighter later each morning.

Out neighbors the beaver, loon, and kingfisher were active early…the loon belting out it’s forlorn cry right in front of our camp…not a bad way to wake up actually.

It was a two cup morning…and even though I combined it with terrain that was super easy and dreamy compared to what we’ve been hiking, I felt slow all day. I wonder if it’s the residue of all that effort it took to hike the previous 400 miles. It’s as if I need some adjustment time to the new speed of things. Now I can truly hike three miles an hour; it’s a complete 180 change, and I have trail whiplash today.

The nobos started passing with increasing frequency today, and by the end I think at least 30 had passed us, maybe 40! So many nobos, no sobos today. We even met a forest service ranger who said we were the only sobos he had seen all day, the big bunch I’ve been hiking around must be right behind me.

Oh, I almost forgot the most exciting part of the whole day! Nemo and I had just taken a break by a creek when we climbed up to the road for a short road walk and found a couple setting up an awning and table…as we walked up they yelled, “trail magic!” and we met Trail Magic Mama and The Greatest State.

This very generous couple lived in New Hampshire and had scouted out this section of trail as the perfect one to give trail magic to hikers. They had been visiting this spot for five years to feed us…in fact The Greatest State (TGS) had hiked the trail before and was section hiking it this year. Trail Magic Mama explained that TGS had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, and they knew they had to get back on the trail while they still could. The plan was for TGS to hike a section of the trail in each state of the AT this summer, and she would meet him at road crossings and be his support vehicle. This was their one day at the home trail magic spot for the summer as they prepared for the next section. I was very moved. Our family is very familiar with dementia and how it flips the script on everything. I really enjoyed the giant donuts and iced coffee they gave us, but even more, I enjoyed hearing their story. Who knows, maybe I’ll see them again in the few weeks I have left!

Few weeks!?!?! 😭

Nemo said something yesterday about having two weeks left out here, and I said, “no, it’s more like three!” But she was right.

I am definitely not in the mindset to want to do the whole AT and spend five months out here. I only set out to hike for two months, and that’s a plan I’m happy with, but the floor of my stomach dropped when I realized in two weeks the hike will be over. Ahhhhhh, now that seems too soon. I’m just getting to “trail” trail, you know, dirt-fast-hiking-trail-stuff!

Everything is change.

But, another highlight of the day was hearing that Carrie (Anonymous) finished her 500-mile section hike on the AT!! Congrats πŸŽ‰ πŸ™Œ πŸ‘! Did I tell you that I took Carrie on her first backpacking trip last summer? 4 miles round trip, and here she is on her second backpacking trip pulling a 500-mile section! So impressive!!! AND I was close to passing #2 Pencil. Carrie is now up visiting him on trail, and I would see them both in the next week. We are cooking up plans for a big rendezvous, so exciting. And NEMO and Carrie will get a chance to meet…two of the most important people in my life coming together on trail…I’m all smiles.

We still don’t know when or if I’ll take any time off soon. I’ve had a few short days out here, but no day off since Stratton, Maine…21 days ago! I wanted to stay in Hanover, but we’ll be getting there on the weekend and the hostels and hotels are either full or cost waaay more money than we want to spend on a room. We are going to have to hikertrash it up in town and find a way…my lovely Cindy (Average Joe, my hiking partner on the 2002 AT hike) sent me a gift card for a massage in Hanover. If I can manage to book an appointment last minute, I hope I can show up showered…that would be most unfortunate for the masseuse if not…

Back to the logistics…being in the nobo and sobo bubble and getting to a tourist and college town on the weekend in summer certainly is a difficult combination to manage, but the trail provides, and you have to just go with the flow, one of the most powerful lessons in long distance hiking. As Andy (CDT hiker) said, “I’m going to go ahead and not worry about it.” (One of my favorite pieces of trail wisdom ever).

Hike what is in front of you. That’s all you can do.

We make it over 14 miles before making camp. I usually don’t know how far I’m going to hike in a day…today was solid!

3 thoughts on “AT 2022 – Day 39: 14.2 miles (423.9 miles total)

  1. This β€” β€œHike what is in front of you. That’s all you can do.” β€” is an awesome quote! It’s every bit as wise as β€œI’m going to go ahead and not worry about it.” They both might need to find a place on my bathroom wall, where important words get read every day.

    Liked by 1 person

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