Here I am laying in a plush, king size hotel bed and I can’t sleep. Figures. Hotels are great for showers and AC, but I’ve found I sleep much better in the woods. Yesterday Plug, Which Way and I pushed 25.7 miles into Manchester Center, VT. I miscalculated my food supply (or might just be eating more) and was a day short, so needed to get into town to resupply rather than waiting until the morning.
I am currently at mile marker 1653; yesterday we passed the 3/4 mark. Less than a quarter of the trail left as we enter into some of the most challenging miles. Even though it had only been about 4 days since my last shower (and longest I’ve gone without a shower is 9 days), coming into town yesterday was the grossest I’ve felt all trail. There has been a pretty tough heat wave, so the humidity and bugs have been a challenge.
We are starting to pass SOBOs (southbound thru-hikers who start in Maine), which makes the end of trail feel within reach. It’s hard to believe this adventure is nearing the end, but I know the last 3 states are some of the most challenging hiking. I try to not take a single day for granted or become complacent that Katahdin is any sort of guarantee. My boots I got back in Front Royal, VA are nearing their last straw, so I am hoping to get a new pair and a new (non-smelly) hiking outfit to last me to Katahdin before I hike out tomorrow.
Physically, the trail continues to wear on people. Even after this many miles, we are still pushing our bodies most every day. Blisters are reforming, we go to bed sore at the end of each day, the heat and humidity zap our energy, rocky terrain means risk of falling, mud makes for wet feet, and the constant flies trying to bury into your hair truly test your sanity. At this point though, the adrenaline and excitement to push through these final 3 states outweighs any physical pain.
Some highlights from CT, MA, and the beginning of VT:
Rabbit came out and hiked with me for 3 days!
Always thankful for the jugs of water trail angels leave along the way. Especially during this recent heat wave!
A picturesque sunset at Goose Island Pond. And the family running the cabin cooked us blueberry pancakes the next morning!
Plug and I invested in some Walmart dresses for town. (Pinoe the soccer ball is alive and well).
The climb up Stratton mountain was a Vermont highlight so far. The fire tower at the top had great views and the 3.4 mile climb was a steady challenge with beautiful terrain: fir trees, pine needles, moss, and sunlight glistening through the branches.
I’m craving some authentic maple syrup, so hopefully VT can provide 🙂