Monday, 8/3

AT Miles = 19.9 / 1710.3
Other Miles = 0.2 / 54.3
Total Miles = 20.1 / 1753.7

Miles to Katahdin = 468.0

Whew! Up, down, repeat ad nauseum. That was today's hike. I haven't had to climb like this since I don't know when. I am tired tonight in a way I haven't been tired since probably back in the Smokies.

One might think that since the trail left the crest of the Green Mountains and turned east towards the Connecticut River, the trail would be gradually descending down to the river valley. Well if one did think that, one would be very stupid. There are multiple ridges to the Green Mountains, and the trail has to climb up and over every one of them before it gets to the river.

Most of these climbs were really steep, and many of them were quite long. And it's not like there is a reward for climbing; maybe a nice view with a sunny spot to sit and rest and appreciate it. Oh, no. This is Vermon t. You climb in the trees. You summit in the trees. You descend in the trees.

I got a late start today, and even though I hiked flat out, it took me from 9:00AM until 6:00PM to cover the twenty miles. And it absolutelt kicked my butt! Tomorrow's hike will be a little bit longer, and I hope my legs recover enough over night to be able to do it.

It's not that I think 20 miles is the perfect distance for a day's hike or anything. Rather, it works out this way because the shelters / campsites in this area are spaced about 10 miles apart, and 10 miles is too short a day so the days end up being 20 miles by default.

I am sharing the campsite tonight with a woman and her son. She started section hiking last summer and is now on her third ever backpacking trip, while this is her son's first ever trip.

Oh, a first today! I met, on the trail, an actual United States Forest Service Ranger. In 1700 miles he is the only USFS or NPS employee I've met out on the trail. I've seen plenty in frontcountry settings, but never in the backcountry.

You might have noticed that I passed the 1700 mile mark today, and I have well under 500 miles to go. I told someone today that I wished the trail were 500 miles shorter, as then I would be done and back home now.

Hiking isn't all misery or anything like that, but it hasn't been fun for quite a while either. I hope it becomes fun again.

Oh, I almost forgot. I spent about 35 minutes on the phone with someone at Osprey this morning, and they are supposed to be shipping the part needed to fix my backpack to the EMS store in Lebanon, NH by Wednesday. I will be in Haanover on Wednesday, and if the stars align correctly Jodi will be meeting me there, so then we can drive over to Lebanon and get my pack fixed. If Jodi does meet me, I will likely take a zero day on Thursday.

"Home is where I hang my food bag"

Allen Freeman