Friday, September 9, 2016


I've made it to Maine! I've been fortunate to visit Northern Maine every summer of my life to spend a week on the lake at a family camp. I've always known the beauty Maine has to offer: rolling hills, farmlands, woods, moose, bears, loons, and most special to me, the lakes. The trail so far in Maine is very similar to everything I've known. I saw a black bear the other day, am still waiting to see a moose, and with the countless lakes and ponds I've walked along I've even seen a few loons and heard their songs! The hiking in the southern part of the state was just as tough and slow going as The Whites, which I wasn't really expecting. Only being able to walk 15 miles throughout the course of the day, when the goal was 20, was so disheartening. Alice and I are really trying to push on the miles so we can catch the rest of the Shady Creepers, and also so we can finish this trail! The other day we hiked 23.5 miles, which was incredibly tiring and challenging in this section. We even had to hike two hours in the dark by headlamp to get to our goal for the day. Luckily, the terrain has settled down a bit in the last day or so, which hopefully means we'll be able to speed up again soon.

With the "wanting to be done" feeling, it's sometimes easy to become jaded and ignore the beauty around me or to pass up a short side trail to a vista or viewpoint. Maine, however, with all of its beauty has encouraged me to remember to enjoy every second of the trail until the very end. Regardless of how badly I want to finish. I try to remind myself that after all of this is done, I'm going to miss it so much, and may regret rushing this section. So I'm trying to find the words to balance of finishing soon and enjoying the last few days. Speaking of missing things, this trail has made me miss many activities throughout the summer. One that is the most annual for me is the Tunbridge Fair... I have never missed a year of the fair. Ever. So if someone could eat cheese fries, a giant eclair, and some fried dough for me, pet the cows, and also take a walk through the vegetable hall... I'd be more than appreciative. I know the fair never changes, and isn't going anywhere, but it's an institution for me. Another thing I'm super bummed to be missing is the Grand Point North music festival in Burlington. Grace Potter has put together an amazing lineup, and I'm sad to be missing it. But I'll just sing her songs extra loudly in the woods that weekend.

I think the hardest thing for me to accept is that we will actually be on Katahdin in under two weeks. And with that, it'll be over. We'll all get into separate cars, drive in different directions, and be the furthest apart that we've been from one another in months. I've made so many friends from around the world, and it'll be hard to not see them randomly around some corner in the woods. The trail creates an amazingly weird and perfect community. The only comparison I can think of is freshman year of college. Everyone is thrown into this new situation, trying to find their way through it, and with that common thread people from all different walks of life become fast friends. I may not miss every aspect of this trail when I finish, but the people will be what I miss most.

And with that, I must pack up my backpack, leave this hotel on a beautiful lake, and hitchhike back to the trail. I have 220 miles left, and rain is forecasted for the weekend... Never my favorite. Luckily I was able to shower and do laundry last night, and I'll have Alice to get me through the rain! Until next time

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