Update 9 from an AT through hiker

Am I In Maine Yet???

No, i'm not quite in Maine, but i'm close. I'm in Hanover, New Hampshire at the moment (the home of Dartmouth College, who's nice enough to let me use their high-speed internet, it's sooooo nice). Lately i've been in sort of a down phase, it's been hard to keep myself motivated to keep hiking day after day. it happens, i think everyone goes through a period where they don't want to be out here and they can't remember why they decided to take a fun little hike from georgia to maine. it'll pass. if not, at least i'll be in maine soon, so it won't matter! So no worries, i'm not going to quit anytime soon, unless i trip and break a leg or something equally silly happens to me. Let's see, the mileage tally so far... i've walked 1730 miles and i have 440 to go, and the end of july, that's when i'm hoping to be done with this madness and reach Mt. Katahdin, the ending point of my journey. So, vermont, it was a pretty little state, i remember it being really wet and muddy, lots and lots of mud. i think they only have 2 seasons in vermont, snow and mud. it's not so bad though, once you get covered in mud, it's fun to intentionally stomp through it, there's something very childlike and innocent about splashing around in a mud puddle =) the other interesting part of vermont is that the AT runs along the same path as the Long Trail for the first 100 miles of Vermont. The Long Trail is just another trail, it runs from the MA/VT border to Canada, it's about 250 miles long, so it's a nice little trail. we join it right where it starts, so i met all of these people who were just starting out on their hike. they were all happy and clean and excited and said things like: "We get to go hiking for 2 weeks, this is so much fun!! Yay!!" Oooooohhhh, i wanted to kick them. all of that naive happiness isn't welcome on my trail! Just wait til they have blisters the size of their toes and it's been raining for a week. wow, when did i get to be such a grizzled, bitter, old AT hiker? I need to fight the bitterness, or just give in and be totally bitter. No, must fight! I love hiking the trail! I love climbing over rocks! I love smelling like a water buffalo! ahhhh, there we go, now i'm back in my happy world, no more bitterness (for now). Hmmmm, so what's next. New Hampshire is the home of the White Mountains, it's suppose to be the most rugged and difficult section of trail that I'll cross, but also the most spectacular. I suppose you can't have one without the other. The Whites are home to Mt. Washington, which has the worst weather on the planet, they've clocked the highest recorded land wind speed at 231 mph. wouldn't that be fun to hike through? they can also get snow any month of the year. it might actually be fun to say i got to hike through a blizzard in july, or maybe i'll just cross the mountain when the weather's nice, as if i get a choice. So how was the 4th of July for everyone? mine sucked, i was about a mile from this tiny little town that the trail goes through and as i'm hiking down the hill i can start to smell something... it was actually funny, i'd stop and sniff and go, yup, there's burgers grilling... a little later i'd sniff again and go, yup, i can smell the doritos... i'd just keep walking down the hill identifying all of the wonderful foods that i could smell. when i got into town, i probably passed 3 houses where people were grilling burgers and eating food. none of them invited me over. come on people, share the love! it was almost torture to smell all of that food and not get to eat any. oh well, such is life. Well, this is it for me, no fun stories this time, it's been a boring section of trail, but don't worry, hopefully good times are ahead in the Whites. Wish me luck!

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