Gorham, New Hampshire
It was summer in Maine… er, New Hampshire, today! Seriously, I can’t believe I’m out of Maine and intact. Mostly.
I was up at 4:45 this morning and on the trail at 6:15. I had to do a 12-mile day in a new state; if the terrain was at all Maine-like, it could have taken 12 to 15 hours, so I wanted an early start. As it turned out, the terrain was blessedly trail-like, and I got to the hostel at… oh… 4:00.
A little bird told me there’d been a moose mama and her calf hanging out at Gentian Pond, where I was camped. I looked for them in the morning, but I think they were still asleep somewhere.
Then the walking. It felt utterly liberating to just walk! No heavy mental stuff, no… watching every footfall. Just walking, walking, walking. The roots were dry. I can’t tell if that’s just from the recent rainless stretch, but the atmosphere itself just felt drier than Maine.
And hotter. It was summer today! It felt great. The sweat was pouring off the hikers, me included. The tops of the mountains, near treeline, were boiling: a gray desert. And I was making good time!
You know how many times I’ve fallen since I got into New Hampshire? Nada! (Knock wood.)
Random: I found a tent stake today! Rawr!
About 4 miles out of Gorham, a hiker passed me. He said there were two section hikers down below who had no water. None. Zip. He’d given them a pint or so, but in that heat this was going to be a problem. There was no water source for more than 6 miles, going northbound. Sure enough, I went down the trail and talked to them: no water. And they were out of shape. The guy’s face was red. He’d hiked the section before, about 30 years ago, and was trying to do it from memory. Apparently his memory included a lot of brooks and ponds. I gave them most of the water I had. I knew what I could handle, and it was only a few miles to town. But they were in over their heads. I hope they’re OK.
Then I passed a dozen or so NOBOs. I’m in the bubble now and seeing a lot of people I know. Today: Schweezel, whom I met with Codewalker back before Trail Days. Schweezel’s now hiking with a guy who’d heard of me and whose name I’d seen in the registers: Sir Pantsalot (LOL). When I got to the hostel, guess who was here? Codewalker. Also Violet; the last time I saw her she was slackpacking with Blackhawk and Pathfinder.
And you know who else is at the hostel? Jordana! The last of my bunkmates from March 6 at the Hiker Hostel! It was so great to see her! I have to try to catch her at breakfast to chat. This house must have 15 hikers, maybe more. Chaos!
Oh, coincidentally, the hostel owner (who just took over the place) has a son on the trail now. You know who it is? Nimble! The guy who slept next to me at that shelter in the tropical storm.
One final piece of synchronicity. The tip of one of my poles broke; I lost the metal piece, then the rubber bent like an old carrot. I’d say it’s about 70% reliable now, and twice that bend has suddenly left me hanging an inch overstretched in mid-air. I was hoping the outfitter here had tips and could replace them so I’d be at 100% going into the Whites. But a NOBO here, Subaru, had spare tips for the same brand of pole. He helped me get the old one off and put the new one on. That’s definitely some trail karma there.
What else? Not much! I’m so tired I can’t think straight. Oh, thank you so much to trail angel Judy for sending me some goodies! And to my brother for sending me new shoes!
And now some sleep, perchance to dream. When I take another actual zero (as opposed to an errand zero), it’s going to be in a hotel, I swear.