Day 155: I remember now

Imp Campsite [mile 1324.7; SOBO 306.3]

Oh, the Whites, the Whites, the Whites. I forgot how beautiful you are, and how in love with you I am.

I’ve been here twice before, that I recall: once during a family vacation when I was about 16. We climbed Mt. Washington, then—in a car, of course, and I was terrified on the auto road. And the top of the mountain was frigid and dense with fog, so there wasn’t much to see beyond a few yards of boulders. But I loved the Whites and they haunted me until 1992, when I went back to camp. That was in Crawford Notch. There were so many stars in the sky that I thought I’d die of beauty.

(Note to self: Look at the stars every night. I’ve seen so many dawns, but no stars on this hike. I’m usually asleep by hiker midnight—ie, 9 PM.)

This morning I hit the trail late, at about 8:30, and walked to the Rattle River. I think I remember that river! It jogged such a strong sense of deja vu! It may be a similar river, somewhere else, that I visited—except that there are signs to the Mt. Washington auto road just a couple of miles down the trail, which makes me think that my 16-year-old self is the one who saw those stones and listened to that prancing water.

The morning was easy walking, then a steady uphill into elevation. I’m still driving a jalopy of a body so the climbing was slow, but as far as ups go, this one was easy. Some hints of Maine near the top, but drier. The bog bridging doesn’t have the same characteristic rottenness. The planks smell like WD-40, and I have no idea why.

The day was hot summer, and it felt magnificent. It was ear-popping good to be back at some higher elevations (still nowhere near as extreme as it’s going to get). And I never thought I’d say that.

I could have gone farther today, but I couldn’t think of a reason why. So here I am on a platform at Imp. First night for my Exped Air mat, my new socks, my new fleece. I feel like the gear is finally acceptable for New England.

There might be some rain tonight. I’m just happy to be here.

Oh! Reunions! Today I saw Steamer (the breast cancer guy dressed all in pink; he has pink hair now, too). I saw Kokopelli, who used to travel with Didi the wonder dog. Kokopelli’s the guy who hiked last year and made it to 60 miles from Katahdin before sustaining a severe knee injury that knocked him off the trail. (He had to send Didi home a while back.) I met both of those guys in Virginia.

Remember Little Sass? I met her at Aquone when she wasn’t hiking, then at Partnership Shelter after she started her thru. Saw her today! And I saw a hiker named Pretzel, who remembered me; I can’t place where we met.

A NOBO asked me if I thought it was a good idea for his non-hiking (but physically fit) wife and 12-year-old daughter to come summit Katahdin with him. I told him no, I didn’t think that was a great idea, and we talked about it a while.

Actually, I talked to a lot of people today! It was exceptionally social on the trail.

The Whites. It’s going to get so hard. But this may possibly be the most beautiful place on earth. At least to me, and to those me’s I used to be. 🙂

Tomorrow: The start of the hard stuff. I’m nervous! But I’m planning to take it slow and enjoy it while I can.

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Categories: Appalachian Trail | Tags: | 19 Comments

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19 thoughts on “Day 155: I remember now

  1. When you’re looking up at the sky tonight, find a star for me. When you find it, know that I am thinking of you and wishing you a very special journey home.

  2. Lovely post, and made me very happy for you. Remember this one. It’s why you came.

  3. I just showed this post and your blog to my 10 year old son. He hiked 6.5 miles on Long Island Saturday (total of 12 this wknd) and he can’t believe what you are doing. He wants me to take 6 months off of work and take him out of school. THANKS GUYS! lol

  4. Lisa Milstead

    Great post! good to see your spirits up! Could you be remembering the Swift River, that runs along the ‘Kank’?

  5. Eileen

    Yay, no more Maine.. It has been a while since I read the posts as the last week or so were difficult with all that happened here. The blogs brightened my night for sure. Happy hiking. Phillies won in the 9th inning again….

  6. Beth

    Somewhere I remember a wise crazy hiker saying something like, “don’t quit before the miracle happens”. Stars are kinda like miracles no? Enjoy the Majesty. Thanks for sharing the beauty.

  7. Shari wb

    Beautiful images. Both in words and pictures. Love the little winding stream.

  8. Good to see your doing well and keeping in good spirits. Hope the Whites are treating you well.

  9. Slo & Because

    Dear Karma: We are still with you. We continue to read your journals. We are just amazed with your endurance. Keep up the good hike. Our heart and minds are walking with you.

  10. hey Karma … missed you in Michigan. Hope all is well and you’re having a blast on the trail. See you in Aug!

  11. jim beauchamp

    The Whites were making you nervous. That was a week ago. Now I am on edge and hoping that you are in control of your hike, enjoying it in your very own way. Prayers, girl.

  12. Hi Karma! I am so glad your Dad commented on Jesse “HufflePuff” blog with a link to your blog. When I clicked on it and read about your day at Pine Ellis Hostel and David it really brought back memories for me, but I wanted to know your backstory so I went into your archives and have now read about your adventure from your very beginning to now. I am so thankful to you for writing honestly about how incredibly difficult thru-hiking is for you. It was the same for me! I hiked mostly alone and could never keep pace with most other thru-hikers I met along the way, so I just kept plodding along, one foot in front of the other, one day at a time until I finally finished. What an awesome experience it was for me! Keep walking, Karma! I am enjoying following you. You’ll be done and home soon!
    ~~Flame Ga.>Me.2011

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