I woke up puffy eyed and dehydrated this morning after a freezing night on the mountain. I got very little sleep due to the wind. I got my gear together with thoughts of getting hot leftovers at the hut. I stood up to take off and grabbed my hiking poles, one of which fell in half. o.o
I stood there for a moment staring at my broken trekking pole. My cheap, off-brand poles made it so far, why now?! A screw had broken and the internal hardware had disintegrated. I pack out the pieces and Yonder lent me one of his trekking poles to descend Mt. Madison with. I was very thankful because Madison was largely boulder hopping down a steep ridge line.
At the bottom I stopped at the Pinkham Notch ranger station and picked up my resupply. I had planned to run the whites as quickly as possible, and now my resupplies seemed almost humorous. I left the contents of my box in the donation bin at the ranger station. We were getting a ride into Lancaster to stay with the twelve tribes again. As we waited we hung out with Crispy, Ropeburn and Strunky.
When we got to the hostel I dug through many broken trekking pole parts to Frankenstein a new pole. It was ridiculous, but it worked until I got to Rangeley, Me.
I spent the night preparing the hostel for a large group of hikers who turned out to be Cinderella, Wildboy and their group! It was a fun night at the hostel.
A month ago I was sitting on top of a fire tower in Vermont. I looked out into the salmon pink sunset and thought “North.”
The blue shades of mountains were pulling me north. “I’m coming for you.” I thought of the White Mountains. I looked into the distance and for the first time since my injury I thought that I could do it.
“I’m going to Maine.”
I still couldn’t walk. I limped around camp and still popped pills every morning. The next morning I woke up before sunrise and hiked back up to the tower. I sat on those worn wooden steps and watched my first sunrise back on trail. I cried a lot these days. I wasn’t sure if I physically could push forward. As I wondered there was this pulling force to balance my doubt. North. I was going north.
And Now I sit here on a cliff side, just below Mt. Madison and I am looking south. Washington sits about five miles behind me and my time in White Mountains is coming to an end. I made it here. I said I would against all my doubt, the doubt of my family and a lot of pain. I am here.
It is a cold clear day at the end of August. I can feel Fall coming. I am cowboy camped above tree line watching bits of fog pull through the saddle and disappear. Yonder is making dinner.
The winds were so strong last night that I had to pack down my tent. These mountains are no joke.
Something is freeing about camping here, exposed to everything with a clear view of all the mountains. I’ve never camped above tree line before, but there was nowhere to go but up tonight. No windows, no views just a living experience of being surrounded completely by beauty.
I howled at the full moon last night. It lit up the clouds like a sunset as they washed over it. There is a Moonbow. I wonder if they will ever catch up with me? I heard they were only a day behind now. I hope I see them soon.
There is nothing better than sleeping out under a full moon and watching the blue mountains dance in the fog. I can’t believe I am here, that I pushed through it with my own two feet…and hands.
I can’t believe I am still hiking this trail. It has been so long and so much has happened. It feels like its own lifetime. Some parts of the hike were so distinct and some fade too quickly.
There has been so much heartbreak, change and growth that I could never say that I am who I was when I started. I will never be the same and I am better for it.