Saturday, July 23, 2016

Appalachian Trail Symphony: Days 28-42 (Mozart in the Woods)

Day 28 - (7/8/16) 0.0 miles

First day off (and much needed!)

Day 29 - (7/9/16) 8.3 miles (Hanover, NH to Three Mile Rd)

Mom came and hiked with me today.  Because we were not camping overnight, we hardly had to bring anything and left my tent, sleeping pad, cooking things, and extra food at home.  I felt like I hardly had anything on my back!  It was overcast and gloomy all day, but luckily barely rained.  The terrain was pretty flat which was good for mom, and we finished by 3pm.  It was a nice easy day for me.  My younger brother Lane and I hiked this stretch until Lyme once when I was in college.  Our gear was way too heavy then and we were dying from it, much different than this time around.  But that trip was my first overnight hike on the trail.

Days 30-40 - (7/10/16-7/20/16) 0.0 miles

The next day was cold and rainy, and I was originally going to hike it with Diane like I did with mom the day before, but the weather was horrible and we had a lot to do before leaving for Brazil on July 12th.  Brazil was great, the performances were great, and I got to show Rio to Diane as a combined anniversary and birthday gift to her. I had a buffer day to rest after we got back home late on Tuesday the 19th.

Day 41 - (7/21/16) 8.3 miles (Three Mile Rd to Trapper John Shelter)

The privy at Moose Mtn Shelter
Finally back on the trail!  I was worried how my body would handle hiking again after all these days off, but it has been okay after a light day today.  After getting off the trail when I made it into NH, I've noticed that for a couple of days after my body became really sore and stiff, especially the bottoms of my feet.  It's like I became so accustomed to walking on uneven surfaces that walking on flat ground is now more difficult and uncomfortable.  My knees really would hurt when I would go downstairs and it was exhausting to go upstairs.  The first couple of days in Rio saw my body getting really tired quickly and very achy.  Luckily, a couple of days into the trip and my body started to feel better, but even by today my body wasn't fully recovered.  In particular my left knee when going downhill hurts.  I'm realizing that doing a hike like this, 27 straight days of 11 miles a day, can really take a toll on one's body, and 10 days was only enough to let my body recover maybe half or 3/4 of the way.  I was also worried my trail legs had left me, but today felt alright even with 2 1000ft climbs.  I went by Moose Mtn Shelter where Lane and I had camped during our hike years ago.  I remember seeing that the privy was just wide open with no walls and only a roof, and before this hike I was a little worried that all the privies along the trail would be like that.  But it's the first of it's kind I've seen on this hike.  The privy here tonight is interesting too: it's enclosed in 4 walls, but the seat is an armchair with a hole cut in the bottom.  Some kind of weird luxury I suppose.  I passed by Holts Ledge too and could see Crystal Lake, where my parents cabin is. 
View of Crystal Lake from Holts Ledge

Day 42 - (7/22/16) 12.0 miles (Trapper John Shelter to Hexacuba Shelter)

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The 'luxurious' privy at Trapper John Shelter
Well, my body seems to be readjusting to the trail quite well.  Today was a bit slow; took about 9 hours to hike 12 miles, but there was a big 2000ft climb up to the top of Smarts Mtn.  It wasn't too bad though.  I saw another bear, my third on this hike.  It was just a little one, probably a cub, and ran across the trail maybe 50ft ahead of me while I was making my way along the ridge going up the mountain.  I was worried there might be a momma and other cubs around, so I made some noise but saw nothing else.  The register at the cabin at the summit said that last week a bear came into camp and had its way with someone's food bag.  The summit had a fire tower, but not as cool as Glastenbury's or as tall.  I met group of boys from a summer camp in Fairlee, VT, that were going up the mountain on an overnight trip. As I passed, one asked me "Are you even tired?" and I replied an emphatic "Yes!"
Smarts Mtn (with a barely visible fire tower at the top)

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