Saturday, August 29th: Pinkham Notch to Rattle River-19.2 miles
Pictures: Wildcat view of Washington
Wildcat view opposite
Carter Notch Pond
Mt. Hight view of Washington
I’m back at it, putting in bigger miles. I don’t want to make a habit of days this long but today I wanted to get as close as possible to town so that tomorrow can almost be a zero. As it stands I’ve got two miles of hiking tomorrow. I was in no rush this morning to get going, having taken care of everything last night, but I still was up by 6:30. I got out of the hostel and grabbed some breakfast sandwiches to eat, then waited for the coach that I could apparently ride to Pinkham for $6. I figured I’d take the guaranteed ride over the chance that a hitch might take a long time.
The guide wasn’t clear about catching this bus though and I nearly got into the wrong one, and then when the correct one did arrive, the driver rather shortly informed me I had to buy the ticket inside, not on the bus and that I had better hurry because he wasn’t waiting. Thankfully, he did at least wait long enough for me to get on, where I discovered that I was the sole passenger, so I’m not entirely sure what his big concern was. Still it was a ride and it dropped right back at the trail.
The hiking began with a challenging climb up Wildcat Mountain, a great deal of scrambling and moderate rock climbing was involved but still I felt good. At the top I took a break called in a reservation for a hostel tomorrow and just took in the view. The great weather was continuing and I loved hiking in it. I had lots of nice short stops and chats with day-hikers throughout the day, including a group of three at Carter Notch Hut who gave me some cookies to go with my lunch.
The afternoon seemed to drag on a great deal and I had hoped to make better time, but since my dinner was a packed out sub I felt I could hike a little later, given that I wasn’t cooking. I made it to the shelter at about quarter to seven and found it empty. So tonight marks the first time I’ve experienced being the only one at a shelter. It’s not bad, though I keep anthropomorphizing objects, thinking I see people where there’s only a log. Like I said, tomorrow is a short day and I’m wondering if I might even be able to make it to a church service. We’ll find out in the morning.
Sunday, August 30th: Rattle River to Gorham-1.9 miles
No church in the end but a really nice Sabbath none the less. I had a delightful morning stroll down to the hostel and checked in before 9 a.m. leaving the rest of the day to relax and enjoy. I did just that, spending plenty of time snoozing on the couch. I also ran back into Recalc, who had come into Gorham from Pinkham Notch the day before. The bad news was that he had hurt his foot and it’s looking like he’s resolved that this is the end of the road for him. It breaks my heart to see that and I hope that somehow he finds a way to press on, but it seems his desire has gone. I went into town and had lunch with him, enjoying the time together and in the evening went to resupply, but otherwise spent the day writing, reading, and watching T.V. A truly blessed, restful Sabbath.
Monday, August 31st: Gorham to Gentian Pond-11.8 miles
Today was a mish-mash all over the place kind of day. Emotionally and mentally I went through a wide range of states in a fairly short period, but it has settled out quite well in the end. I slept great and woke up for a delicious breakfast made by the hostel. I then spent some time talking with Recalc. I don’t want him to get off trail, but he seems to think that it would be the wisest choice. I offered to wait and hike with him, but he kept indicating his foot and that he just wasn’t sure he could go on. The longer he stayed still though, the more you could tell it upset him. It seems as though his adventure on the trail is over, though I would love to hear otherwise. I am so thankful for the opportunity had to hike with him, and he has been my closest trail friend.
I hung around at the hostel for a while, waiting until my beloved awoke way off in Seattle so I could check in with her as well as get an address to send a letter too. Altogether I ended up not hiking out until quarter to eleven.
Late starts like that always play with my mind a bit and Recalc’s likely departure from the trail meant that I was rather somber as I hiked. I was just downcast and couldn’t shake the mood. I put in my earphones and distracted myself some that way as I walked.
I arrived at Gentian Pond around four and felt that I’d finish there, giving myself time to relax and make a nice dinner. I also hoped that some others would arrive as I felt like company would help my poor mood. Thankfully, company did arrive about an hour later and in the end there were a good number of people here for the night. We’re all excited to enter Maine tomorrow, and today I passed the 1,900 mile mark. I’ve hike over 1,900 miles! It’s difficult to comprehend, but more exciting to me is that there are under 300 miles to go.