Thursday, September 3rd: Andover to Andover-10.1 miles
Pictures: Sawyer Brook
I was very glad I’d chosen to do a short day because I was moving slow this morning and took my time getting up and getting to breakfast and then after all that my shuttle got pushed back half an hour. Since I was only planning ten miles it wasn’t a big deal. I enjoyed a lovely breakfast at “The Little Red Hen”, Andover’s lone restaurant and then packed my bag, leaving my mail drops to deal with when I got back. Once I finally got on trail it was another great day to hike. The first half of the hike turned out to be surprisingly gentle terrain and it was lovely strolling along. That was until reality set back in and there was a steep drop into Sawyer Notch and a steep climb out again. Still, it was a reasonably light day of hiking as I’d hoped.
I got to the road around 3:30 and lucked out, getting a hitch into town from a pick-up. After I had already gotten in I began to question my luck a little as I watched the driver finish a Budweiser and then open and start another as we went into town. Thankfully there was no incident, but I very gratefully jumped out once they pulled up to the hostel.
Having come back to Pine Ellis, I now took care of the chores I’d neglected yesterday, although unfortunately the post office is closed, so I’ll have to just have another late start. That’s becoming a little too common for my liking. This evening I cooked my own dinner, enjoying having a kitchen at my disposal. Finally, I had the pleasure of talking with my beloved a second consecutive night, what a privilege.
Friday, September 4th: Andover to Bemis Brook-12.2 miles
Pictures: Windmills on the hills
Bemis Mountain view
I was rather frustrated for much of today. I got a much later start then I really would have liked and wasn’t making the miles I wanted to. Eventually, however, I realized the ridiculousness of my frustration. I could still get to Stratton in the days allotted by my food supply and I could stop pushing myself to exhaustion and enjoy the day.
I was in no rush to get up this morning as I knew I couldn’t leave until after 9:30 when the Post Office opens. I still got up at 7 though and went to get breakfast. I got all my things in order and just lounged on the porch until at last I could walk over to the P.O. I sent on a box of food to Monson and got everything ready to send a note to my beloved along with my journals and camera only to realize I had lost the address. I texted my beloved but thanks to the time difference she was still asleep. I ended up buying enough postage to send it from the hostel and then was able to find the address in the online yellow pages.
By then it was well past 10:00 am and when I finally got off my shuttle back at the trail head it was close to 11. A little frustrated, I began hiking at a fast pace, intending to push myself to still make the bigger 17 mile day I had planned. I brushed past views with only a short pause. At lunch time I found a lovely spot, a beach set to look out over a great view, and as I ate there I realized how stupid I was being. It was ok if I didn’t do all those miles, it was more important to live in the moment. That’s something I’m struggling with right now. I am very eager to be done and some days I just want to keep walking, to until I collapse, just to get to the end. On the other hand, my body is tired and doesn’t respond well when I push it too hard, and I also don’t want to just throw away this last section of trail in a blur of racing to the finish. My beloved is so good at encouraging me in this and keeping me grounded.
The afternoon was much better. I slowed down and enjoyed an absolutely marvelous blueberry patch. There must have been thousands of ripe sweet, juicy berries. That lifted my mood even more and when I reached a campsite just before 5, I knew that was my spot for the evening. I’ve enjoyed a slow evening, eating a good dinner, drinking tea, and now just to read myself to sleep.