Well well, as we have seen from Jetpack's post, we are in Monson! Well, I am, Jetpack just left here this morning. After playing some serious catch-up, I strolled in last night to surprise Jetpack at the hostel in Monson. It was so great to see each other and catch up, swapping trail stories, etc. After hiking so much in the last couple of weeks I totally needed a zero day today, but JP zeroed yesterday so she pushed out just a short day and we will meet up Saturday night at a planned shelter. Sunday morning we will hike Whitecap Mountain and if it is a clear day, get our first view of Katahdin!!! (75 miles out).
My experience of Maine hasn't been quite the same as Jetpack's, having to catch up and hike all day, every day has left me very little time to enjoy the ponds and scenery, not to mention that every day that I hike, it happens to be rainy, and when I get the chance to be off the trail, it is nice out. I haven't had a view since Saddleback Mountain a few days ago and missed some of the supposed best views on the trail. OH WELL! Today was a great zero day in Monson with some of our older friends from the Trail - Vinca and Poncho Verde, Kenyan, as well as Sweet Pea and Sage. We had a great night in the pub with all-you-can-eat tacos.
So I have some reflections regarding the coming end of the trip. I have noticed that whenever I catch a glimpse of a full AT map (they are in all of the trail towns, everywhere), I get really sad/nostalgic. I remember looking at those maps and seeing how far we have come and then how much we have left. I now look at them and see memories throughout the trail. I see the South and think about the beginning of the trip, the newness of it and the hiking with our good friends Lady Pants, Who Knows, and many others. I look at Virginia and think of the beauty, fun, and great weather, etc. etc. I have enjoyed so much of this trip, but I think at this point I am ready to not hike every day, that is the only qualm I hold with this trip. I am ready to just relax and exert a little bit less every day! I will, however, miss so so much about the trail including the people, the towns, the spontaneity, the relative low mental stress of the lifestyle, etc. So this will be a bitter-sweet end, but I have also learned so much. Mainly, that if I ever do any kind of long-distance hike again I will not give it a timeline and let it take as long as it needs to. I have found so much stress in trying to reach a deadline, one of the very things that I intended to leave behind. I know that I missed out on a lot of things, views, experiences with people, swims in ponds, afternoon naps outside, etc. because I was trying to get somewhere by a certain time. I almost feel like I could give it a go again next year on a full, solo, thru-hike...but that's a long way away and my body needs to do a lot of healing before then.
So I am now half-heartedly looking forward to the '100-mile wilderness' because of its rough terrain in the beginning of it, but with the promise of the end to the adventure, the accomplishment of an enormous feat, and now some time to slow down and enjoy Maine a little bit. So stay tuned, as always, because in a little over a week, I will be back home in Boxford with my computer uploading the rest of my pictures and attaching titles to all of them so you can see what I have seen and actually know what you are looking at! Can't wait to see many of you when I get home. Thanks for reading and supporting us and stay tuned for Katahdin pictures and some follow up posts!