Day 125. I am so happy today ended at a hostel, because that hike sucked. I was so proud of the fact I had only fallen once so far on this journey, back in North Carolina, but not anymore. Today I fell 3 more times, and all 3 were very hard and very painful falls coming down Mt. Moriah. One minute I’m slowly walking down a sheer and wet rock slab, the next minute I’m lying down on the ground. It was the Mt. Mariah Massacre. Fortunately, the only thing broken was a hiking pole and the only thing bruised was my ego … but the pain is all over.
The broken pole threw my rhythm off, which is likely why I fell two more times. But the steep, smooth, wet boulders called a trail aided heavily as well. It was just a combination of too many hazards at once, and weary legs that simply had been beaten and battered for too many days in a row without rest.
I loved the White Mountains for their beauty, but I hated their terrain. With such dangerous and difficult hiking this past week, I’m honestly glad to be done with them and move on to what’s next. Nice huts, nice views, awful hiking. My video above is full of smiles and jubilation, but don’t let that fool you, I was not always a happy camper at the end the day. And if not for stopping at a town and hostel today, I would be another unhappy camper tonight.
Fortunately, I did get to recover though, and at a great place. The Rattle River Hostel is a very nice and well-managed hiker B&B right on the trail in Gorham, NH. After the Mt. Mariah Massacre, I needed a shower and bed and I got both. In truth, the last 2-3 miles were quite nice on the AT, but I was checked out mentally by this point and didn’t stop to enjoy the well-groomed trail, the river flowing next to it, nor the inviting swimming holes within it.
I JUST WANTED A DAMN SHOWER.
For 3 days straight, I had sweat completely through my hiking clothes, and I smelled awful. You know it’s bad when you can’t stomach your own stink. The hostel owners must be used to this by now, as the entry room has a shower in it, and you must clean up before going further inside the house. It felt great.
For the next couple hours, I got to work fixing my gear. I called LEKI to get a free replacement part shipped ahead to me on the trail, then soaped up my sleeping pad to find the bubbly sign of the hole. Both problems now appear to be fixed, which is a relief. Then I worked on the above video and lounged in the yard waiting for my friends to arrive. If I didn’t have people coming to hike with me here, I’d definitely take a Zero Day. I think most people do.
Side note, I caught up with some old friends here! Charley Horse, No Need and Mr. Perfect all zeroed here today. I haven’t seem them since Massachusetts.
Around 4:30, a rental car pulled up, and 3 of my hiking buddies from Minnesota piled out. We 4 did a weeklong backpacking trip in Alaska a few years ago, and I am so happy they could come join for this adventure too. We did a quick Walmart run for me, then had dinner in town (Mr. Pizza, excellent food), and capped off the night with some beers and strategic planning. The next 3 days are going to be difficult, as southern Maine is also no joke, but they are up for the challenge.
Side note, less than 300 miles to go. Woot!
Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)!
- Start Mile: 1880.0
- Start Time: 06:45
- End Mile: 1892.6
- End Time: 13:50
- Miles Hiked: 12.6
- Miles to Go: 298.3
- Lodging: Rattle River Hostel