Day mileage: 1.0
AT total mileage: 1,888.1
Time: 0.3 hours
It's hard to imagine 100 days on the Appalachian Trail. For 100 days I've lived in the woods, slept on the ground of primitive lean-tos, and filtered water from streams and springs in order to stay hydrated. For 100 days, I've hiked the Trail. I'll proudly admit that I never imagined being this far along on day 100, but that's a whole other story altogether.
The initial plan (you obviously expected this statement, as a 1 mile day is rather pathetic) was to head out early after another post office visit to get a package Santa was expecting, and a quick breakfast. Like many people, lazy Saturday morning syndrome kicked in and we didn't end up waking until 8:30 or so. I showered for a third time, taking everyone's laundry with me and washing everything in Old Spice body soap. It wasn't the most ideal situation, but saving the hour at the laundromat by skipping their washing machine was worth it. There's a photo below of the color of the bath water between clean and dirty water that sums up the immense amount of grime we collect pretty well. Hopping out of the shower and packing up my bag, we left the motel just before 11. Walking the mile down Main Street with all of our gear, we stopped at the laundromat to put our clothes in the commercial dryer while we went in search of food. Deciding on Pizza Hut for the cost vs. serving size ratio, we stopped in to have pizza and breadsticks, talking about the trail and watching YouTube videos on our phones. It sounds anti-social, but we have many moments on the trail of referencing shows/movies/clips and don't often have the chance to actually watch them. After eating we went back to the laundromat, removing our clothes from the dryer and calling Golden Waldo (the gentlemen who picked us up yesterday from the trail) for a ride back to the trailhead. He came by shortly after we called and dropped us back at the White Mountain Hostel alongside the A.T. where many other hikers were staying.
A gorgeous white colonial servicing thru-hikers, the White Mountain is owned by a lovely woman named Marnie and assistant managed by a great guy named Eric. Our initial plan was to drop off some excess food in the hostel's hiker-box, an area most facilities offer for hikers to leave gear or food for others to pick through. When I say initial plan, you might find it blatantly obvious that things diverted from this. We ended up sitting in the driveway for a while, I spoke with Eric about photography while Legs and Santa spoke with a hiker named Violet about the trail. Soon enough we had pulled patio chairs up and were deep in conversation, music playing on a portable speaker, and a beer or two being passed around. What was to be quick stop at the hostel became an elongated one, including cooking dinner on our camp stoves in the driveway and watching the animated Dreamworks film Shrek in the living room at the hostel. I was completely taken aback when two hikers hopped out of the hostel van shouting my name... I hadn't the slightest clue as to who they were, but as it turns out it was a hiking couple named Caveman and Litefoot who I literally have not seen since Tri-Corner Knob shelter in the Smoky Mountains nearly 1,600 miles ago. It was amazing to talk with them, know that they're still on the trail, and hear stories about how at different points they have been anywhere from a month to just a few days behind me. Around 2200hrs the three of us packed up and headed out of the hostel, saying goodbye to Violet as well as our new friends Canary and Joules, two girls that have been hiking NOBO together since March 1st. The nearest shelter north was 11 miles including a thousand or so feet of climbing so instead of attempting that, we hiked a mile or so north to a dirt road skirting a railroad track and set up our sleeping bags under the stars and full moon.
Tomorrow we'll hike on, wrapping up our 13th state and venturing into the final miles of trail. The next few days are known to be the most difficult section of the entire Appalachian Trail, a stretch that slows many northbound hikers due to the challenging terrain and rock climbing. My hope is that the weather holds out long enough for us to make this traverse without getting stuck in any precarious situations, but I suppose we'll take it as it comes. Also, for those interested in an update on Naila, she'll be leaving my folks house in Mass tomorrow (Sunday) and coming up to New Hampshire. Originally our plan of getting to town was to borrow Bangarang's car and drive to Boston to get the dog, but a lovely woman named Donna who reads my blog offered to transport the puppy up to her home and to aid in the care of her paws for a little longer. I think this will be perfect for both Legs and Naila so that neither have to worry about the care or worsening of her paws over the terrain in front of us.
Less than two weeks to go.