Ellie learned how to walk! We were getting our resupply needs in Stratton, ME where they had a little toddler sized grocery cart. She pushed it around the store, and the motion of walking just stuck! This is the most exciting part of Maine so far for sure! While taking Ellie on the trail has it’s challenges, it’s also really nice to have the distraction from aching bodies and the difficulty of it all.
The towns are getting closer together, which has been really nice. While the terrain is actually only getting harder, we’re adjusting a little better now. Plus it helps to make friends as well to sympathize with. New Hampshire is just around the corner!
We’re still not getting the hang of this terrain. It’s hard. It’s rocky. It’s steep. And it’s depressing how slow we’re moving. We thought that since we had 700+ miles under our belt before Maine, we would be able to jump back into 15 mile days. Nope. 10 miles per day is pushing it, and it takes about 1 mile per hour. However, the views are remarkable- unlike anything we’ve ever seen before!
I’m going to be honest here, Maine isn’t fun. And I’m ready to be out. 150 miles down, 130 to go until we hit the NH border. We can make it! We know there won’t be fun nonstop, and sometime we just have to keep trekking to get to better parts of the trail. It’s all a part of the bigger experience of our thru hike.
100 miles over 10 days… we thought the 100 mile wilderness would never end! The views were spectacular, the bugs were hungry for blood, the lakes were breathtaking, the rocks were unbearable, the SoBo hikers are super fun, and the trail is kicking our butts. For the first time in over 800 miles, we’re wondering what the heck we’re doing out here- and it has(mostly) nothing to do with Ellie!
The terrain is incredibly remote and difficult with little trail maintenance, the storms are ferocious when they come in off the lakes, and the bugs are eating us alive. We had to sit down and have the conversation, “What are we doing out here?!” We decided we’re going to take it just one town at a time. For now, we’re in Monson relaxing at Shaw’s Hiker Hostel (amazing hostel run by an amazing family!). We’ll relax, get rejuvenated, then head back out for a few days until we hit the next time. If we keep telling ourselves it’s just a lot of short little trips, it might seem easier than thinking about the 1400 miles remaining!
We summited Katahdin! Ellie Roo wasn’t able to come with us- nobody under 6 years old is allowed to summit. After hiking it without a pack, I am thankful Ellie stayed in Millinocket with her Gamma. While there are sections just as challenging down the trail, it was good for Sherpa and I to see what Maine terrain is like first before taking Ellie. Now we have a better idea of what we’re about to get into. This week we got to slack pack 2 days, but most of our time was spent with Kanga’s family at a rental house in Maine.
We head into the 100 mile wilderness soon, so we’re planning logistics and making sure all our ducks are in a row before Ellie’s grandparents leave and we’re out on our own. A little nervous, and a lot of excitement!
Once again, we’ve done another 1/3 of the AT before any new blog posts! It’s pretty difficult to find the time to blog, keep up with Ellie, relax, resupply, and save phone battery. Oh yeah, and fit about 15 miles of backpacking per day into that mix! Better late than never, right?!
Here we are, reminiscing on finishing 708 miles, eating a ton of ice cream, losing our trail legs, waiting for the trail to Katahdin to open so we can drive up and finish the other 2/3 of our thru hike! While we wait, we have the privilege of being a part of a family wedding and family graduation. So thankful the time aligned in this way.
We had to go to Grayson Highland State Park to finish a 35 mile section we skipped due to snow back in April. We hoped for amazing views and warm sun, but had buckets pouring on us all day instead with foggy clouds blocking all views. Thankfully we got to see some ponies though!
We sure do miss the trail and can’t wait to get back on, but doing a flip flop feels like 2 totally separate trips. We’re packing such different gear as we head to the remote and rugged terrain in Maine. Excited and just a little nervous about New England!
We finished our last 100 miles in the South! We realized we were going to make it to the wedding in PLENTY of time, so we slowed down a tad bit and absorbed the time more. The weather was much better this week as well, so we had more sunshine time 🙂 Even though we could take it easy, we still had great trail legs and the terrain was simply a piece of cake at this point. So we still were able to put in 15-18 mile days easily. The trail has settled down a good bit because we’re through the NOBO bubble.
We crossed the NC/GA border. Two states officially down! It feels weird that this section of the trail is over. We are now 1/3 of the way through. The next time on the trail is Maine- a totally different experience! We took 3 full weeks off between finishing in GA and flipping up to ME to attend some family functions and spend time with friends and family.
Goodbye South! Hello Northeast!!