Day 124: Grafton Turnpike to Brackett Brook

July 16, 2013

Today’s mileage: 14.4
Total mileage: 1775.7

Today was an unexpectedly tough day for me. Sure, we had a couple of big climbs, but we’ve been hiking for four months now. I’ll be fine, I thought to myself.

My dad took us back to the road where he picked us up yesterday and we said goodbye. I plan on seeing both him and my mom before the end of our hike, but saying goodbye is difficult nonetheless. We had such a good time this weekend with my dad. I’m really glad that he decided to come to such a cool trail town where there was so much for us to do. I can’t wait to be home and spend even more time with my family. But first, we must hike another 410.2 miles.

We had a big climb up Smarts Mountain this morning. Now, 2,500 feet over 5.8 miles doesn’t sound all that bad, but for some reason, it was a tough one for me. I felt slow and tired as I made my way up the mountain. The deer flies orbiting my head didn’t help my mood much either. But, we made it to the top and climbed the fire tower to witness the beauty of New Hampshire and the White Mountains. We could see Mt. Cube nearby, the next mountain we would climb. We took a break at the Fire Warden’s Cabin and checked the log book to see who was close to us. A fun fact that I realized the other day was that I hadn’t seen any female thru-hikers from New York up until New Hampshire, when I saw Pearl in town on our zero day. I really hadn’t thought much about it before and honestly, it didn’t bother me that I hadn’t seen any girls. I just thought that it was an interesting piece of information. According to one thru-hiker, Sassypants, 1 in 10 thru-hikers are women. However, women have a higher finishing rate than men. About 30% of women finish their thru-hike.

We had a nice, long descent down Smarts Mountain before starting our climb up to the south peak of Mt. Cube. This climb wasn’t as long as Smarts, but my odd mood continued. I felt so tired as I ascended the mountain. I could have set up camp on top of Smarts and gone right to sleep. I had so much to do last night that I didn’t get to bed until almost 1:00 AM. My best guess is that I didn’t get enough sleep last night in preparation for our hike today. Not to mention, my pack was full of food and water, so it was the heaviest it’s been in awhile. My breathing was short and my water supply low as I reached the peak of Mt. Cube. Miles knew I wasn’t feeling myself, so he left me be, both of us eating and admiring the view from our cool, breezy spot.

We descended the mountain as it neared 6:00 PM. I slipped on a rock and fell forward, my pack crushing me beneath it’s weight. With my mood today, I could have easily gotten upset. Instead, I hurled my pack back onto my back, jammed my poles into the soil, made my way back to my feet, and continued hiking. We arrived at Brackett Brook not long after that, where I planned to filter some water before finishing the last few miles of the day. Knowing that I was really tired, Miles suggested that we stop short of our goal and camp by the brook instead. There was a nice, flat spot near a good water source, so I easily agreed on our new plan. After setting up our tent, washing off my legs, and eating tortellini, I began to feel better. Still tired, but in a better mood than earlier.

Some days turn out differently than you imagine. Even on a sunny day with beautiful views, you can feel down. I suppose on the next rainy day, I’ll be feeling super-duper! But, to be real here, this strange mood is nothing compared to some of our worst days. I’m hoping that after an early night in and a good night of sleep, I’ll be feeling myself again by morning. After all, we’re entering the Whites tomorrow!

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