July 25, 2013
Today’s mileage: 17.0
Total mileage: 1904.6
281.8. A number that I’ve thought about so often. And now, it’s a reality for us. We now have less than 281.8 miles to go. And more importantly, we are back in Maine! The fact that we walked to Maine from Georgia blows my mind. The farther we hike, the crazier I feel.
After breakfast with Miles’ parents, we got dropped off at the trailhead and began the day with a climb up Mt. Hayes. After slack-packing 21 miles yesterday, going uphill with a full pack can slow you down. It took us a few miles to get used to the pack weight once more and after reaching the top of Hayes, our pace increased. We took a break at Page Pond where we sat on the rocks in the sun, picking blueberries that grew nearby. It was a beautiful day. Perfect for our exit out of New Hampshire and for our entrance into the Great State of Maine.
There was lots of climbing for us today. New Hampshire went out with a bang, leading us up steep granite rock faces, along slippery sections, and through lots of mud. We felt like pros as we rock-hopped, swung down from trees to the ground, and climbed up and down the rocks, our feet and hands just barely gripping the crevasses.
As we reached the summit of Mt. Success near the end of the day, we were greeted with one of the most amazing views of our hike so far. The White Mountains surrounded us on all sides, peaks extending as far as our eyes could see. Mt. Washington was covered in clouds of course, so it was easy to spot. As we neared the end of our hiking in New Hampshire, we looked out at the mountains, reflecting on our challenging, but rewarding hike through the state. The mountain was rightly named I thought, as we sat on the rocks eating Clif bars. A congratulatory mountain that looked south to our toughest hiking yet. I know that I certainly felt a wave of success as I looked out at the mountains that we had conquered.
As we neared the Maine border, the terrain got a little treacherous at times. I wondered if New Hampshire had a thing against Maine and didn’t want us to make it there after all. I slid down some of the rock faces and the others I walked down as carefully as possible.
And then, there it was: The New Hampshire-Maine state line. A humble little sign on the trail that I had been waiting to see for months. I wasn’t sure how I would react at that moment, the moment that I would cross the border. I imagined it several times in my head. I actually wasn’t as emotional as I thought I would be. Of course, I was super excited, relieved, elated, but no tears of joy were shed. We entered our 14th and final state, our home, and the most anticipated section of our hike. I didn’t go crazy or scream when I saw the sign. It just felt right to cross that state line. I knew that Maine is where I belong. A place that I love and have missed so much. I felt content. I felt at home.
We are sleeping in the shelter since all of the tent spots are taken. We finally saw Hiccup and Forge tonight for the first time since Damascus! That’s almost 1,500 miles ago! We got in around 8 tonight after a long, but memorable day. As we begin planning the last few weeks of our hike, I’m finding it hard to believe that we’re actually here. I feel torn between finishing our hike and staying out here longer. There is one thing I know for sure however. We’re here to stay. Maine is the final destination.