Start: Gorham, NH
Finish: Carlo Col Shelter
Miles Hiked: 17
Miles to Go: 281.3
Overall Miles Hiked: 1907.9
I want to apologize in advance for any spelling and grammatical errors. I’m posting these final entries from my phone and it’s rather difficult.
I cannot believe I’m back out here! Over the last month and a half there was hardly an hour that went by without me thinking of the trail. Even during sleep I was haunted by it. To come so close and then to have to leave so suddenly was harder to get over than I thought, much harder. But here I am and I feel damn lucky to have another shot at this. About two weeks ago, I got the go-ahead for me to get back out here and I made the necessary arrangements. I was supposed to be in Gorham two nights ago but my plane was delayed past the point when my bus out of Boston had to leave. I got a hotel room on the outskirts of Boston and waited. The next day I made sure to be at the bus stop early and after six hours I made it to Gorham. I stayed at the same hostel, White Mountains Lodge and Hostel, as the night before I left and, for the first time all week, had no trouble getting to sleep. Breakfast was to be served at 7:30 but I didn’t wait, I was on the trail by 6:30.
Strangely, after a few days of me being home my knees began to hurt very badly. I had trouble walking so I confined myself to my couch for the entire first week. They slowly began to get a little better but even now, still hurt. My first mile was worrisome as my knees struggled under the burden of my pack. I knew there was a possibility of me having to turn around and call it quits for good but my knees would have to hurt a whole lot more before that happened. I walked this first mile without my knee braces that I had brought with me because I wanted to test them. Well, they failed. A sick feeling came over me as I sat on a log and took two Aleve and added my braces. I said a quick prayer and started walking. Unfortunately, the trail immediately went up 1800 feet. I could tell the braces were working but there was still considerable pain. I cheered myself up by thinking “well, at least they aren’t getting worse.” The Aleve must have kicked in pretty quickly because the pain lessened with each step. I made it to the top of Mt. Hayes, “still hiking” I thought. The descent hurt more than the climb but I hiked it; and I hiked the numerous other ups and downs too.
The smart thing to do would been to have shut it down at Gentian Pond Shelter after 11.8 miles, but I decided to push it, my knees would just have to work. So I left Gentian Pond and made another big climb, 1400 ft up Mt. Sucess. The view from the top was pretty similar to the whites, I could still see Mount Washington behind me and the miles of trail still left to do.
After another 2 miles I was rewarded for my stubbornness – I had officially hiked from Georgia to Maine! My shelter for the evening was not far after the state border and I arrived with a smile on my face. To be honest, other than my knees, I feel just like I did in the whites. I’m happy to be hiking and despite the pain I still managed to put in a good hike. Earlier in the day, I had met two NOBOs (northbounders) named Downhill and Toasty. They were not far behind me throughout the day. If I can still keep pace with thruhikers after my long absence, I have no choice but to feel pretty damn good. We will see what my knees think about me in the morning, toes crossed!