July 13th 2014
I apologize for the delayed post! I tried posting TWICE from Gorham, NH but for what ever reason the tumblr app failed me.
The hike from Stratton to Gorham was the hardest stretch we’ve done so far. We were warned about southern Maine - some say it’s the hardest part of the whole trail. I’d have to agree so far.
Our first day out of Stratton was the day the hurricane decided to visit the north. Of all the things I was expecting to deal with on this trip, a hurricane was definitely not one of them!
We had 2 days of rain and another 3 days of wet gear and wind. Stuck at another river ford. We were just getting into the mountainous section so the days were getting tougher. One of my favorite days was actually hiking the Saddleback ridge but the wind was blowing us around like rag dolls and it was hard to enjoy it.
At the end of the day we found some cool caves to explore right by the lean-to. We also met a NOBO fresh out of Rangely who gave us an extra turkey sub trail magic we saved for lunch the next day - I firmly believe it’s the reason we were able to pull off our first 19 mile day.
Despite the fact we had a great couple days, I was defeated about day 7 out from Stratton. We had just descended a really steep mountain the day before to immediately climb the most deceiving little mountain yet. I was done for and wouldn’t have made it into camp that night if Drew hadn’t been so supportive.
We met a couple with a dog that day (more SOBOs) and decided to go into Andover with them just to get a hot lunch. It was the best decision we made that day. I had a Philly cheese steak that was delicious! Much better than the one we had in Philly. I think it gave me the reboot I needed because we made it the rest of the way to Gorham a day early! (The fact we wanted to catch the World Cup helped light a fire under our butts a little too).
We met The Wizard on our way out of Andover, a charming fellow with what looked like a part dog, part bear for a pet. He had thru - hiked in 2010.
Our last bit of Maine I felt really strong and like I was getting the hang of this hiking thing. We stuck with the other couple and their dog and started consistently doing 14 - 16 mile days.
The Mahoosuc notch was a blast and the perfect way to end our month in Maine. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, the “hardest mile of the whole AT” was so much fun. I would do it again tomorrow if I could. There was still ice and snow in some of the caves, I was able to peg Drew with a snowball - which he caught and threw it promptly right back!
Man did it feel good to get out of Maine. The trail changed slowly the closer we got to the border but I think just knowing we had one complete state under our belts is what made us feel the best. We started a game of blaming every little thing that went wrong on the state. We are giving it a bad rap, Maine is truly beautiful and I’d love to come back to visit the costal cities and ski maybe. But it’ll take a lot to get me to hike there again.
We stealth camped with the other couple and their dog just outside of town so we could get an early start and a proper breakfast! We had our first real encounter with wildlife that night (it only took 300 miles!) We were rudely awoken about 2:30 am by a coyote howling about 50 feet from our tents! I’m not sure how many were out there but the guys went out with their headlamps and trekking poles to scare them away. All was well but it left us on edge the rest of the night.
We had a wonderfully big mail drop waiting for us at the Gorham post office! Some were boxes we beat to Stratton and had to forward to Gorham but they finally arrived! Thank you everyone who sent us something! We LOVE receiving mail and knowing you are following us and supporting our adventure. :D
Because of all our mail, we only needed about half as much food as we thought, so we made the trip to the Gorham Walmart - our first big chain supermarket in over a month! Talk about overwhelming!! That is something I do not miss by being out here.
Onward to the White mountains and Hanover!