AT NH Day 3: I Live in the Wilderness, I Just Vacation in the Real World

Trapper John Shelter – NH 25A
16.8 miles
We noticed a very distinct difference between the PCT and AT when we got up this morning: we were the first ones up. On the PCT we were some of the later risers, but this morning no one else in camp was stirring yet when we started packing up. We hiked out at exactly 6:30 and did see Tadpole and Survivor packing up as we left. We started the day with a quick climb up from the shelter, and then had a nice descent to a road. The morning was super misty which looked really cool, but I hoped it would clear before we got to the first view points.

We debated eating breakfast at a parking area, but then I decided we should climb up to the first lookout and eat there. Of course, as soon as I started climbing my stomach began growling angrily, unhappy with me for passing up a chance to eat. It was well worth it when we got to the view point though. We got to sit on a slab of rock to eat with a sweeping view of mountains all around.

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AT NH Day 2: Gummies and Glowworm Go Home

Hanover – Trapper John Shelter
16.1 miles
I slept like a rock in our comfy Airbnb bed last night, and woke up feeling rested and ready to hit the trail. Before leaving, we had breakfast with our host Jeff and got to meet some of the other Airbnb guests, which was really nice. We dropped our car off at a lot in town, walked maybe about a mile on the road to get to the place where the trail leaves town, and started hiking.

Gummies and Glowworm back in action!

As we were headed out of town, we met some more thru hikers named Survivor and Tadpole who we leapfrogged with a bit. There was some climbing to start off (the rule that there’s always a climb out of town still holds), but after that the trail was super chill for a while, which was quite nice to get us warmed up and back into the swing of things.

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AT NH Day 1: Terra incognita

VT/NH border – Mile 1750.4
~1.4 miles
Well, this trip started out in possibly the most classic way possible – with grief caused by the United States Postal System.
Our original plan had been to leave home early Saturday morning and drive most of the way to our starting point in Hanover, New Hampshire, stopping just an hour short for the night at an Airbnb, and continuing on to Hanover early Sunday morning. However, while getting ready for work on Thursday morning, I was suddenly struck by a thought. We had packages at the Hanover post office. And we would be arriving in town on a Sunday. The post office closes up for the weekend at 12:30 on Saturday.
We scrambled to come up with a new plan, which had us leaving after work on Friday and driving into the night, stopping at a rest area somewhere in Maine a little after midnight. We initially parked our car directly in front of a “no camping or overnight parking” sign, but then moved to a spot farther from the sign, but where overnight parking was definitely no more allowed. However, my logic was that since it was already early Saturday morning by the time we arrived, it was just a long break where we happened to nap.

Our ability to adapt to the sudden changing of plans brought me right back to the PCT. I definitely have my journey there to thank for the way I can now go with the flow with relatively small amounts of worry. Changing plans, jumping into new things, exploring new places… Terra incognita.

I got some surprisingly high quality sleep in the leaned back passenger seat of our hatchback, waking up at 5am to make the rest of the drive. We made fantastic time and ended up arriving in Hanover at 10am, with plenty of time to spare before the post office closed.

First meal on trail : breakfast at Lou’s! They also have thru-hiker-worthy sized pancakes.

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THE CAFFEINATED HIKER RETURNS

Greetings blog followers! I apologize for my almost year and a half of silence. Life after the PCT has been weird and exciting and amazing and really, really hard.

Here’s the Sparknotes update: After a long and difficult 7 months of long-distance, Gummies finally moved to Canada with me at the end of May 2018. We got married on July 21, 2018, and about one month afterwards, relocated from Ontario to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where Gummies is currently pursuing his masters degree in urban planning. About one year after he moved here, we received the exciting news that he had been approved to become a permanent resident of Canada!

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Wedding photo by the amazing and lovely SN Photography.

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What I Ate on The PCT – A Horror Story

Food. Thoughts of it will consume your mind on a long hike. When will you eat next? What will you eat next? How soon is it acceptable to stop for lunch after stopping for breakfast? How can I fit as many calories as possible into my body during one sitting? How can I make the instant mashed potatoes that I have for dinner tonight somewhat bearable?

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A fairly typical resupply.

When I was researching and preparing for my thru-hike, I really enjoyed and found it very helpful to read posts where people laid out the kinds of things they ate on their own hikes. This year’s class of thru-hikers are currently feverishly preparing to set off on their journeys, so I decided to try and be semi-helpful and write a food post of my own. Plus, I just really like talking about food. Below, I’ll write a blurb about what I typically ate for each meal, as well as my final thoughts on my food strategy and if I would eat the same shit on my next hike.

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A taste of the horrors that lie ahead: this is a tortilla with peanut butter and mayonnaise. 

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The Great PCT Love Story

So… I am here to break my month-long silence with some news. About three weeks ago, I drove down to Indianapolis (a long 11-hour trip) to spend Thanksgiving with Gummies and his family. It was a lovely few days, spent eating delicious food with family, celebrating the transition from fall to the Christmas season, and just enjoying time with my love. It was also a rather exciting few days, because on November 24, following a thrilling Toronto Raptors/Indiana Pacers game (where I may or may not have found myself excitedly cheering for the Pacers… sorry, hometown), Gummies suggested we walk over to the downtown Circle to see the big Christmas tree that had just been lit, where he knelt down and asked me to marry him (!!!!).

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Every Problem Feels Smaller in the Woods

Hello again, friends. It’s been another month since I’ve last posted, and it feels like my plans for the future have changed about every other day during the course of that month. I spent most of the time between my last post and now in Indianapolis, staying with Gummies and his family, which was lovely, but slightly tinged with sadness. When I stepped on the plane in Toronto, it was still with the hope that Gummies and I would be returning to Canada together, where he would be staying on a somewhat permanent basis. Well, within the first couple days of my visit, the universe decided to remind us of probably the most important lesson we learned on the trail: life doesn’t often go to plan.

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