easiest route, which was down the 19 Mile Brook Trail. Boy, what a joy
that was! Apparently, there are 'normal' hiking trails in the Whites.
Instead of scrambling up and down rock ledges and giant boulders, the
trail simply followed along beside the brook for 4 miles until it
reached the trailhead at Rt 16. There were a couple of rocky places,
and I did feel my knee when stepping down from rock to rock, but all
in all it was a comfortable walk.
It is getting close to the end of August now. There is probably 7
weeks left in the thru-hiking season; that is, there are about 7 weeks
left before snow and ice descend on Katahdin and the Baxter Park
rangers will no longer allow hikers to make the climb. I am trying to
figure out if it is worth making one more attempt to finish this hike.
I could take as much as another two weeks off to rest up my knees, and
assuming my knees are back in hiking shape should still have enough
time to finish the hike well before October 15.
Pushing my hike into the end of the season does present some
challenges. It gets cold in northern Maine in October, so I will have
to carry my heavier sleeping bag, and warmer clothes. And the days get
shorter, whivh means less hours and thus fewer miles in a given day.
But cold weather also means fewer bugs, and fall in New England is
glorious; at least, it is if it doesn't bring day after day of cold
It also means breaking my promise to Jodi to be finished hiking by the
middle of September. She says she is willing to make that sacrifice
for me. She's a pretty great wife, isn't she?! And I have promised to
be somewhere with my daughter Anju on September 21, so that would
necessitate another break from the trail.
Nothing has been decided yet, but these are the things I am thinking
about today. These last weeks sure have been frustrating. This is not
at all how I envisioned my hike ending. All this starting and
stalling! I keep thinking back to Virginia, when I could get up in the
morning, walk for 8 hours, and chalk up another 20 miles. It was all
so easy then!