One State Down, Thirteen to Go!

31 Jul

ME-NH
So long Maine, nice knowing you!

Day 31, Mile 298

As you can see by the above picture, I have successfully made it out of Maine and into New Hampshire, or the Promised Land as we have been calling it out here. I rolled into NH yesterday about 9 AM and headed into Gorham to take a zero day before hitting the White Mountains, which many consider the hardest part of the trail.

The last few weeks of Maine were really tough. After the nice sunny weather I had in the Bigelows, the rain came back in and kept everything pretty soggy. The first four major mountains outside of Stratton (my last stop) were all boxed in with clouds, so I didn’t get any views. The terrain got a lot steeper too, with 1500 foot climbs almost every day. I have begun to start thinking about my days in units of “Empire State Buildings”—oh, I’m climbing 4000 feet today, that’s four Empire State Buildings. All this is to say, there were a few really crummy, hard, long days — but then views like this one make up for all that!

Bemis
Bemis Mountain

After days of rain we finally got some sun for Bemis Mountain, and it was awesome. That day had been a root/rock/mud-fest for the first 12 miles, and I was not in the best of spirits when Lightweight (a guy I was hiking with that day) and I popped up over a ridge and found a beautiful sunset waiting! It made the rest of the day worth it.

The last stretch of the trail in Maine goes over the Mahoosuc Range, what many consider the hardest, toughest, ruggedest stretch of trail on the entire AT. Time and time again, Northbounders have told me that once I am past the Mahoosucs I am golden, and now having done them I sure hope they’re right! The Mahoosucs were tough, really tough. Along with the steep and long climbs, in the middle of the range is the infamous Mahoosuc Notch, a mile of house-sized boulders that you climb over, under, around, and through.

Mahoosuc Notch
A Typical Portion of Trail in the Mahoosuc Notch

Their difficulty really took it out of me, and I was exhausted at the end of every day, but they had some very rewarding parts as well, including long stretches of trail above treeline and views into New Hampshire. Climbing Old Speck was definitely the hardest thing I have done yet on the AT, and the whole way up I kept telling myself that I need to carry less weight! But I made it to the top and got an awesome view into New Hampshire and the White Mountains.

Old Speck - NH
View from Old Speck

Speck Pond
Speck Pond at Sunset

On my last night in Maine I got an addition to my trailname. I was talking to a northbounder about how I have had so many gear problems and that my nifty little alcohol stove (yes, it actually runs on alcohol!) was actually my third stove so far. He looked at me and said, “Three stoves in three hundred miles? At this rate you’ll have been through 20 by the time you make it to Georgia! You should be called Three Stove!” I thought it over and decided that it fit, so I’m now officially “Three Stove Tex.” It’s a good thing too, since I’ve met a lot of northbound Texans out here all called “Tex,” so I need something to distinguish myself!

I’m off to begin tackling the White Mountains tomorrow! Thanks to everyone who has read/commented/emailed/called, it’s really pulled me through. I miss everyone lots!

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11 Responses to “One State Down, Thirteen to Go!”

  1. uncle Craig September 15, 2009 at 5:10 pm #

    I give u 2more days in NY then its NJ. Don’t drink the water. Breathing the air is bad enuff. Waste no time there for your health.

  2. uncle Craig September 15, 2009 at 5:00 pm #

    Thanks for the landmark. wish u wood do that daily for tracking. AT map I have is not great but bing map give birds eye view. Gonna check now

  3. uncle Craig September 10, 2009 at 5:08 pm #

    Don’t let a few cows slow you down. Good thing ur on a “long hike” and not “THE LONG WALK”! You can slow down and take time off, no one is going to execute you for being slow. Enjoy NYC. The empire state will take a week to get thru. Pa is going to be 3.

  4. uncle Craig September 8, 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    sept 8, stop lollygagging. expect u2b in empire state tomorrow evening if not earlier.

  5. rachface August 14, 2009 at 12:00 am #

    so….clearly i am a terrible friend, and i missed the address, again. so….can you give me an updated address for the next couple of places? or just post them when you know them? because in less than 2 weeks i will be sitting in my boston apartment with all the time in the world, perfect for sending lots of letters and packages.

    oh, but guess what? we can hang out before then, because you will be in Dallas, and I will too! home sweet home. miss you bobert.

  6. william zimmerman August 13, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    hey robert. just catching up on your expedition. looks like you’re doing okay. take it easy.

  7. David Leverenz August 6, 2009 at 2:58 pm #

    Man. Enjoy God’s creation. I have a feeling this blog might pull ME through med school. This is pretty inspirational stuff.

  8. Claire August 4, 2009 at 10:19 pm #

    Keep on keepin’ on Rober…er. Three Stove Tex. Sounds so fun! Happy trails to your hiking feet!

  9. Rachel Beil August 3, 2009 at 4:49 pm #

    Glad you made it through Maine! I was just in the Alps last week doing some light hiking and I cannot imagine climbing through places like Mahoosue Notch, but I can imagine why you would continue on…enjoy the breathtaking views and persistent tranquility. Happy thinking and happy hiking, Three Stove Tex!

  10. Ryan Maxwell August 2, 2009 at 3:53 pm #

    Wow! I can’t imagine going over those boulders with a huge backpack on! Good job Three Stove Tex!

  11. Ryan Maxwell August 1, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    awesome pictures, dude. i am jeeeeeaalous. will continue to pray for your body to not rebel and your spirit to remain strong.

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