Saturday–October 9, 2021
Location–Cloudland Road (458.6) to VT-12 (465.3) then back to Hanover Adventure Tours Hostel, Norwich, Vermont, Kimberly Chambers, Proprietor, MaKensi Kastl, Hostel Mgr.
Rested till noon today, catching up on journal entries and correspondence. Additional rest for my weary body also of great benefit. It’s 12:30 before Barry gets us (Kitchen Sink and me) back on trail.
Comparing trail today to trail yesterday, there could not be more diverse conditions–boulders, rocks and roots in New Hampshire, duff and dirt in Vermont. Just amazing contrast; I’m glad to be taking the duff and dirt!
Plenty of climbing today, in excess of 2,000 feet, but relatively easy going up and down gradual inclines through dark woods, open forests and rolling fields. Less than four hours to hike the 6+ miles. Not many longer remain.
Barry is right at day’s end to fetch us back to Hanover. A stop at the Co-op on the way so Kitchen Sink can get makings for his specialty burgers. Great meal. Good company. Fine evening…
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Friday–October 8, 2021
Location–Eliza Brook Shelter (381.9) southbound to NH-112 Kinsman Notch (389.4), then back to Hanover Adventure Tours Hostel, Norwich, Vermont, Kimberly Chambers, Proprietor, MaKensi Kastl, Hostel Mgr.
I’ve spent many-a-night in trail shelters, but I can’t recall ever sleeping in one anywhere as soundly as last night.
The femoral muscle is one of the strongest muscles in the body. It covers the anterior aspect of the femur. It functions in extending the leg at the knee and stabilizes the hip joint, aiding in the flexion of the thigh. A kind of important muscle as to hiking, especially climbing! It’s this leg muscle I injured in the hard fall sustained yesterday coming off South Kinsman. A pitiful sight I’m sure, Odie & Kitchen Sink, watching me hobble my way along. Ahh, but as my good fortune would have it, Odie so happens to have a tube of 5% Lidocaine Ointment in his pack. A few application of the ointment, plus some Vitamin I (ibuprofin) and I’m good. I’m suffering minimal pain and stiffness this morning. What a blessing!
From the shelter, we’ve a thousand-foot+ climb up and over Mt. Wolf. From there, down to Kinsman Notch, another thousand or so of vertical elevation change in the process. This difficult going makes for another nine-hour day to cover less than eight miles. Mercifully, I’ve suffered minimally from the leg injury sustained yesterday. Also, the steroid injection by Dr. Gregory is taking effect. So, all considered, a very good day on the trail!
And the good progress of this journey, Odyssey 2021 Bama to Baxter – Hike On, despite setbacks, continues amazingly well. I’ve now hiked 2,300 miles of this 2,600-mile journey with only 300 miles remaining. Of the 15 states I must cover, 12 have been completed: Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maine, New Hampshire, and all but a few short miles in New York. I’m into Vermont now, that 150 miles. Then comes 90 in Massachusetts and 60 in Connecticut, and this trek will be successfully concluded! And these remaining miles? They’ll be easy going compared to the trail in Maine and New Hampshire. Barry will be supporting me now, until this odyssey is completed, likely the second week of November.
To conclude this day, another no-fun goodbye to Odie. He’ll be heading for Maine for a few days before returning to Alabama, where he’ll be preparing Hiker Yearbook 2021.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
(Neale Donald Walsch)
Thursday–October 7, 2021
Location–Liberty Springs Trailhead (I-93 – 373.1) southbound to Eliza Brook Shelter (381.9)
Unfinished business in the White Mountains of New Hampshire–the Kinsman twins and Mount Wolf. We’ve been waiting for two good days weather-wise to hike that 16+ miles. Today and tomorrow look good. So, plan is to head in there today.
From Hanover it’s right at a two-hour drive to Liberty Springs trailhead. So, we’re on our way at six in Odie‘s bus. Plan is to leave the bus at Liberty Springs and hike in from there. Barry will get Odie back to his bus tomorrow evening after we come down off Mount Wolf.
Odie, Kitchen Sink and me, we’ve packs shouldered and headed for North Kinsman at eight. More rocks, roots, and boulders first thing as we begin the 2,000+ foot climb. The early morning fog burns off makings for a perfect day–cool, cloud-free, glorious vistas.
From North Kinsman we’ve a short descent before heading up South Kinsman. I don’t recall these climbs being such a struggle 20+ years ago. But now, for this octogenarian, they’re a struggle, especially so, the treacherous, near-vertical descent off South Kinsman. Here, I concentrate, watch each foot placement. Total deliberation. No matter. I still suffer three tumbles. One, a dandy body banger. Slammed my left leg. Lots more skid marks to add to the ones I already have.
Late evening, we manage to reach Eliza Brook Shelter. Odie prepares a nourishing hot meal for me–and that’s it for this difficult and challenging day. On my little pad, back in the shelter corner, tucked down deep in my quilt–I’m gone…
Only those who dare to fail greatly
can ever achieve greatly.
(Robert F. Kennedy)