These got swept under the rug for a while, but February 4th I completed my coast to coast objective, making it into the Pacific Ocean at Dunes Park Beach in San Diego, CA.
In addition, I somewhat recently made it to the CDT aswell. Hit the Southern Terminus on March 2nd, walked to Lordsburg NM, and took off to Utah to wait and give the San Juans a chance to melt a little bit by the time I get there in May.
By the time this goes out I ought to be back to hiking on the CDT, but I have been tooling around Southwestern UT for a few weeks now, mostly focused on resting and learning to rock climb.
The first of the road-walks between the AT and the NCT was mostly uneventful, I set myself up to cross NH in a day (up at the skinny point) and it worked pretty well. I even got a sort of pseudo homestay just inside VT, a guy I met at a pizza place pointed me to his cabin and I hitched out to it from near the NH/VT border. Got a little lost and tried to hitch to somewhere I knew where was, and got even more lost. (I wasn’t carrying very good maps for this bit, and no tablet or GPS enabled device yet either) then got righted by some college age kids. (maybe younger?) Even with that misadventure though I put down the road mileage pretty fast.
From the LT’s northern terminus, you can see this ten-foot wide swath cut into the woods as the only thing separating the Canada from the US, there are some pylons noting the Treaty of Washington, which without googling, I would guess is the document that formally specifies the border’s location geographically, maybe some other stuff too. Heading south, the LT is about as tough as anything the AT had to offer, save the notches. I was lucky in that I saw little rainfall, which drastically helped the mud situation, even so there were a few deep mud pits. (I was able to stick a trekking pole down to my wrist, and I didn’t try for much farther…) Overall however only one day dropped me below 20 miles per day, and that was because I happened upon a mountaintop wedding, and decided to stick around and watch,which then turned into cowboy camping on the deck of a ski chalet. In a bit of a moment where worlds collide, the wedding was for a friend of a friend of Dosu Kinuta, an AT thru-hiker I had brushed elbows with. (My parents gave him trail magic while they were slack packing me.) I got his contact info and was told he was gonna finish the LT NoBo starting in a week or so. We missed one another, (and pretty narrowly I think) as he was getting back on really close to when I was getting off.
Overall the LT was really pleasant, a nice change of pace from the relative hustle and bustle of the AT, I had a lot of nice simple interactions with folks on trail. Even got a homestay from a couple, Root and Woven, who were almost done with their NoBo and happened to live on a homestead really close to my route, and at a really convenient midway point, enabling me to make it between the LT and NCT without any stealth camping, which is a plus. Most nights on the LT had a few people around, there were some college outdoor clubs out in force, and my last night I got to spend some campfire time with a few people, including two musical vagabonds, and someone involved in the administration of the LT. Which lent an additional positive light to my memories of VT, and maybe elevated it to my favorite of the eastern states. On my little bit of road-walk between the LT and NCT I also ran into Transplant’s father, whom I had briefly met on Katahdin, I had to decline his offer of a ride, but he gave me some advice on where to find food in Middlebury. I also ate many Maple Creemees on the way, and was able to make Crown Point without too much trouble, though I did have to hurry a bit going forwards.
Returning to trail after finishing the AT was at once wonderful, and very melancholy. Taking my time and sparing no side trail I worked my way through the hundred mile wilderness much slower than before, taking eight nights to my previous run’s two. I was able to help out a couple south-bounders just starting out, gave one some food after he ran out near the end. In the course of a day I found about four thirds of a trekking pole, for a complete extra, (It was even a carbon fiber pole with flick-locks!) only to find someone who had snapped a trekking pole. I had matching parts so I fixed their pole on the condition that they carry out the broken pole sections I had packed up while scavenging out their replacement sections. The hundred mile wilderness is one of the best sections of the AT, (VT to ME is the best quarter of the AT in my opinion) and if you know where to look there are a couple AMC huts that gave me pretty easy work-for-stays even. The other side of the return trip, is that every time I meet up with one of my friends I had passed, it’ll probably be the last time we see one another. All the registers are filled with the parting thoughts from friends since finished, many of whom I had missed entirely. I certainly had a longer good-bye to the AT than was I was immediately ready for. (Although, looking back on it I remember it very fondly, but at the time it was bittersweet.)
Managed to serendipitously run into Desolation Row, and Baby Blue. The second father child pair, (two twelve-year-old kids did the AT in one year. So no excuses if you really wanna do it.) this time the twelve year old in tow was his daughter, we swam in one of the hundred miles’ many lakes and caught up for a while. Also met Little Bird, whom I had briefly met on my way North. She had attempted a thru 2 years prior, and broken her wrist, she came out the following summer to finish and caught Lyme’s disease. This year she was finally going to make it. She lives on the North Country Trail (NCT) so she’ll come up later on.
SoBo out of the hundred I stayed at Shaw’s, and for quite a while, there was a bit of ration difficulty. I had a resupply box sent there for me to pick up on the way north, but since my parents met me earlier I had no need for it, and resolved to use it on the return trip. The resupply never showed up, it should’ve been there even a week or two before. I waited a couple days, (The town vortex at Shaw’s was strong, and I got along pretty well with Poet and Hippie Chick) then caught a ride out to a decent grocery store for a real resupply. Getting a hitch back took a while, but it was worth it, I ended up getting picked up by a 2002 thru-hiker, Machine, after hiking he’d become an organic farmer, and hooked me up with a whole bunch of fresh veggies! Lots of beans, peppers, and celery. I read Orange is the New Black, (found in the hundred miles) watched the Perseids and in general just relaxed a lot, dropping to about 20 miles per day before finally making Stratton, ME where I would drop from the AT and cut west for the north end of the LT. Changing my life style into Road walk, stealth camping, and getting eyed by the border patrol agents zooming around.