Aug 25 It was slow going this morning as my knees were in such a bad state of stiffness and pain. I have begun to get worried about my end date to summit Mount Kahatadin. I have know since June that my son Kevin is running his first marathon on September 23 in Ely, MN. I had picked a summit date originally as September 15th, but with the Cape Cod adventure and low miles through the White Mountains I now have a September 21st deadline. When I have talked to various hikers about this some have told me he will understand if I don’t get home. This is unacceptable to me and I know that somehow, I now have to find it within me once I am through the Whites to do 20 miles a day.
It feels overwhelming as the terrain is anything but friendly. At one point in time I thought I had seen the worst that this trail has to offer and as every day goes by and the trail is harder and harder it only brings me fear.
So, for today I must only look at the next step I need to take and not look at the larger picture of the next 4 1/2 weeks. I also got back all my winter gear and my pack is so much heavier. I don’t think that this would have been an issue a month ago, but I can sense that my body isn’t as strong as it used to be. At night when I lay down in my tent and my hand rests on my thigh, I can actually feel how skinny my legs are becoming. I have begun to dread going up hill when at one time it was actually fun to feel my muscles working. Now they are just straining and feeling exhausted. When I finally reach the summits now and look back it is with awe that I think a short time ago I was back there. It looks like an impossibility that I was there an hour ago.
I fell yesterday going down a large rock. I ended up scratching my arm on a pine tree that had broken branches. It is red and a little swollen today. I also have 2 blisters on my right foot on the toes. I am so glad that I am catching a break with the meals at the huts that hikers can take advantage of in the Whites. I had free pancakes and lemonade, coconut cake and tea at the Zealand Falls Hut.
Aug 26-28 Being on the trail I have forgotten things back home. Like the fact my husband Tom turned 60. I was able to call him the day before to wish him a happy birthday. Two days later I had cell service and called home to find out he had a surprise birthday party with the family and he thought I was in on the planning with my daughter, Andrea. I had to confess that I had no idea as 10 Bear laughed at me in the background. I’m sure this was no surprise to him as I have often forgotten our anniversary.
Tonight I discovered some sore red spots on my feet. I think I may have stepped on a poisonous plant the last two nights. I went out of my tent in the middle of the night without putting on my boots. That will teach me. I’m too close to the end to screw up my feet. I better be more careful.
Aug 29 I am having such a hard time opening my eyelids. It is like they are weighted down with lead. It is very hard to even describe. All I know is that I am awake, but my eyelids aren’t. It is like they are refusing to open just so they can stay in bed longer.
I have seen the forecast for today and it is going to be very windy. 10 Bear and I are on our way to Mt. Washington. It is the place on the trail that has the most extreme weather in the world. I’m not looking forward to today.