Day 139-140: Last one to Katahdin Wins

Day 139 – Driving back to the trail

Day 140 Route 9 (Bennington) to Black Brook
Miles Hiked: 21.6
AT Milage: 1634.4

On Saturday my parents drove me from Ohio to Bennington, VT. We stopped at Niagra Falls for a quick visit on the way. It was really pretty but insanely busy because of the holiday weekend.On Sunday I woke up at 6:30am got ready for the trail and was dropped off at 8:30am. I barely touched my breakfast because I was so nervous about getting back on. I think it’s a combination of losing my hiker hunger and being nervous, but I’ve definitely lost my appetite this week. The morning air was really chilly and my lungs burned because they were not used to it, but I warmed up quickly because my first day on trail started with a 10 mile uphill hike! My parents were slackpacking me today and we agreed to meet at a spot 22 miles away from the start. There are very few road crossings in this remote section of the trail. There was only one other option for them to meet me at 20 miles.As I was hiking my feet were hurting really bad and I was feeling awfully sore. Hopefully it is just an adjustment to hiking again after little activity. Before I reached the ten Mile mark on top of Glastonbury mountain, my right hip started hurting. It felt like I pulled a muscle but I also know that my hip flexor muscles are one of my biggest weaknesses. I worked really hard to strengthen them before I started the trail in March, and I would think after walking so far they would be a lot stronger. Apparently three weeks of rest made them weak again.On top of Glastonbury mountain I climbed the fire tower. The view from the top was amazing, and another hiker told me it was supposed to be a view that included the most wilderness on the long trail. If you’ve forgotten, the AT and the Long Trail overlap for about 100 miles until they split at “main junction”. At that point, one can hike a little less than 200 miles to the Canadian border or about 500 miles to Katahdin. I was really worried I wouldn’t see very many hikers on the trail anymore because I am so far behind everyone and pushing a weather deadline. I met three other NOBO hikers today so that was surprising! There are definitely less people though.After Glastonbury mountain, I had a mostly downhill hike. My hip however, jut kept getting worse and worse. Eventually I could barely pick up my leg and I was mostly dragging it along. Whenever I had to pick it up to go over a big rock, I was grunting and leaning backwards just to get my knee high enough. I was really upset about how I was already having a problem with my body again after so much rest. I decided to call my parents and have them meet me at the 20 mile spot instead of 22 because I was hurting so bad and I wanted to give them more time to drive to their hotel tonight. I was hiking so slow because I was hurting.Eventually, I finally met up with them. I was so happy to stop moving for a little bit and eat a veggie burger they got me for dinner.

After sitting down for a while ad taking a rest, my hip felt much better and I could actually pick up my leg! I think I just needed to rest it, a good night of sleep should help. I packed up my bag and we said our goodbyes. I was really really sad to say goodbye. The 3.5 weeks I was home recovering from my foot, was the longest I have ever been home since I graduated high school. I know I am going to be really homesick now.

After I left my parents, I hiked one more mile to a bridge over a large stream where I set up my tent at a campsite next to a hiker named “Montana Jesus” or MJ for short. I struggled really hard to hang my bear bag. I ended up hanging it off the bridge over the creek. I was so happy to lay down and listen to the babbling brook as I fell asleep. Tomorrow I plan to definitely hike less than 20 miles but I will stop whenever my hip is hurting too bad. Today was a rough first day, but I’m happy I’m not the only NOBO left out here!

Happy Trails,

Early Bird

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