Everyone warned me.
The Whites will kick your butt.
I always knew the Whites would be difficult. I thought that after 1800 miles and 5 months, I would be ready.
I was so wrong.
My first day in the Whites, I found myself spread out on the rocks like a spider. I tightened every muscle in my body and couldn’t move an inch up the mountain.
I looked up at the rocky trail and cried. This wasn’t hiking- this was rock-climbing. I don’t remember signing up for this. I thought the Whites would require 100% of my energy. But, it’s more like they would require 110%.
I soon learned that 1 mile in the Whites = 2 miles everywhere else.
I talked to a friend, and decided to walk slower. In this terrain, 10 mile days would be okay. Nobody would say to me “Oh, you walked to Maine? How long did it take you? 6 months? Wow, you’re slow.”
(If anyone says that, they’ll get smacked with a hiking pole.)
The Whites were brutal and serene.
One day I held a Gray Jay in my hand. It ate granola out of my palm as I gazed upon the mountains. It was a beautiful sunny day.
48 hours later, I hiked over Mt Madison in 60 mph wind. It was like the ship-sinking scene in Titanic, but with less water. I fell 5 times, and luckily, was not injured.
Shelters disappear in the Whites, and are replaced by 8 huts (and several tent sites). Thru-hikers are allowed to sleep on the floor and eat leftovers in exchange for helping with chores. There’s so much that I want to say about the AMC and the hut system.. But I feel like I’m looking at an iceberg, and there’s so much that I don’t understand yet. Perhaps I can only see the tip of the iceberg.
I was lucky to get work-for-stays at several huts.. I was treated well, but watched hikers get rejected in bad weather. There’s nothing more heart-breaking than watching your friends tent outside in the cold rain, when there is a perfectly good floor inside. I don’t understand the logic. For that reason, the Whites felt like a playground for the rich. I felt like I was playing a game of musical chairs.
A Croo member on the rules: “Be nice first. Follow the rules second.”
But mostly, I was blessed with good weather, and good people. The Whites were a very special place.
I’m already blocking out all the bad memories. 60 mph wind? Bring it. It will only make me stronger.
I am a thru-hiker. We are tough.
When the world ends, it’ll just be cockroaches and thru-hikers sitting in a shelter talking about the bad weather.
Ok, I need to rest.
…Maine in 2 days!!
(Sorry, my pictures always upload in a funny order. Enjoy!!)