It’s our second day in Maine today, and though I was happy to cross the New Hampshire/Maine border, I have to say that I’m ready for the finish. If Matt were writing this, he’d title it, “So close, yet so far.” We are sitting about 250 miles from Mt. Katahdin, which is about two weeks of hiking or less. In normal life, less than two weeks goes by in the blink of an eye, but on the trail, two weeks seems like an eternity. As Rusty said, another hiker finishing his thru-hike this year, one day out here is like four days in real life.
Why am I a Maine-iac? In short, yesterday I was a she-devil. It was one of my worst days on the trail. We were still in NH just yesterday morning, it was a wet, cold day, and we were walking about a mile and a half an hour through rocky, wet, muddy terrain. The pace was so painstakingly slow, it was driving me crazy. Up until New Hampshire, we would walk three to three and a half miles an hour. I was also just so tired of being damp, dirty and overall at a disgusting level of hygiene. I was ready to quit and get off on the next road, and I didn’t care what anyone thought of me getting off the trail so close to the end. I knew entering Maine would still be difficult hiking, but I just didn’t want to accept it.
The other reason I’m a Maine-iac is because I’ve had a mental wrestling match for the last two days that probably won’t end until the last couple of days. My mind is torn between wanting to finish as fast as possible by doing as many miles as possible each day, yet keeping within my mental and physical limits in order to avoid a breakdown. I’d rather not reach the end having gone crazy the ten days leading up to it, and then leave the trail hating all of it and never appreciating the final moments of summiting Mt. Katahdin.
These past few days have been such slow hiking that it hasn’t been an option to do as many miles as possible. The only option has been to get up early, get in what we can with the terrain being so difficult, and then just be happy with whatever miles we covered by the end of the day. It’s a hard reality to accept while still wishing to just be finished, and an even harder reality that the only thing that will bring the end that much closer is to just keep walking.