New Hampshire is coming. I will cross the Connecticut River into the "Live Free or Die" state tomorrow. I've been both looking forward to and worrying about the White Mountains for a long time.
It's going to take this old man a significant effort to get through the Whites by means of day hikes. I don't walk fast any more. I can't push off with my right foot because of the instant, then long-lasting pain that produces (arthritis? - the base of the right big toe is chronically swollen - the original condition is decades old). I have to baby my left ankle because of the 1984 broken bone there that the doctor chose to let heal with a bone fragment out of position. And I can't use my chronically bad left knee (Chondromalacia) for more than simple support - no hard pulling.
You get the idea - this old soldier has accumulated war wounds that slow him down. And the climbs that I face in the White Mountains will make or break this adventure. I won't know if I can do it until I get to it. The same was true for the four 30+ mile days I had to do in the Smokies. I wasn't sure if I could do it until I actually put leather to dirt, or in this case Carbon Rubber to granite.
One thing is fairly certain - it's going to take a long time for me to negotiate the White Mountains. So on a day like today, when the trail is smooth and fairly easy (no elevations above 1600 feet), I want to make some distance - did more than 20 miles today.
I will miss Vermont. As I posted a few days ago (the post titled 'X is for X-Factor'), Vermont has become my favorite Appalachian Trail state. It was more of the same today - not spectacular, just very pleasing. There were a few views from high meadows (almost like the balds of the south), and one pond. Otherwise I was in the woods all day, enjoying the warm but tolerable weather and the sights, sounds, and smells of summer.
Here's the little pond at Joe Ranger Road - no side trail to it - had to do a short bushwhack (it may be private property). The water lilies are in bloom:
Here's where the hiker can pause and take in a nice view, just south of West Hanover:
The forecast is for another beautiful day tomorrow. I hope to be on the trail early. New Hampshire awaits.
I didn't even mention the road walk through West Hartford and over the White River - always an interesting diversion. Here's the map of today's route, followed by the Elevation profile.