Thursday, September 14, 2017 (Day 135)
Woken by the sun, I rolled over on my side to face the east; to watch its golden glow wash the White Mountains in warmth and light and life.
I take note of the heavy clouds that lace their dark hands above me, collecting moisture in their pourous palms until it falls, drip, drip, dripping from between their swollen fingers. It is just a matter of time.
I have 11.6 miles to Pinkham Notch. There I plan to hitch to Gorham, to stay the night in a bed at The Barn hostel. It has been 13 days since my last shower.
Even though it was under 12 miles to the road, I had to move quickly. I have been averaging 1 mile per hour in the Whites. The sun sets so early. I needed plenty of daylight to secure a hitch.
I drank a hot cup of coffee, staring out in to the mountains and the light and the sun.
At 8 am I continued on my way along the Presidential Range towards Madison.
I watched as Madison rose in the distance. I stopped in at the hut at its base to fill up my water and eat leftover oatmeal.
It was beautiful.
The descent down from the Presidential Range was exhausting. My knees ached as the trail dropped thousands of feet within a span of a couple of miles. After finally reaching the bottom, I rested on the north side of a stream crossing and continued on.
I came to a spring. I crouched down in its puddle, pack still on, collected the cool liquid with my nalgene, and drank furiously, water dripping down my face. I felt wild, untamed, feral.
Soon I came to the road. I crossed and stuck out my thumb. I got a ride quickly. The driver was a kind man who admitted that he was sometimes hesitant about picking up hitchhikers. He dropped me at the curb in front of the hostel. I gathered my things and thanked him and headed inside.