I almost made it to New Hampshire 

Yesterday I lay awake listening to the soft constant pour of rain. I packed up what I could but didn’t want to rush out too early knowing it would be even more challenging for Wye Knot to hike in the cloud covered darkness. The four of us where planning to hike out together to meet Batman so we all could slack pack to the New Hampshire border and start our zero day. The morning drizzle slowed our pace a little. Instead of a 6:30am departure we left at 7:20am. Wye Knot stayed cozied up in his hammock awhile longer waiting for more daylight. 

The rain did subside and it was a wonderful hike out even if the vegetation was wet. There were several spots where we were soaked from the tall grass and bushes towering over and brushing against us on both sides. We called these areas the car wash. We all could use a good rinsing anyways. 

Raspberries are almost gone by here in New Hampshire. We don’t hesitate to stop and pick some of nature’s trail Magic.  

When we arrived at West Hartford and Batman meet us as we were crossing the White River bridge. As we hiked on were heard the sweet sound of a bell ringing. We had been told earlier of a wonderful trail angel, Linda and her husband Randy who cook for hikers. She watches from here front porch and when she sees hikers on the bridge she beacons them over with her bell. Linda greeted us with a smile and informs us the coffee is ready.  

 She instructed us not to worry about the boots she will clean later. As we entered her new home, because the last one was washed away in a flood, Randy stands behind a gracious sized bar with a board full of freshly diced onions and asks if we like onions in our eggs. He goes right to work cracking farm fresh eggs and placing sausage patties  on to cook.  

 We all thought we had died and gone to heaven.  

 After full tummies and wonderful trail talk with Linda and Randy we dismounted  our stools and made room for the next wave of hikers who were making their way across the kitchen. 

Back at the van there were now five of us who were going to leave most of our gear with Batman and enjoy yet another day of slack packing. I joke and say how I am not a “fisher of men” but a “fisher of hikers” who I bring over to the “lighter” side. I  am always meeting new hikers who are grateful for Batman and his services. Wye Knot caught up to the van before it departed and he was able to throw his gear in as well. Batman drove ahead to Norwich, VT to meet us at Elm Street where some of the hikers would reclaim their gear. 

Next Year, Seneca, Wye Knot and myself had plans to hike to mile 1746.5 and zero. The guys were going to stay in a hotel in Hanover and Batman and myself were going to a place a hotel in Lebanon. But when we arrived at Elm street there was a nice display of coolers with soda and other containers with hiker needs beside the road at a driveway. The three of us dropped our packs for a rest and beverage. Wye Knot was still behind. We only had 3.7 miles of the longest stretch of road walking on the AT. As we reclined and rehydrated a very nice gentleman came down from the driveway. We thanked him but he quickly said it wasn’t his doing he lived down the street but that the owners of that house and himself take in hikers for free. Wow!!! Well, the guys canceled their hotel reservation and booked two nights at 272 Elm Street. I still went with Batman but planned to join the guys tonight since Batman needs to go on another business trip. 

So we didn’t make it to NH as planned. We were just overcome with trail magic and the generosity of complete strangers. The border will have to wait. We did need to walk a mile down to the car where Batman had parked. Along that section of trail which was a road were at least 4 other homes that had coolers out front for hikers. It was so awesome. I checked each one of them out. 

Batman and I stayed at the Element hotel which was very nice. I dried all my gear, washed all my clothes and resupplied. Had a great meal last night and breakfast this morning. I am a little more rested. This week has been tough. I am getting tired and worn out. But that seems to be the norm. Apostle Paul even wrote in his book, Hiking Thru “the climbs are either getting tougher or I am getting weaker. I am 63 miles from Mt. Washington.   …I don’t know how I will feel when I am closer to done with this hike, but right now I am so ready to be done. I am just completely worn out right now. Some good news, though, only 398.5 miles left. Just a little walk in the park.”  Even more good news, I only have 444.6 left. 

Some things that keep me focused are 

1) I have set a goal and will attain it

2) All of you my followers of my blog, my family, and my friends, who have cheered me on and prayed for me.  

3) my fellow hikers who have hiked before, hiked on, are with me currently and or are behind me. 

4) All the trail surprises that are hard to explain. 

5) Nature

I am off to enjoy the rest of my zero day doing nothing. 

Happy Hiking

Emily M. Leonard

About Emily M. Leonard

I am a 50 year old Maine native and lover of the outdoors. Former Physical Education teacher and soccer coach. I am Married to the best husband ever and gave up teaching and coaching to raise our two wonderful sons. I have always enjoyed being outside and on the go.