New Hampshire has crossed my mind about a total of twice in my lifetime. Now I am leaving the state tomorrow, and it's bittersweet. I had no idea how mountainous and beautiful this state is.
I have seen an Ivy League school, vertical rock climbs that last for miles, picturesque sunsets upon mountains, the most amazing stars peaking through mountain fog in the middle of the night, sunrises through dense clouds with 50 mph morning wind, long waterfalls, ice cold swimming holes, treacherous downhill climbs, presidential mountains, and warnings of death due to the worst weather in America.
New Hampshire is now home to the most difficult hiking I have ever known. I have fallen on my ass and my head more in the last 8 days than I have in the previous 133. The amount of miles I have been physically able to do has been cut by a third. It is humbling.
It is also so rewarding. The environment is so cool. The mountains are so grand and bare due to the elevation that you can see for miles. It's like looking into the past. As you look behind you, you see the mountains you have previously conquered in the past 2 or 3 days. It looks like they are RIGHT THERE! Yet it's three full days of hiking ago. It gives you a great sense of accomplishment.
So it is with a great sense of sadness and relief that I am heading into Maine. New Hampshire has definitely moved up my list of favorite states. Now I'm ready to see what the last and arguably most beautiful state of the Appalachian Trail has to offer. Let the good times keep on rollin'.