We slept so well in the little field in which we had set up camp. We woke up to an incredibly beautiful morning. The skies were clear. The sun is rising really early in the morning now.
By 9 am, we had hiked two miles. It is kind of hard to mentally accept the fact that there is no way to hike at the same speed we had been hiking in the south. The trail is extremely rocky. The fact that these trails have not yet seen the traffic that the tasks in the south have seen, the dust, rather the moss has yet to be knocked off the rocks. We have to be far more careful here. Ryan, Taylor, and Riley all fell at least once. I slipped several times but was able to catch myself.
We made our way up to Moose Mountain Shelter, by 10:30. We chose to stop and eat lunch there, since there was space to spread out there. The black flies are out in full force now. Mosquitos as well. Bug spray and bug nets are no longer an option, rather a necessity.
Here, in New Hampshire, steep cliffs and wide views are not uncommon.
We continued to hike throughout the afternoon. Throughout the afternoon, attitudes began to change. We had conversations with each of our kids, and though they couldn’t really explain the complexities of their emotions, it seemed as though we were teetering on a breakdown. Ryan made the decision to declare the end of our hike. No one objected.
We made our way to a small parking area that intersected with the road that led to Lyme, NH. We started down the road, beginning our three mile walk away from the trail. It was a very quiet walk, as we were all contemplating the meaning of what was unfolding. We were extremely grateful when the local Chief of Police picked us up and drove is to the Country Store in Lyme. When we arrived there, we called Ryan’s parents and asked them to come to pick us up. It seemed like we were doing the right thing, but the mood remained quite somber.
We had spent nearly a year planning this journey, and here we were faced with the fact that the journey had come to a close.
The emotional swing from morning to afternoon was inexplicable. The only consolation that could be found is that it seemed like we were not writing in a bad day.
Jeff and Carol finally arrived around 9:30pm. We are tired and hungry. No one really talked all that much. The conversations would begin the next morning.
If in fact, this was to be our last day in the trail… It would have at least been a beautiful day.