8/29 New Hampshire! (18)

October 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm

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Today we actually got an early start!  This may be hard to believe for some of the people who know us and our lazy mornings, but we got going even before the notoriously early rising mayflies.  Nothing could slow us down today, though.  It is the day we reach New Hampshire!  We haven’t been able to convince most of our fellow hikers that ‘children of granite’ is the correct name for NH natives, but we probably have succeeded in convincing them that we love our home and its steep, mean mountains.

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We hurried downhill to West Hartford for a real hot breakfast and were greeted with enthusiasm by the rest of the trail family, who had stayed in someone’s shed last night.  We also finally met Marathon John!  After hearing about him since Georgia but never seeing him, we were beginning to assume he wasn’t real, but there he was in the flesh at the cafe.  We laughed about how many stories of each other we had heard and how we were only meeting now, at the brink of the second to last state.  After some good food, the quick flat hike to Hanover flew by.  On the road walk towards the bridge into New Hampshire, we heard a shout from behind us.  Limey and Greenlite were running towards us.

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“Chuckles and Spoon!  Wait up!”

We were so excited that they wanted to cross the state line with us, knowing how much it meant to us to be walking home.  Appreciation and affection for our comrades welled inside our chests as we watched them run towards us.  We greeted them with big smiles as they passed us and yelled “We’re going to beat you to New Hampshire!”  Then they sprinted towards the border.

After we realized we had been tricked and finished laughing, we tried to outrun them but their head start proved to be too much for us.  People stared at us from their cars as the four of us raced with backpacks towards the bridge, screaming.  Live Free or Die!!

We went out to lunch with our crew and First Gear’s aunt and uncle, and found Damselfly and Zeke along the way.  We wanted to stay in Hanover, but we knew we needed to keep going to hike home in time for our hiker feed, so our crew promised to catch up to us when we took time off at home, and we parted ways again, this time with Zeke and Damselfly in tow.

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Shortly out of town Damselfly, who has been a machine so far, stepped off a little bridge wrong and badly sprained her ankle.  We got her shoe off in time to watch it blow up like a football.  Fortunately, we were near enough to a road to get her out and headed back to Hanover in a friendly passerby’s car.  The three of us stealth camped in a band of pines near the road, feeling that our first night in New Hampshire was bittersweet, but grateful once again that we had been fortunate enough to make it this far without injury.