START: Pine Ellis Lodge, Andover
FINISH: Pinkham Notch
DISTANCE: 62 miles (99.8 km)
DAILY AVERAGE: 31 miles (49.9 km)
TOTAL DISTANCE: 318.7 miles (512.8 km)
With Hurricane Sandy almost upon me, I decided a couple of huge days were needed in order to get a few extra miles under my belt before a likely weather-induced break. The goal was to reach Pinkham Notch by Sunday night. Two days; 62 miles. Under normal conditions this wouldn’t be too much of a problem. However, Maine/New Hampshire in late October is no walk in the proverbial park. With knee-crunchingly steep ascents and descents, combined with a myriad of rocks and roots all of which are presently slipperier than a Swiss banker post 1945, the going is exceedingly slow. Two miles an hour in these conditions is verily flying! Nonetheless, with less than three hours sleep under my belt and more weary than a Cuban national who has listened to one of Fidel Castro’s marathon speeches (did he give any other type?), I shuffled into Pinkham Notch Sunday evening just in time for the AYCE dinner. A fitting (or is that filling?) reward for a very tough stretch.