Written By: Emily "Lightning" Ginger
I felt like I was tapping into a family treasure as I crossed Franconia Ridge in the White Mountains of New Hampshire (my father's family has a long history of visiting this area, starting back in the 1970's). The views from on top of the ridge were astounding and when I reached the very top of Lafayette (one of the mountain peaks along the ridge line) I stood there frozen in awe and with my eyes tearing up I said outloud to myself "I am happy to have walked 1800 miles just to see these views." I really understand now why my grandparents and extended family hold the Appalachian Trail in such high regard.
The terrain in the White Mountains is hard because you walk straight up and straight down steep mountains (our hiking speed was cut in half!), but the pristine land was some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. If there is one place on the trail that I will definitely return to, it's the White Mountains. I just hope that when I return I can do long day hikes and not have to carry 35 lbs on my back. Hiking without all the weight on my back makes hiking more enjoyable.
I can't believe that we have already passed through the White Mountains- I have been looking forward to them for four months and it all passed by too quickly. We are currently hiking in the last state that the AT crosses- Maine. I have been to Maine once in my life, when I was 9 years old and I remember it as my favorite family camping trip. I can't believe that we are finally here!!! Unfortunately, Maine marks the end of our trip and it's hard for me to imagine what it will be like to be sitting in a lecture hall three weeks from now, surrounded by a concrete jungle. As much as I want to complete this adventure (and not have to fill a mileage quota everyday) I don't want it to end. Perhaps I need to find a different place to live than Chicago, somewhere that I have better access to nature and hiking. I hope my transition back home goes well and that I'm able to recall these beautiful views in my mind when I'm missing them.