Well we’ve completed our walk, all 150 miles. I’m embarrassed to admit that I realized my boots were tied too tight, which was why my old boots hurt my feet. Unfortunately, I realized this on about day 10. I think my rain pants, which hooked onto my shoelaces, gradually tightened my boots. Live and learn.
Our last day was the longest and also had the most elevation gain. I was sort of dreading it since before we arrived. Add the sore toes, sore calf, shin splints, and my dread mounted. To make matters worse, as we approached the shoulder of Mount Brandon, we saw two hikers who looked like they just arrived from Mt. Everest. While I only had on a wool undershirt, wool tee shirt, wool leggings and light pants. (I had everything else I might need in my pack), they each wore at least two down parkas, hat, gloves and looked miserable. They had camped somewhere along the mountain. One loudly told us the weather was very bad on the other side of the mountain; very cold and the wind was howling. Did we have any idea where we were going? And the path down the mountain was treacherous and steep. Did we know what we were getting into? It was very cold and steep. This is all a gullible, chicken like me has to hear. This is how it looked from our approach.
But I had read the guide. I knew it would be steep but not impossible. OK, I might not turn around at this point but wait to see what lie ahead. So we walked through cloud cover, still in a tee shirt. And I didn’t get cold. Their weather scare was wrong, the wind had picked up but it was still in the low 50’s. Chicken little?
When we were ready to start our descent we met another group of hikers headed our way, one in a tee shirt. This made me feel a little better but I should have disregarded their opinion. They were swigging from a bottle of vodka to celebrate their ascent but…they said the way up was HORRIBLE. Very bad, very steep. I sent Tim to the edge to check it out. He’s a much better hiker than me and I trust his judgement. He said it was nothing. Steep for a ways but not unlike the Adirondack mountain trails at home. So away we went. I made it and never got cold. And the sun came out.
Later that night we were celebrating in a pub and enjoying good company. The publican was even telling stories. At some point our table asked for two pints of Guinness. I said, “make it three”. Tim said he’d like a half pint and so would she. I said, “no I would not, I would like a pint”. The crowd went wild. They almost lynched Tim. “Let her have her pint”, they cried. And so I did. These were people worth listening to.