Today, Bailey and I headed up to Andover to take a short trek on the AT. Before our hike, we met Jeff, a section hiker from Charlotte NC. He's doing a 300-mile section of the trail from Gorham NH to Mt Katahdin ME. A retired CPA who now works in an REI shop in Charlotte, Jeff has been piece-mealing the AT for about a decade. He started off with short hikes of 10 miles and then those hikes grew into 100's and then as he got farther and farther away from North Carolina, he started taking on 300-mile hikes in 3-week blocks. Because of the terrain here in Maine, Jeff said the 300 miles would take him 4 weeks. He should finish the full 2180-mile AT next year.
When we got back to the car, Jeff was still at the trail head trying to hitch hike to Andover where he planned to stay over night at the Pine Ellis Lodge. I offered him a ride down to Andover (#5 of 60 for 60: helping an AT hiker) and quizzed him about the trail. He said the top 3 struggles on the AT for him were 1) getting "into" the hike over the first week; 2) little nagging aches and pains; and 3) the days when he's feeling a bit down and the trail is a struggle. On the up side, he said 1) being in nature with time to think and 2) the surprises he's found while hiking. For example, yesterday he walked through snow in the Mahoosuc Range (now, that is a surprise since we've had weeks of rain and a week of 85-90 degree heat).
Here's to Jeff and his trek!