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After completing the leg from Carter Notch to Rt. 2 in Gorham and taking a couple of days of zero, we started to plan for hiking in Mahoosuc Notch area between Grafton Notch (Rt. 26) to Mahoosuc Notch Trail (side trail).  It was going to be 8.2 miles in length rather than hiking from Grafton Notch to Rt. 2 in Gorham – 31 miles in length.  It is done on purpose to keep our backpack light as possible to get through infamous “toughest one mile of entire AT” Mahoosuc Notch.  You can google it up to watch some videos to check out these size of unbelievable boulders – VW cars!  The hikers go through this particular area are required to scramble.  With easy trail to hike on for 1 mile, it may take around 1/2 hour, but it is not the case with Mahoosuc Notch.  For the most of hikers, it may take them around 2 hours to scramble through merely 1 mile of the notch!  The blind man named Bulldog went through this area and it took him 9.5 hours.  We stopped by Bethel Outdoor Adventure on our zero day to inquire where we can buy Cane’s frayed bicycle helmet and shin guards to replace them.  Pattie was thrilled to see us again and to our surprise, she offered Cane a choice of used bicycle helmet from shelf which was used for rental bicycle ride.  Cane found perfectly fitted bicycle helmet.  Yay!  We were going to hunt on shin guards and Pattie was helpful by giving us a place to check out – Bethel Bicycle Center.  They didn’t have the certain shin guards Cane wanted, so we asked Alyssa G. to buy one for him from Portland before she made her trip to Bethel.  Jeff, Pattie’s husband (which I finally learned his name on that day which we didn’t catch his name when he first dropped us off to begin our hiking from Grafton Notch toward Stratton this past June), showed up and was delighted to see us again.  We ended up making a plan for hiking between Grafton Notch and Mahoosuc Notch Trail for a couple of hours via paper and pen.  Jeff has an invaluable and wealth of knowledge and experience from his Outward Bound days.  We left with the solid plans, good feeling, and motivated/determined to get that “under our belt” for once and all!

Alyssa G. came up on Monday night – 7-July, to join with Cane and me to hike through Mahoosuc Notch as an additional support team member.  However, with the terrible weather we had for a couple of days – rain, foggy, and wet – we weren’t sure if it was a wise decision to make an attempt.  After chatting with Kevin and Polly – owner of lovely Mahoosuc Mountain Lodge – and Jeff and Pattie – owner of Bethel Outdoor Adventure -, we decided that it was best to postpone our attempt to later date with better weather forecast as it was critical factor for us to hike safely for all of us especially for Cane.  In addition, Alyssa was available until Friday morning.  We made a decision on Tuesday morning.  We were crushed and disappointed, but felt comfortable with our decision.  We decided to make a phone call to Bethel Outdoor Adventure to see if we can talk with Jeff and Pattie about revising our plans and was told that we are more than welcome to show up at 4 pm for a tea time.  We went ahead and bought Irish shortbread that ought “blend well” with English Tea Time.  We showed up and found ourselves on the “round table” with Jeff, Pattie, Daren R., Priscilla R. and Molly along with Alyssa G. interpreting and Pattie making English tea for all of us.  With Alyssa’s presence, it helped to make our communication smoothly and at ease.  We were thankful for her willing to bridge our communication.  We came up with the plans from Mahoosuc Notch Trail to Rt. 2 – around 23 miles in total with 5 days – breaking up around 5 miles each for shelter/campsite knowing that Cane requiring more time to hike through trail filled with exposed tree roots, wet rocks/slabs, bogs, and etc.  His average of hiking remained at 5 miles a day for around 10 hours to 12 hours.  Daren and Molly volunteered to be our re-supply team at Carlo Col shelter, so we can carry 2 days worth of food to start with then carry 3 days worth of food for rest of the trail to help Cane managing his weight on his backpack.  The weight on his backpack is challenging for him because when he slips or falls, the weight may easily pull down or throw him off the trail due to his challenging balance condition.  We felt better knowing that we didn’t have to deal with carrying 5 days worth of food.  At end of the meeting, Jeff told us that he would be disappointed if we didn’t show up at Bethel Outdoor Adventure after completing our leg between Mahoosuc Notch Trail and Rt.2.  At that time, we began to realize how supportive  from Bethel Outdoor Adventure community/staff toward Cane’s attempt to complete his AT dream/journey.  What is even more is that not only it comes with Jeff’s knowledge and experience, but his and Pattie’s resources are open to us to help us out.

Kevin gave us a lift going to Mahoosuc Notch Trail (2 hours of traveling one way – dropping off our re-supply food at Bethel Outdoor Adventure, dropping off my car at Rt. 2, then driving on dirt road for around 11 miles to trail head).  We began our hiking on Mahoosuch Notch Trail with exciting anticipation of trying to beat the rain by arriving at the shelter in early afternoon.  Upon our arrival at AT junction, we took a peek at Mahoosuc Notch and began our hiking going south.  It was a bit challenging of climbing which required us to use hand-to-hand climbing from time to time on our ascent.   After getting to the top, we encountered countless bogs with some depreciating, rotten, missing and/or underwater planks to walk over….sometimes we had to walk, perhaps more of “swim”, through.  At one point, I almost lost my boot in one of these deep bogs!!!!!  We arrived at Full Goose Shelter around 2 pm beating the heavy pouring of rain!  We remained at the shelter rest of the day keeping ourselves dry and warm.  A group of female hikers arrived and stayed overnight.  For the first time, Cane was finally a “minority” – surrounded by female hikers!  😉

On 2nd day of our hiking, we hiked toward Carlo Col Shelter which was 4.7 miles, but took us 9 hours.  We arrived finding Daren chilling out around his hammock – yay, one of hammock fiends!  I proceeded to set up mine with excitement having a hammock neighbor at last!  Daren, Cane, and I got to chat via Daren’s notebook – getting each other know a bit more.  Jeff left us a trail magic – sugar cookies.  Cane happily wolfed down his and mine (I am allergic to wheat/gluten which Jeff and Pattie do not know yet.).  Daren told us that he will join us hiking on section of AT to next side trail, Success Trail, to get off next day.  Wow, nice to have a company on the trail for while!  🙂

3rd day of hiking – We left Carlo Col Shelter early in the morning by 7:00 am heading for Gentian Pond Shelter which was around 5.7 miles away.  Immediately, we faced with a huge obstacle to overcome – using our rock climbing skills to climb ledge and large boulders straight up!  Without any doubts in my mind that Daren must have said Holy Mackerel due to his ancestral root – Scottish!    😉  We hiked for around 2 miles along with crossing the state line from Maine into New Hampshire (we are almost done with NH…..hardly WAIT!!!!)  until we arrived the side trail where we said our farewell to Daren going down that way.  The trail continued to be challenging – bogs, hand climbing, exposed tree roots, and wet slabs on top of hot and humidity weather.  We arrived at the shelter 10 hours and 30 minutes later – around 5:30 pm.  Whew!  The shelter gave us a nice view of the valley.  Awesome!

At 4th day of hiking, I began to notice how much the ongoing challenges of trail began to toll on Cane’s physical and well-being.  He began to suffer terrible heat rashes on his both hips and shoulders from his heavy backpack and aching knee from previous injury he sustained.  After lengthy discussion between Cane and myself, we agreed that I was to text Jeff, Pattie, John W., and Daren asking if they were available to assist us either on that day or next day.  That was something that we wanted to make sure if we absolutely needed the support system on the trail knowing that it was around 12 miles ahead – 12 LONG miles for Cane to finish out.  We came to the last side trail and I asked Cane if he felt the necessary to bail out and he said no and wanted to continue to finish out rest of the AT toward Rt. 2.  I did a quick evaluation of his health and well-being state and agreed with him that he was “hike-able”.  Originally, he wanted to hike out to Rt. 2, but he realized that he couldn’t do it and accepted that we will camp out at Trident Campsite – around 7 miles from Rt. 2.  We arrived at Trident Campsite by 3 pm and had time for Cane to get some rest and tended after his injuries.

On 5th day of hiking, Daren volunteered to assist us, so we got an early start to begin our hiking at 7:30 am for last 7 miles.  It was very hot and humid day.  I gave one of my mantras to Cane – “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” and “Keep going and it will make you strong as a bull!”  I texted Daren saying that we may have a long day of hiking and Daren replied that we hoped that we will make it in time for 6 pm dinner to celebrate.  At that time, I wasn’t sure if he was being serious or joking.  Cane sluggishly climbed the Cascade Mountain both ways before coming to the brook around 3 hours and half later.  We were re-filling water and Daren showed up hiking around 4 miles from Rt. 2.  I was overwhelmed with joy and a bit tears in my eyes knowing that we have the support system helping to seeing Cane hiking out.  Daren brought another trail magic – at this time from Molly – banana walnut brownie along with the message on the brown paper, “I believe in you!  YOU CAN DO IT!”.  Wow, what a wonderful treat with inspiring message.  We took some weight off from Cane’s backpack by transferring most of Cane’s gears to Daren’s backpack.  We began our hiking and saw how much Cane was struggling with his hiking – he was pretty exhausted with 5th day of hiking on challenging trail without a long period of rest.  He climbed to top of Mt. Hayes in late afternoon and had hard time coming down a long descent – most of trail consisted many rocks and exposed tree roots for him to hike over.  He fell down many times along the way on top of being exhausted and frustrated.  For around last 2.5 miles, Daren encountered 3 hikers that he met in the 100-Mile Wilderness.  What an amazing coincidence!  After the hikers leaving us, Cane’s ability to hike deteriorated rapidly to the point where he fell down on frequent basis.  At point of Cane’s nasty fall, Daren and I decided that Daren should hike out to drop off his backpack and hike back to assist Cane hiking out.  Daren left us and I made a decision which I accepted with full responsibility of my own – commenced my “insulting machine” with Cane.  I told him like oh, do you want Daren to carry you out?, If you say you are weak, then you are weak!, You have to finish AT or just sit down and not finish AT!, and etc. etc.  It got him standing up and hiking (more like chasing after me!!!) for some time before he fell down.  His eyes were “brightened up” just like “blue-eyed demon on the run”!!!!!  I can clearly see his raging and strong desire to continue before his body defeated him a few minutes later.  Wow……I had to give him some space to get some rest and started up hiking again despite the attack of bugs on me from time to time.  It has been going on for who knows – perhaps 45 minutes.  I began to realize how close we were to the trail head and saw Daren beginning to hike to meet us.  His face was priceless – shocked and surprised to see us hiking out under our power especially CANE!!!!!  I sheepishly said….well, it was one of my doings and will tell you about it later on.  (On the same night, Cane and I had the discussion if he wished me not to employ my “insulting machine” on him ever again.  He said it helped him tremendously for being so raging angry with me – not taken personal or being offended by that – and able to continue hiking with whatever left what he has in him.)   We didn’t finish out last 0.5 mile, but we quickly decided that we can do that next day, anyway.  We got a ride in Daren’s and Priscilla’s car to get my car.  We finally realized that we do have 6 pm dinner to join.  We went to Bethel Outdoor Adventure – around 30 minutes of driving from Gorham.  We got showered and dressed up for dinner.  When we arrived and saw many people gathering, Jeff wrote to Cane, “This is for YOU!!!!!”  We were flabbergasted and shocked that these people from RV and Bethel Outdoor Adventure taking time to make potluck dinner and celebrating our completion of Mahoosuc Range section between Mahoosuc Notch Trail and Rt. 2 in Gorham.  We wolfed down the delicious food – cleaning out the full plate TWICE and gulping down the bottle of Raspberry Iced Tea, Pina Colada Polar, and Water!!!!!!!!  We were deeply touched by presence of these people even though we missed out what Jeff has to say about us, but knew in our heart that Jeff said how much we meant and inspired to him and others through our perseverance and determination and not allowing our disability stand in our way.  We enjoyed the company with these folks and headed over to the inn across the road to get a well-deserved good night’s sleep in air-conditioned and bug-free room with a HUGE smile on our face knowing we accomplished a big time, not only for ourselves, but with Bethel Outdoor Adventure community behind us!

The next day, Monday 15-July, John W. decided it was time for him to go home.  We met up in Gorham to chat for a while.  Cane asked him if it was ok for him to give us a ride to the trail head where we left off with remaining 0.5 miles toward Rt. 2 in Gorham to conclude our Mahoosuc Range section in honest and “purist” (Jeff calls us that) way.  John was happy to do that for us.  We thanked him for being part of our AT journey/experience for past two weeks and would love to see him at the base of Mt. Katahdin before we start to climb.  After walking the way of 0.5 mile,  YEAH , WE NOW CAN SAY THAT WE ARE OFFICIALLY DONE/CONQUERED WITH NH which has been eluded us since last year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Maine is the last and 14th state for us to conclude our AT journey!!!!!  YAY!  Katahdin is getting closer and closer……we calculated and found out that we have 163.3 miles left to GOOOOOOOOO!  Woo hoo!  😎

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Hello folks!  My profoundly apologies for delaying with updating our blog for a couple of weeks – been busy roaming between two states – New Hampshire (NH) and Maine (ME) both in my car and on the feet.   I am going to write each leg of our hiking in separate posting – 2 legs in total.

Last weekend of June, I drove to Manchester, NH from Portland, ME to fly out to Chicago for my dearest friend’s Surprise 40th Birthday Party.  The entire weekend was splendid and the best part was that around 17 gals (including birthday gal, of course) as a team participated in an event called “Dirty Girl Mud Run” together.  The funny thing is that I went through obstacles filled with mud or watery mud without any second thought (due to my AT hiking on muddy trail on frequent basis), but most gals on the team were not into playing with the mud except ONE gal who got all mud on her.  😉

Upon my return to Manchester, NH on Monday 1-July, Alyssa G. brought Cane to drop him off with me, so we can be on our way to Gorham in the White Mountains National Forest rather than having me drive to Portland, ME to pick Cane up, then go back to NH.  Our huge gratitude to Alyssa for making this happening.  We stopped by Chet’s One Step At A Time hostel in Lincoln, NH where we stayed when we did our hiking in the White Mountains (Franconia Notch) to chat with Chet.  He was surprised to see us again and we had a great chat.  After Cane told Chet our hiking plans for this summer, Chet told Cane, “Take a chance!  Go and hike all the way!”.  🙂

We arrived in Gorham at the evening.  Cane’s friend, John W., met up with us a few minutes later driving from his summer home in Upstate NY.  He asked us if it was ok with us for him to join with us hiking on the AT and providing us some support.  We agreed.  However, the bad weather lingered for a while, so we didn’t get to start hiking until 3-July.  It was going to be around 18 miles from Rt. 16 via Carter Notch to Rt. 2 in Gorham.  We hiked on 19 Mile Brook Trail going to Carter Notch Hut where Cane and I left last year on 9-July-2012 due to Cane’s rib cage injury which ended our AT journey for 2012.  Next day, we climbed Carter Dome and John decided to go down on the side trail to get some rest from hiking and meet us at Gorham.  After we bid our farewell, Cane and I continued to hike toward Imp Shelter through Carter Mountain Range.  We were hit with two rainstorm – one short (15 minutes) and one long (1 hour and 15 minutes) since we were in the northwestern weather flow of Mt. Washington’s famous wacky weather.  UGH!  It was a long 7.6 miles of hiking with wet and hair-raising (we were forewarned by Carter Notch Hut Master about that area) Imp ledge to descend.  As the sun was setting, we haven’t arrived at the Imp Shelter as original planned.  At around 8:38 pm, I decided to hike ahead to scout to see how far the shelter was.  After 15 minutes of hiking, no shelter in sight and I didn’t feel well with pounding headaches and Cane’s over-extended knee injury (he was limping a bit).  I decided that it was best for me to hike to Imp Shelter knowing that there is a caretaker where I can request an assistance.  I arrived at Imp Shelter around 9:15 pm and spoke with the caretaker named Jacob.  He knew some sign language due to his Deaf grandparents which was a huge PLUS for communicate-wise.  After discussing, Jacob went to the shelter to request for an assistance from hikers who can volunteer helping to bring Cane to the shelter.  Two hikers named Drew and Andrew volunteered.  I sent the text message letting Cane know that the help was on the way.  We hiked for some time until we found Cane sitting on the trail with his headlight on.  After giving him some water to drink, we all hiked back to the shelter and got there around 11 pm.  We thanked to them from our bottom of heart for helping us out.

Next day, we had a late start since we were tired from long day of hiking and going to bed late at night.  We left at around 10 am for planned 6.3 miles of hiking to Rattle River Shelter.  Cane wasn’t being himself after two long day of hiking which pretty much wearing down on him physically and mentally.  After reaching the Mt. Moriah in mid-afternoon, we kind of knew that we may not make it to the shelter and were preparing for camping out on the trail at the evening.  Before we made our descent on Mt. Moriah, I texted John who was resting in town asking if he was up to help out Cane by meeting us at the shelter and carrying Cane’s backpack helping him to hike out to Gorham easier.  In the evening, Cane’s hiking became difficult for him to descend among wet and slippery rocks and muddy trail – he fell down and slipped many times.  We stopped our hiking at 7:30 pm to make an inclined camping by the spring water.  Thank goodness for our hammock, so we can use the trees to sleep in the hammock   and not have to worry about sleeping at incline.  😉  My phone didn’t have a signal, so I had no idea if John will be able to assist us.

In the morning, we had an early start (7:30 am) wanting to reach the shelter to get some rest and make a final hike out for last around 2 miles toward Rt. 2 in Gorham.  We had no idea how many miles left since we camped out on the trail between Mt. Moriah and Rattle River Shelter.  At around 8:30 am as Cane was about to ford the large brook and me on other side of brook waiting for him, John showed up.  Hallelujah!  Cane’s huge smile was priceless to see when he saw John’s presence.  We hiked to Rattle River Shelter to get some break and re-fuel, then we hiked out toward Rt. 2 by 11 am which beat my previous predication by one hour!  We all were so happy!  John was brave to accept and carry Cane’s stinky and sweat-soaked backpack for around 3 miles.  😉  We treated John a delicious and nice dinner at Libby’s Bistro in Gorham.  That finally concluded our 18 miles of 3 days hiking leg.

Hello folks!

After getting my car into the shape for long road trip from New Jersey to Maine with help of my dear friend, Ed M. and my dear father, I was able to drive up to Maine this past Wednesday 5-June at last!  Cane and I checked out the weather forecast for next few days and decided to wait out on Tropical Storm Andrea’s drenching rain.  We couldn’t believe that the hurricane season already began last week!  Gosh!  Hope for minor or less-impacted hurricanes/tropical storms this summer in New Hampshire and Maine area.  We decided on 4 sections of hiking we are going to do.  Here is the breakdown of sections:

Section 1: ~95 miles between Rt. 26 in Grafton Notch, Maine and East Flagstaff Road in Stratton Maine

Section 2: ~19 miles between Rt. 16 in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire and Rt. 2 in Gorham, New Hampshire

Section 3: ~32 miles between Rt 2. in Gorham, New Hampshire and Rt. 26 in Grafton Notch, Maine (notorious and infamous Mahoosuc Notch!)

Section 4: ~114 miles between Rt. 15 in Monson, Maine and Katahdin Mountain (northern terminus of Appalachian Trail)

We are going to do Section 1 as soon as the weather becomes calm for us to begin our hiking season of 2013 with 256 miles left to go!!!!!!  We have logged in over 1,900 miles from Springer Mountain, Georgia (southern terminus of Appalachian Trail).  Unbelievable, isn’t it!?!?!

You might noticed that there is no section between East Flagstaff Road in Stratton, Maine and Rt. 15 in Monson, Maine (~57 miles).  We hiked that section in 2010.

We hope to complete our AT journey this summer without any major delays or injuries.  *crossing fingers*  I am so excited to get away from the civilization once again and hiking among the nature once again.  😉  By the way, for those of you who want to send me a care package, please get in touch with me via email right away to set up an arrangement.

Your steadfast support and cheering on us are much-needed and always welcome here!

Wish us well and happy trails on our first Section 1!  😉

Ok, folks…..here is a news…..We didn’t make it out of the Whites to Gorham…yet.  On the first day of hiking from Pinkham Notch to Gorham, Cane had an accident.  It happened last Saturday 7-July.  We were climbing the Wildcat Mountains.  We were doing well with our climbing until the last 1.5 miles from the Carter Notch Hut.  On the Wildcat Mountains, there were 5 peaks labeled as A,B, C, D, and E.  We got over E, D, C, and B in the order by going north.  As Cane was going down on Peak B, he was negotiating with large boulder while descending.   He was laying down on his side and using his boots to hold himself up.  As he moved his boots to the “pocket” part on the boulder, his boots slipped and he tumbled downward with his backpack on around 5 feet down.  He fell onto the tree that sticks out of the ground and slammed his right side torso onto it.  It knocked the wind out of him.  He was in excruciating pain at first – trying to catch some of his breaths and figuring out how badly hurt he was.  I already hiked ahead to Peak A to wait for him, so I waited for him around 45 minutes wondering what was going on.  He managed to get up and took the yellow whistle into his mouth to blow 3 times to signal an emergency from time to time.  He knew that as sun is setting, less hikers will be hiking on the trail.  He tried, anyway.  He forced himself to march toward to me to get a help.  I was working on my backpack and looking at the map and as I looked up, I was in shock seeing him hiking gingerly and awkwardly at same time with yellow whistle in his mouth.  I knew immediately that something was wrong with him.  He told me about what happened.  With my quick inspection, his injury didn’t look good.  We agreed that I hiked ahead to get some helps from the hut which was a mile descent to the notch.  I told him to keep hiking as possible as he was able to do so.  I hiked and arrived at the hut at around 7 pm which took around half an hour after leaving him at top of Peak A.  I told the Cross at the hut about what happened with Cane.  The hutmaster named Pat said that he will call his boss to organize search and rescue party.  I said, “Ok, is your boss named Eric?”  He looked at me in surprise.  I told him that he will find out why soon.  He called and came back to me saying that he and Becca will hike out to help Cane.  I began to tell him about Cane’s blindness and Pat quickly said that he knew since Eric filled him in about Cane.  I smiled and said that he was all set and good to go.  It took them 2.5 hours to arrive the hut after hiking around .7 miles where they found Cane.  The hut Croos, Ryan, Ben, and Phoebe, took care by feeding us and checking in with us from time to time making sure we were ok.  We looked at Cane’s injury and we cannot rule out if he broke his rib(s).  We stayed at the hut overnight.

Next day on Sunday, Pat asked for our plans.  I told him that I was going to hike out on the side trail, 19 Mile Brook Trail, around 4 miles to Rt. 16 then hitchhike for a ride to Pinkham Notch to speak with Eric and make some phone calls and send some email.  Pat asked me if it was possible for Cane and I to hike out.  I told him that it was nearly impossible due to earlier in the morning, I asked Cane to pick up his backpack and he couldn’t.  I picked it up for him and put it on his back.  He tried to walk around with the backpack and he was grimaced in pain and walked very awkwardly.  He was still in some pain and unable to breathe deeply.  Cough hurt him the most.  After evaluation, I knew that it will not be an easy task to get him out of the woods with his backpack along with his injury.  Pat said that Cane was welcome to stay at the hut for one more night and he needed to hike out the next day.  Cane asked Pat if it was possible for someone to carry his backpack out.  One of the Croos, Phoebe, had a day off, so Pat asked her if it was ok with her to do that.  She agreed and we could pick it up when we hike out.   Bless her!

I hiked down and went to Pinkham Notch.  Eric and I discussed and agreed that I was to hike back to the hut in late afternoon with my almost empty backpack to carry Cane’s stuff and assist Cane to hike out the next morning with assistance from one of the Croos.  We contacted the hospital in North Conway to request for a sign language interpreter and they advised us that they did not have interpreter, but they had a TTY.  I wasn’t happy with this arrangement, so I got in touch with one of interpreters in Maine named Sarah L.  She was a great help by getting the information to me where we can go to the hospital that provides sign language interpreter without having to do a battle.  I hiked back to the hut half an hour before the dinner served at 6 pm.  I jumped into one of their two lakes and swam remembering The She-Goat’s advice that we must do that.  The water was a bit chill, but helped me to cool down.  Nice feeling.  😎  We stayed at the hut for another night.

On Monday, we got our breakfast and Becca agreed to assist with me to hike Cane out.  We didn’t have to hike the entire 4 miles as there was a cut-off at 2.5 miles where we can cross the dam and get into Eric’s 4X4 truck and go down on wood/fire road.  Cane popped in 600 mg ibuprofen and managed to hike out for 3 hours.  He was such a trooper!  Becca was a great team to work with.  Eric met us and got us into his truck with Cane’s backpack.  We got to my car and we went to Pinkham Notch to fetch our lunch before going to the hospital.

To make the story with hospitals short, we first went to the hospital in North Conway and couldn’t get an interpreter confirmed after an hour of discussing forth and back between Cane and the hospital staff.  We decided to go to different hospital which was around 40 minutes drive away in the Maine – a town called Bridgton.  The hospital had a connection with interpreting agency.  We arrived and they provided us an interpreter.  Cane was told that from his X-ray results, there were no obvious broken bones and none of his bones punctured into his lung.  However, it is possible that he may have hairline fracture on his ribcage bone, but we cannot confirm.  His doctor advised him to rest for at least one week and take painkiller as needed to help him to manage his pain.  It may take anywhere from one to six weeks for him to fully recover as the fracture bone takes between 4 to 6 weeks to heal.  The nurse showed him how to use intake breathing machine by forcing some air going into his lungs to reduce his risk of exposing himself to catch a pneumonia.   He was to use it for one to two hours on daily basis until he was able to achieve certain number of air volume going into his lungs.    With my dad’s help, we went to hotel in North Conway to spend a night rather than sleep in the car overnight.   Jean, Roger’s uncle, was with us from hospital in North Conway until Cane’s discharge from Bridgton hospital.  He went home which was around 2 hours driving – in Augusta, Maine.  It was good to see him and have him around with us – familiar and kind face and support system.  😎

On Tuesday, my dear new friend, Sarah L., invited us to stay with her and her family in Portland area this week.  It is generosity of her and her family to let us to get some R & R’s and enjoy their company along with dogs.  We decided to wait out one week to see how Cane feels.  If he can resume his hiking next week to finish out the Whites, great.  If not, we will need to discuss plan B or make decision with our hiking for this month.  While we are grateful that Cane isn’t seriously injured, please pray for Cane’s quick recovery and for us to resume our journey to finish up with the Whites.

Here is a quick statistics for the countdown:

Carter Notch Hut to Gorham (to finish out the Whites) – 15 miles left

Carter Notch Hut to Maine borderline- 31.7 miles left

Maine borderline to East Flagstaff Road – 110.3 miles left

256 miles left to finish our AT journey by summiting the Mt. Katahdin

RamSham translated my ASL into English and Sarah L. proofread-ed at my request.

I would like to comment on RamSham’s postings about my attitude with the hiking.  Thank to RamsSham for her straight talk and bluntness with me.  It hit hard on me regarding to my attitude with the hiking.  I thought about my past experiences  where I grew up and several incidents with hitting my head or hitting something with part of my body due to my Usher’s Syndrome (limited vision range).  I can tolerate some pains.  It hit me about hiking in the Presidential Range.  The trail was constantly challenging me physically, mentally, and emotionally due to its cragged rocks and boulders for miles.  I fell down from time to time, but not without pain or small injury that I endured and suffered for a long time.  On top of my pains and sufferings, my energy and motivation to hike begin to drain away from me.  Therefore, at the point of my frustration with hiking, I took out my frustrations on RamSham by telling her to go get someone to rescue me and take me out of the wilderness.  RamSham told me she will not leave me to get help because I still could hike.  My energy level was very low and it was challenging and difficult to hike.

Upon our arrival at Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch, RamSham had a straight talk with me about how she was upset with me and my attitude and having her to cajoling me to hike to the road before the sunset.  It was not easy task for her to deal with on top of trying to hike to the road, encouraging me to keep on hiking, contacting for an assistance, praying that we will be ok, and taking care of herself all at once.    It hit me hard.  It was a new situation for me.  It is something I haven’t encountered to look at and inward of myself.  Like I mentioned before, the situation of putting up with pains and sufferings was not new, but how I dealt with the situation by escaping or putting a stop to that was easy, but it was not possible when I was on the trail.  I was in middle of the wilderness with no escape routes and I was trapped having to put up with tremendous amount of pain and sufferings and depleted energy level.   Since we’ve been on this journey I have fallen down from time to time, but not on such a frequent basis as I experienced with the trail in the Presidential Range.  With frequent falling and being hurt for all day long and the next day as well, it was something I haven’t learned how to deal with.  My well-being and guard system began to break down and exposed myself to become dejected, angry, frustrated, and fatigue.

After RamSham’s talk with me, I realized that I didn’t have a skills of coping and trying to make the best of this difficult situation that I was in back then.  It is something I want to learn and develop my skills going forward.  For past two years, Appalachian Trail (AT) taught me so much about my relationship with nature, people, and myself.  AT forced me to look inward of myself.  I never had to before and it made me contemplate my general outlook of  my life, attitude, and my acceptance of who I am especially my identity as a Deafblind person.  I intend to continue with my journey on AT to complete NH and ME sections and being open to learn more about myself and develop some skills as we hike along.

We are back in the Whites – last section to hike in the Whites….21 miles in stretch from Pinkham Notch to Gorham.  Cane is feeling better and in less pain now.  Looking forward to spend some time in Carter Notch – maybe swimming in one of their two lakes.  Have a good weekend and stay cool, folks!

With a help from wonderful AMC staff named Joyce and Mt. Washington Stage Coach van service, we were able to resume our hiking where we left off.  We backtracked to Lowes’ Bald Spot to get an excellent and breathtaking view of Tuckerman Ravine (partially), Mt. Washington and the Presidential Range.  Wow!

We hiked around 2 miles toward Pinkham Notch.  We stopped halfway to have a discussion about what happened with hiking two days ago, Cane’s attitude, and our working relationship.  We had a good discussion.  Cane is working on developing his strategy on how to be patient with hiking, listening to his body, taking care of himself from time to time, and when it is necessary to request for emergency assistance.  I am to help him to remind himself with what we agreed on and be patient.  It is understandable that Cane faces more challenging of hiking on the trail than most of us sighted hikers, however he needs to understand that he cannot just sit down and say get me someone to get me out of here!  He must keep moving and be motivated to reach destination with safety in mind, not only for himself, but for me and his loved ones, family, friends and supporters.  I told him that I do not want him to remember just only anguishing pains and miserable hiking going forward.  It is supposed to be a journey of life-changing experience – not just pains and bail outs.  Naturally, we do have some good and bad days of hiking, so I do hope for him to have some good days of hiking if he learns how to cope and develop some strategies to turn from bad to ok/good day of hiking.

We plan to hike from Pinkham Notch to Gorham – around 21 miles.  It will conclude our hiking in the Whites.  My thousands of apologies to Cane – I am truly in LOVE with the trails in the Whites!  I am glad that I am the member of AMC – Appalachian Mountain Club.  They are CHAMPS, period!  Just a tidbit that I just learned that the nickname of New Hampshire is “The Granite State”.  😎  Enjoy the weekend, folks.

We arrived in Pinkham Notch late last night.  First two days of hiking went well for Cane.  Last two days were harder for him.  Two days ago, we hiked from Lakes of the Clouds hut to Madison Spring hut which was 7 miles in stretch by climbing to the top of the Mt. Washington.  It took him a good two hours to hike 1.4 miles to top in crazy weather condition – strong gusting windy and heavy fog.  We quickly ate and continued hiking.  I stopped before the Cog Railway track to perform the tradition of thru-hikers – “mooning” to the tourists on the Cog Railway.  I did that TWICE — in legally way, mind you.  You might ask what do you mean by that????  Ha!  I made a circular yellow paper and taped it on the cardboard.  I wrote with fat black marker on it – “FULL MOON! :)”.  I hang it on back of my backpack.  I turned around with my back to the tourists and shake  with my backpack and FULL MOON sign laughing.  At first, the train engineer and conductors were frown when they saw me dancing from far away as they came down from Mt. Washington.  As they got closer and realized what I was up to, they laughed, so did the tourists.  They loved it by taking pictures!!!!  Cane enjoyed that too!  Hee hee!  We hiked to meet up with my dear friend, Sarah L.  We hiked together toward Madison Spring hut.  It was not easy feat for Cane to hike across rocky terrain…we arrived at the hut around 8 pm.  What was so inspiring was that the people cheered on him by applauding then “hands waving” as Cane entered into the hut.  Some of these hikers came from Lakes of the Clouds hut knew us by our presentation about our thru-hiker experiences.  I quickly jotted down about who we are, how long we hike, why we are hiking, motto of our hiking experience, and our thank to AMC for their support.  One of the Croos (crew) spoke to the audience for us.  The audience enjoyed and were touched by our presentation.  😉  Cane had a great time chatting with a group of 4 women at Lakes of the Clouds.  It was good to see him in good spirit.

Yesterday, Cane had a tough day of hiking 5.9 miles for 11.5 hours (first 3 miles took him a good 7.5 hours of ascending and descending Mt. Madison in crazy weather – howling wind at 50 mph and dense moving cloud-fog condition) on large boulders field.  The family of 4 – parents, with teen boy and young girl – were bravely hiking with us  for first 2.5 miles then they hiked onward after Cane’s nasty spill.  They were scared for him as I was for him too.  He got up with some pain and had to sit down to rest for a while.  His neck was hurting because he hit his head during nasty spill and his helmet saved him once again from serious injury to his head and neck.

After enduring with hiking for hours in pain and constantly falling down on wet trail (it rained earlier in the morning and again showered briefly on us at early evening), we opted to  stop at Mt. Washington Auto Road which is 2 miles away from Pinkham Notch.  We arrived at the road at 8:30 pm at last.  With the sun setting and Cane being exhausted and in pain (bruises, cuts, scrapes and bumps) after several nasty spills, it was unsafe night hiking for Cane.   We hiked down the road to Route 16.  Thankfully, I managed to get a phone signal and got in touch with my father which in turn contacted AMC Emergency Crew.  A sweet AMC staff named Joyce came to pick us up and bring us to Pinkham Notch.  Today, Cane is recuperating as we elected to take a zero day today.

It is something I decided to share something with you all about the situation that we faced not only last night, but a few times in the past.  After arriving at Pinkham Notch, Cane was talking about resuming our hiking after a zero day.  I said whoa, stop right there.   I gave him a straight talk about his attitude and when it becomes necessary to contact assistance.  To make this story short, after 7.5 hours of 3 miles and being in pain, I told Cane that it was 4:15 pm and we had around 4.8 miles left to hike and it was getting too late.  I already made several options by studying the map beforehand.  I told him to do his best to hike as he can and try to make it to the road – Mt. Washington Auto Road (2 miles before Pinkham Notch) before sunset.  He hiked on for an hour before saying that I must go and get help.  I told him no as long as he is able to hike out under his power, he must continue hiking and taking care of himself by re-hydrating, re-fueling, and medicating whenever it is necessary to do so.  He said that twice.  It was disheartening to see him in much pain, but to have someone to come to his assistance in middle of the wilderness because the hiking becomes harder to do so.  If it was extreme circumstance such as life-threatening condition (hypothermia, heat stroke, etc), then it makes sense to call 911, ranger, or ask hiker for an assistance.  By having him to tell me to get someone to come to get him, it wasn’t the first time he had done that.

Last night, I gave him a piece of my mind saying that with that kind of attitude, it was not right thing to do and it was unfair to put burden not only on me, but on people who works emergency services, family, and hikers who may pass by us.  This kind of attitude cannot be continued and must be changed because the trail is not going to be any easier in NH and ME.  I no longer want to be subjected to that attitude by having me to push him to hike on, pray for the best, look for phone signal to request for assistance or ride, and taking care of myself all at once.  I also said who was doing the hiking – both of us, him or me?   I felt like I was pushing him on to hike when things became too hard on him to hike.   He seemed not enjoying his hiking, but continue hiking because I told him so.  I told him that when hiking became hard or mundane, I just take time to check within myself to be silly, look at nature, sing a silly song, imagine anything in my head, remembering my childhood, college, or travel moments, and etc.  It helped me to relax a bit, re-focus on hiking and able to continue.  Everyone has different strategy.  He needs to develop that or we will be in serious trouble one of the days if we are not lucky to get assistance.  It hit him hard.  He is re-contemplating about his attitude with hiking.

Anyhow, Cane is in some pain, but is ok.   I plan to update you with what our plans are going to be.

We are going to hike from Crawford Notch to Pinkham Notch – around 25 miles in stretch including traversing the Presidential Range and climbing the Mt. Washington.We are going from hut to hut – Mizpah Spring to Lakes of the Clouds to Madison Spring – around 4 to 8 miles in between.     We hope that we will not getting blown off from the range.  😎  Wish us a best of luck to get through in one piece and hope for no-rain weather.    We hope to arrive in Pinkham Notch on America’s Birthday.   Stay cool and have a good week, folks!

We arrived today at Crawford Notch at last!  It rained in late afternoon this past Wednesday while we hiked to Galehead Hut (5 hours of climbing).  We ended up like drowned rats and Sarah L. and her dog barely made it back to her car before rain came!  LOL  On Thursday, we hiked from Galehead Hut to Zealand Falls Hut for 7 miles, but it rained on and off in the morning and afternoon. UGH!  It took Cane 10 hours to hike from hut to hut.  However, before we resumed our hiking, we went to AMC Highland Center to speak with someone about our concerns and stresses trying to hike in the Whites and getting “Work for Stay” program – for thru-hikers only to arrive at around 4:30 to 5:30 pm to get work exchange for food and place to sleep.  It is first come, first service basis.  It created some pressures on us trying to use this program, but it caused some physical stresses on Cane trying to hustle over some challenging terrain.  So, AMC staff, Cane, and I discussed and AMC agreed to support us by making a “reservation” (similar to priority service for disabled/special needs people) at hut where we are going to hike, so we are guaranteed to have a place to stay and food.  From each hut we leave, we notify the hut master our plans and ask her/him to radio to another hut to notify them.  It helped tremendously to lift off some pressure from Cane’s shoulder and reduce the weight in our backpack by eliminating a few days’ worth of food.  I can see that.  I am so gracious with AMC for supporting us and understanding our concerns and needs.  It made me proud that I am the member of AMC!!!!!!  😎

Anyhow, we arrived at around 7 pm at Zealand Falls Hut last night – 10 hours of hiking for 7 miles.  Today, we hiked 7.7 miles from Zealand Falls Hut to Crawford Notch.  It rained earlier in the morning, but lucky us, the day got cleared up and ended up as a nice day for us!  However, the trail was still wet making it a bit harder on Cane to hike.  We hiked to Ethan Pond shelter for a lunch – around 3 miles from Crawford Notch.  We ran into Caleb, a caretaker that helped Cane when he was ill at Garfield Ridge Campsite.  He was hiking to do some trail maintenance.  At this time, he was the caretaker at Ethan Pond Campsite.  I told him that we were sorry that we weren’t planning on staying at Ethan Pond Campsite since we were going to AMC Highland Center.  He was happy to see Cane hiking again and feeling better.  We were happy to see him again.  😎  Anyhow, upon our arrival at Ethan Pond Campsite, we took off our boots and stinky and wet socks to let them dry up a bit by the sun.  We ate our lunch and took a bit long rest.  The two hikers from Maine, Darcy H. and Pete C., stopped by and tried to chat with us.  I notified that we were deaf.  We communicated and found out that we were AT thru-hikers and were going to hitchhike for a ride to AMC Highland Center upon our arrival in Crawford Notch (we couldn’t make it to catch a ride via AMC Hiker’s Shuttle from trailhead in Crawford Notch, so we opted to hitchhike and had our sign with fat black marker written “AMC” on piece of paper to hold up for a ride).  They offered us a ride.  I told them that Cane was a Deafblind and normally hiked slowly.  They were perfectly fine with that which astonished me.  It was so nice to have a company who understood and accepted Cane’s needs and pace.  So, we hiked together for around 3 miles toward Crawford Notch and they gave us a lift to AMC Highland Center today.  We graciously thanked them from bottom of our heart and wished them well for their traveling plans.  We got ourselves all cleaned up and well-fed with delicious dinner buffet provided by AMC Highland Center.  It is nice to get out of wet socks and boots for once and all!  😉

Tomorrow, we are going to opt for a zero day since Cane hiked with great effort for 14 miles in two days.  He is pretty much worn out tonight.  This Sunday, we plan to hike from Crawford Notch to Pinkham Notch – yeah from notch to notch again for around 25 miles, but it will take us to hike the Presidential Range which include climbing to top of the Mt. Washington.  Kudos to Cane for hiking well.  😎

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Appalachian Trail

Map of entire Appalachian Trail - 2,179 miles/3,507 km - through 14 states - Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine

Map of entire Appalachian Trail - 2,179 miles/3,507 km

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