We are thrilled to share our third update from Rex and Gerry Leonard who are hiking the Appalachian Trail to raise funds and awareness of PHWFF and the disabled veterans we serve. Now bestowed with AT Trail Names (Diesel and Pony Express), this travel logs entry highlights the challenges of southern Maine, the incredible experience of the Mahoosuc Notch, and the approaching challenges of New Hampshire and its White Mountains.
They have now completed 282 strenuous miles of the Appalachian Trail! Let’s show our support and wish Team Leonard our best as they continue with this courageous feat in support of the many disabled veterans whose lives will be changed as a result of their sacrifice.
Read all their dispatches from the AT here: Gerry and Rex Leonard Hike to Heal Veterans
Pony Express checking in with Update #3. Since our last post, we achieved a few significant milestones. First and foremost, WE MADE IT TO NEW HAMPSHIRE!!! After 282 strenuous miles through Maine, we crossed the border into NH on 11 July. Some highlights of our journey from Andover, ME to Gorham, NH.
Southern Maine, known for its viciously rugged terrain in the hiking world, did not let us down! As you know from our previous posts, we had some ups and downs both mentally and physically throughout Maine, but nothing in the north prepared us for Southern Maine. The last 30 miles of Maine were brutally challenging, but equally fun and beautiful…particularly the famous Mahoosuc Notch.
The AT Guidebook calls the Mahoosuc Notch either the most fun or most difficult mile on the AT. For Diesel and I, it was absolutely the most fun! Climbing over enormous boulders and sliding down subsurface crevasses with remnants of the harsh winter—ice and snow everywhere–was incredible. The crisp, icy air felt like a freezer and was a relief from the hot humid days we endured before and after.
The climb out of the Notch was ruthless, but quick (for me more than my Dad!) because we were eager to reach the border. Roughly eight miles from the border we picked up the pace and honed in on New Hampshire. Those miles flew by…then, there it was…in the middle of an alpine bog…the border sign we had been inching towards since Father’s Day. What a sense of relief! We finally finished our first state.
Upon entering New Hampshire our spirits were high, but our bodies were sore. We decided to take a zero day before we marched into the White Mountains. The day after our zero, we entered the Whites, specifically we hit the Carter-Moriah range and the Wildcats. Despite taking it slow due to injuries Diesel sustained in Southern Maine, these two ranges were absolutely stunning and challenging, with 8 peaks exceeding 4,000 feet!
Tomorrow, weather permitting, we will continue our hike into the rest of the Whites. First up is Mount Madison, and soon after, the granddaddy of them all…Mount Washington. Wish us luck and pray my Dad’s feet hold up! Happy Trails, Pony Express