No Pain, No Maine: A Month in Photos

The old AT thru hiker adage, “No Pain, No Maine”, normally applies to northbound (NOBO) hikers and is used to keep spirits up as they push through the first 2,000 miles, essentially implying that without a bit of pain and suffering, you will never finish the trail.

Well since we’re southbound (SOBO), we started with the hardest terrain first, and we soon realized that the saying applies to us SOBO’s too, because, well, Maine hurts. From ankles to knees, backs and buttocks, the first 300 miles of the trail worked us like a couple of couch potatoes.

People often say, “You just rode your bicycles across the country so you must be in shape!” Bologna, we say. The first two weeks of the hike hurt more than all 3 months of our bike trip, without a doubt. So here we sit, recuperating a few sore muscles before we get out into arguably the hardest section of the entire trail, the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We plan on summiting Mt. Washington on Sunday, which you may recall holds the distinction of the highest recorded wind speed on Planet Earth; a breezy 231 mph.

So to recap the last month, here in photos (and no particular order), are the first 300 miles of the trail.

 

Stopping by the US Capital on our way up to Maine to pay our respects to a failing system.

Stopping by the US Capitol on our way up to Maine to pay our respects to a failing system.

 

And we stopped through Boston for a wicked good time.

And we stopped through Boston for a wicked good time.

 

Stopping for a break on our climb up Mt Katahdini.

Taking a break on our climb up Mt Katahdin.

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Our first good view of the White Mountains above Gorham, NH.

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Location, location, location.

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Our first state crossing!

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The deep, dark forests of New England.

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VA navigates a tricky section of trail just near the Maine/New Hampshire border.

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Up, down, up, down.

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VA poses with the trail legend “Skywalker”, a seven-footer who has published several books on the AT and the PCT.

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Frogs have been the most prevalent wildlife thusfar.

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Every time we peak out and look South, we get a glimpse of what’s to come.

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VA climbs Baldplate.

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Our hammock pods of goodness.

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A foggy, rainy ascent.

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In Stratton, Maine just 24 miles from the Canada border.

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Avery Peak

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goofin’

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Show me your war face!

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Camping at the edge of East Carry Pond.

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Just a few days into the journey. You can see Katahdin left of center.

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Socked in on Moxie Bald, just south of Monson.

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VA and Molly after a full day of walking in the rain and fording rivers.

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Fern-tastic!

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One of countless rock scrambles.

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Dinner, off the ground.

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Approaching Rainbow Shelter.

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So far, finding water has not been an issue.

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VA atop Katahdin.

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4 thoughts on “No Pain, No Maine: A Month in Photos

  1. Good Lord you two…This is incredible stuff – so glad you have taken the time to share it with us all! I just can’t even fathom. I remember David telling me about the EXTREMELY high percentage of hikers dropping out in the first 3 days (and I think he was talking about NOBO), so the fact that you have endured the toughest part and are eager to continue on is awe-inspiring! It’s thrilling to be vicariously part of your adventure and read/see how much you have done together. Keep going and please keep posting! This is amazing stuff – it’s so hard to wait patiently for more!
    As Virginia would say, Lengths of Love!
    Lauren
    P.S. A real gentleman would carry that backpack for his lady. 🙂

  2. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the photos! More, please. I agree with Laura Thomsen–incredible stuff! Hugs to you both!

    • Last year on the AT we used hammocks by Wilderness Logic, specifically the Snipe, and underquilts and tarps by Hammock Gear.

      And while this setup was absurdly comfortable, we switched back to a ground setup in the end due to the simplicity and reliability of being able to sleep wherever/whenever we wanted, without fuss.

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