The slackpacking today was very nice. It gave me a chance to see which aches and pains are from the trail versus those that are from the pack. Mostly my back and feet pain are from the pack. Knee pain was still there so was likely trail related. I did move easier but still felt clumsy and out of shape. It was 10 miles from road to road and we did it in 6.5 hours. This was a good day to slack and there were dark clouds moving in and thunder. It did start to sprinkle on and off for the last few miles. On the road, the hostel owner was waiting for us with lemonade. Shortly after that, the clouds opened up and dumped. Good thing for the car, but a few people did get caught by the rain. Becuase of the rain, and the longer than expected time to hike, most of us have decided to stay in town another day. It isn't a true zero day since we did hike 10 miles. Tomorrow I will just make for the first shelpter, which is 5.8 miles in. The next day will be short at only 3.5 miles but I think my knees need the rest and I have to learn to take more breaks during the day. I find I just plow through the miles regardless of pain then pay for it later or the next day. Since the next big range is Mahoosuc Notch, a part of the White Mountains, I am going to ease back a bit and try to learn to enjoy myself.
Gorham is the next town stop and hopefully the guys will have caught up to me by then. It will be much more fun staying in town with them. It will also be a new state. I will finally be done with Maine. So far I have completed 257 miles of the trail with 25 miles left of Maine. Although Maine is very beautiful, it has been taking a long time so a change of state will signal forward progress. Also, I will be moving slow through the Whites as every north bounder I have met says it is the most beautiful part of the trail. So I want to enjoy it fully. I will try to work for stay at a few huts but I think mostly I will be camping where ever I can.