Climb (almost) every mountain

The “holy” mountain, Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail in Maine.

Three years ago this week, I made it to Mount Katahdin….sort of. I’d planned to walk all the way there from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Maine along the Appalachian Trail. I only made it 1,405 miles to a road crossing (and convenience store with decent pizza) in New York. My feet had been in pain for more than a month. Every step hurt. I couldn’t make my daily mileage and I certainly had stopped having any fun. Sitting there, eating my pizza, I knew I had to get off the trail. A friend who lived in the area took me to her house and got me to a doctor. Prognosis: The bones in my feet were breaking down. My hike was over, unless I wanted to suffer permanent damage.

I cried like a little girl for a whole day. Then I began making a new plan.
 
As part of that plan, for a month, I worked at a Maine hostel at the nearest city to the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. I did it mostly to stay near the trail for a little bit longer. While I didn’t hike Mount Katahdin, I did get to see it as I shuttled hikers to and from the trail.
I’m at peace with my hike and (surprisingly) have no desire to finish the last 800 miles. I may never climb this mountain and that’s OK. Plans have to change sometimes.
 
And now, it seems, my plans are changing again. I’d hoped to stay in Peru for 6 months. The vagaries of visas and less-than-professional English schools have helped me move along a bit faster. Don’t worry, I won’t leave Peru without seeing a bit more of it.
And I have an interesting hike that’s developing for the near future. Stay tuned!

My last week in The States

I’ve been staying with my dear friends Kathy and Julia, just outside Albany, NY. Tomorrow I leave for Vietnam. It’s been a whirlwind of activity here as my friends send me off with a greater appreciation for upstate New York.

Kathy took me to Van's, a Vietnamese restaurant in Albany. This is a tofu steak with a tasty lemongrass sauce.
Kathy took me to Van’s, a Vietnamese restaurant in Albany. This is a tofu steak with a tasty lemongrass sauce.
We had some great food, including fish at The Cat's Meow, a local lunch spot.
We had some great food, including fish at The Cat’s Meow, a local lunch spot.
I helped Julia with a lovely fundraiser at this historic house in Albany, NY.
I helped Julia with a lovely fundraiser at this historic house in Albany, NY.
I love caves and we had a particularly good tour guide at Howe Caverns.
I love caves and we had a particularly good tour guide at Howe Caverns.

 

At Howe Caverns, it's really dark. This is one of the best photos inside the cave. We also went on an underground boat ride during the cave tour.
At Howe Caverns, it’s really dark. This is one of the best photos inside the cave. We also went on an underground boat ride during the cave tour.
Kathy took me to a small, but well done Iroquois museum. This tells a bit about these Native Americans. Wish the photo was better.
Kathy took me to a small, but well done Iroquois museum. This tells a bit about these Native Americans. Wish the photo was better.
At the Iroquois Museum there is a small pool in the basement activity room with real turtles swimming around a turtle sculpture, In their creation myth, the earth is a turtle.
At the Iroquois Museum there is a small pool in the basement activity room with real turtles swimming around a turtle sculpture, In their creation myth, the earth is a turtle.
Julia and I went to The Big E, a regional state fair. This bunny on the left was the oddest animal we saw.
Julia and I went to The Big E, a regional state fair. This bunny on the left was the oddest animal we saw.
There were draft horse pulls in the arena at The Big E.
There were draft horse pulls in the arena at The Big E.
MIdway at The Big E. We also did a wine tasting where I was stung by a wasp. Worse wine I've ever had, so we didn't buy any.
MIdway at The Big E. We also did a wine tasting where I was stung by a wasp. Worse wine I’ve ever had, so we didn’t buy any.
But I got a lot of wonderful wine during my stay. Kathy, Julia and I stayed in a cozy cottage on Seneca Lake, one of the FInger Lakes. It's become quite a wine growing region. This was outside our back door. We could see the sunrise in the morning.
But I got a lot of wonderful wine during my stay. Kathy, Julia and I stayed in a cozy cottage on Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes. It’s become quite a wine growing region. This was outside our back door. We could see the sunrise in the morning.
We saw a lot of grapes growing in Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. We tasted a LOT of wine too.
We saw a lot of grapes growing in Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. We tasted a LOT of wine too.
In addition to wines, we also tried a few spirits. This place made their own gin and whiskey.
In addition to wines, we also tried a few spirits. This place made their own gin and whiskey.
Julia and I went to the Garlic Festival. You just never know what you might see there.
Julia and I went to the Garlic Festival. You just never know what you might see there.
There was lots of produce at the Garlic Festival and over a dozen different kinds of garlic. Who knew there were so many. The local garlic is called "Music" so I brought some of that home for Kathy.  Julia and I also tried Garlic Chocolate Chip Cookies. I can cross that off my list for the rest of my life. I'm a culinary adventurer, but some things I don't eat twice.
There was lots of produce at the Garlic Festival and over a dozen different kinds of garlic. Who knew there were so many. The local garlic is called “Music” so I brought some of that home for Kathy.
Julia and I also tried Garlic Chocolate Chip Cookies. I can cross that off my list for the rest of my life. I’m a culinary adventurer, but some things I don’t eat twice.
...and Julia brought me back a Moxie soda from Maine.
…and Julia brought me back a Moxie soda from Maine.

And for my last evening meal in the USA, I had pizza. Can you think of anything more American that that? LOL