We took a zero day at Chet's Place so Eagle Eye could get her backpack and internet stuff done and because Low Gear took a zero today after he hurt his foot and the slackpack schedule has been pushed back a day. It's not bad to have a breather before we tackle more of the white mountains. I am using my trekking poles so much that my back, shoulders, neck, wrists and arms are especially sore right now. Also, the climbing on rocks uses my upper body more than I have the whole time. We will hike Franconia ridge tomorrow! It looks like we will luck out with good weather. Yay!

On the stressful side, money has become a big issue up north, because of the increased cost of everything. Chet has been a huge help by asking only for donations and some help around the house, but in New England hostels routinely cost $30 a person, compared to the south where it might be $5-15 a person. Food and shuttle costs are also significantly higher, and I'm worried about my financial ability to complete this hike. It makes me incredibly sad to think that I just didn't save enough money to finish my hike, though I haven't given up hope yet. So many people have already been so generous in so many ways to help me get this far. I know that I have the ability and drive to finish the entire trail this year, but if I can only afford to finish to Katahdin this year, I promise I will come back and hike the middle section and complete the AT as a section hike. I know that isn't very useful towards the fundraiser for Best Friends, but I know they appreciate every penny I can raise for them while I'm out here.

I don't mean to bring things down, but a lot of people have to leave the AT, and their dreams of thruhiking it, because they run out of money, and I'm afraid that might soon be me. In the meantime........I plan to hike the hardest parts of the AT in the next few days and weeks, and tell you all the riveting details, so don't count me out yet. Trail magic works in all sorts of ways and you never know what might happen next. Plus, I'll be crossing my 1,000 mile mark in the Whites. What a milestone that will be.