As I've implied, my welcome back to my home state of Maine was a butt-kicking from the trail. Way back in Georgia, there was a guy who had thru-hiked last year that told me that western Maine had been the toughest part of the trail for him, and that he had gone from 15-20 mile days down to 8 mile days. I didn't pay much attention to him then, I couldn't imagine that Maine could be any harder than the White Mountains, but now I know what he was talking about! I've never been so tired and sore from hiking!
Luckily, there's a hostel in Andover, ME called the Cabin. It's run by Honey and Bear, two people who are both AT legends. They can tell you stories about Earl Shaffer, the very first thru-hiker, and Joe Dodge, the famous White Mountain Hut-master. More importantly, they take care of hikers like nobody else. I stayed at the Cabin two nights and got my first taste of 'slack-packing', which is hiking a portion of the trail (10 miles in my case) with a day-pack instead of the full load, and landing back at the hostel for a great meal. It was just what I needed to get my legs back under me for the 250-mile walk to Katahdin! Thanks, Honey and Bear!