I knew Maine wouldn't be easier. I had had a local section hiker tell me that fact proudly, you had to earn your miles in Maine was his view, 'NO switch backs for you', But it was closer to the end goal.
Maine also became the point where I realized sometimes it is easier to just to take off the pack (all electronics being carefully packed either deep in the pack or in my pants pocket), tighten down the straps (learned I needed to tuck away the camelback nozzle) and throw the pack down the rock face. Not all of them have "helpful" slippery metal rods and becoming instantaneously 40lbs lighter makes climbing down 'easier.'
And you know the reaction of the hikers behind me when I would do that (after checking below me to make certain no one was there) sometimes made me smile for hours later since they either admired my chutzpah or worried that I had been out just a bit too long.
So I made it.
I walked to Maine from West Virginia.
I didn't pass every white blaze but that was never my goal I did blue blaze at times, and once or twice mostly because it made more sense re. getting to hostels I did walk along the highways. (The only thing I didn't do was yellow blaze but if that is what you needed to do to accomplish things then that is what you needed to do.) There are so many different ways of making this journey and maybe it has to do with doing it at 46 rather than 22 but I do not necessarily value any one way over another.
I didn't have much time to 'relax' at the sign as a large group of Harvard students were behind me, and I was concerned about trying to get to the shelter before the rain started. Rocks can be frustrating; wet rocks take that frustration to another level.
I remember thinking though that New Hampshire was done.