|Sunrise on South Pond|
|Piazza Rock or Pride Rock?|
|Summit of Saddleback Mtn|
Day 62 - (8/11/16) 16.9 miles (Piazza Rock Lean-to to Spaulding Mountain Lean-to)
|Sometimes the trail is a messy tangle of roots...|
I got up early and was on the trail by 6:30am. I ended up hiking just about 12 hours, finishing around 6:30pm. I went over Saddleback Mountain and its Horn, plus Saddleback Junior. Just about 200 miles left on the trail. For fun, I'm going to go through the guidebook and count how many mountains I've summitted on this hike. It was a pretty ordinary day on the trail today.
Day 63 - (8/12/16) 15.3 miles (Spaulding Mountain Lean-to to Cranberry Stream Campsite)
I woke up from a dream around 4am this morning. I wanted to get another early start anyways because there were supposed to be storms coming, so I decided to get up and pack up camp then. I hit the trail at about 5am or so and had to use my headlamp for about 20 minutes before it was light enough to see without it. I'd met a hiker yesterday who wakes up at 2am and finishes each day around 11am because he doesn't like the hot sun and afternoon thunderstorms, so perhaps he inspired me a bit. The rain did come around 8:30am, and luckily I was down off the mountain by then. The nearest shelter was 15 miles away, so I got completely soaked. I did take brief shelter in a privy at a campsite, which felt quite weird. Luckily it was just rain and no lightning, so I decided to keep hiking and make it up both the South and North Crocker Mtns and by the time I made it to the second it had finally stopped raining and was just mist. I was completely soaked by then, though. I decided to skip going into the town of Stratton, as I still have several days worth of food and hope that can last me until Monson. I also didn't want to deal with figuring out how to get into and out of town and also I'd probably have to spend the night in town because I got to the road later in the day. I'm trying to do this whole trip while staying vegan, not doing any mail drops (sending supplies and food ahead of time in a box to a post office where I could pick it up myself), and not paying to stay in town. I'm so close, I don't want to break any of those streaks. Some of my things I had at the bottom of my pack got soaked: my pillow and two pairs of socks, plus the bottom of my sleeping bag. I hope they can dry, although it looks like tomorrow may be rainy too. I think I may be sleeping by 8pm tonight. My sleep schedule is so different out here on the trail and I'm becoming a temporary morning person.
|...and other times it's full of rocks...|
Day 64 - (8/13/16) 3.3 miles (Cranberry Stream Campsite to Horns Pond Lean-tos)
It rained all night and was still raining when I woke up, so I decided to sleep in and hope the rain would stop. It didn't, but I really didn't want to figure out how to pack up camp while it was raining, and half my stuff was already wet, so I decided to just lay there and waste time and hope my little sanctuary from the rain would hold. It did, but barely, as water began to pool beneath the tent so that it felt like I was nearly sleeping on a water bed. By noon, I decided I needed to try to pack up and at least make it to the next shelter 3 miles away and not have a "zero" day. Luckily, the rain let up for the most part and it was difficult but I did get all my stuff in my pack while I was in the tent and my pack in the vestibule (and this in a 1-person tent where I can't sit up without hitting my head on the top.) It was only lightly drizzling for the hike, but when I made it to the shelter it started up again and another hiker told me it is supposed to rain through the night and then again for most of tomorrow. This may be setting my plans back, and unfortunately still no phone reception (AT&T is just horrible up here), so I'm worried about confirming plans for Diane to come pick me up at the end. Plus Monson, the last town, the guide says the library is only open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so I'd have to make sure I got to town on one of those days to email her. Plus, I'm now worried about running out of food before getting to Monson, and might have to get food in Caratunk (pop. 69), which doesn't seem to have much in it at all. But I suppose I was due to deal with rain like this, as it has been a very dry hike in general and yesterday was only my second day of hiking in the rain and first time setting up or taking down my tent in the rain. It is frustrating, as I feel unproductive sitting here not hiking because of the rain, but I suppose I have to accept it as one of the ways this whole experience has helped me to slow down my life.
|...but sometimes it's actually flat ground!|
Day 65 - (8/14/16) 17.9 miles (Horns Pond Lean-tos to West Carry Pond Lean-to)
|Avery Peak in the Bigelow Mtns|
|West Carry Pond|
Day 66 - (8/15/16) 25.9 miles (West Carry Pond Lean-to to Moxie Pond, South End)
Day 67 - (8/16/16) 15.8 miles (Moxie Pond, South End to Horseshoe Canyon Lean-to)
It was a pretty chilly night, dropped down into the high 50s, so I hiked hard in the morning, starting around 6:45am, until I heated up. I went up Moxie Bald Mtn in the morning (it always seems like a day out here is not complete without summitting at least one mountain) and the rest of the day was pretty flat. I wanted to see how close I could get to Monson today, especially as I heard rain was coming around 4-5pm, but after lunch the terrain turned into lots of tiny hills, up and down over and over, and my body, tired from yesterday, was not feeling well. So instead of going past the shelter and tenting and risking setting up and taking down camp in the rain like I did the last time, I decided to stay in the last shelter, about 8 miles from town, to give my body time to rest, to stay dry (even if I have to hike in the rain in the morning, at least all my stuff will be packed up dry) and try to leave by 6am tomorrow morning. The terrain looks flat anyways tomorrow into town. It's 7pm now and it has hardly sprinkled though. I actually hope it rains more tonight, but not the morning, so my decision to sleep in the shelter (for only the second time on the trail) is vindicated. I'm over 600 miles hiked now. Monson is the last town near the trail, then it's into the 100-mile wilderness and ending with climbing up Katahdin, Maine's highest mountain. I'm excited to be near the end, although I'm not excited to try to find 7-8 days worth of food in a tiny town without a supermarket and then carry that food in my pack and probably still have to limit how much I'll eat per day, because I certainly have "Hiker's Hunger" these days and can easily eat a lot. But this trip is full of challenges and this is just one more of them. I've conquered all that have come my way and I'm not about to back down now. I counted that by the end of this trip I will have summitted 102 mountains and peaks, including 1 over 6000ft, 6 over 5000ft, 28 over 4000ft, 55 over 3000ft, 87 over 2000ft, and all over 1000ft, plus another 14 near summits. It's been a lot of ups and downs!
|A morning view over the mountains of Southern Maine|