It rained through the night, really pouring at times, so it turns out I did make the right decision to sleep in the shelter and I actually slept pretty well. And, just as I had hoped, the rain was pretty much gone by the time I woke up, although it did lightly rain off and on throughout the morning, but not enough to soak my pack or anything. In Maine on the trail there are several river crossings where the hiker has to ford through it themselves. But because it has been so dry this summer, I haven't had to get my feet wet on any of the rivers as I've been able to hop on rocks instead. However, after the rain last night, there was a river to ford that required getting wet up to my ankles. My boots and socks got soaked and were soggy all day. Anyways, I made it to Monson and between two small hiker resupply stores and a gas station convenience store I was able to get what should hopefully be 8 days of food to get me through the 100-mile wilderness. It's not the healthiest food, and is a lot of peanut butter crackers and tortillas and oreos, but should work. It will be boring foodwise and I won't be able to eat as much as I'd like, but I should be able to do it. My pack is not quite as heavy as coming out of Gorham, but it is quite big and it'll probably slow me down quite a bit. But this is it: 1.5 miles until I cross Maine Highway 15 and then it's 100 miles until any other civilization. When I got back on the trail today, the sun had come out but it was still nice and cool, and I just realized that I want to enjoy this last section and really just be happy and thankful for it instead of being too focused on finishing. It's been a real privilege to be able to do this hike.
|Sunset on Doughty Pond|
Day 69 - (8/18/16) 16.5 miles (Doughty Pond to Long Pond Stream Lean-to)
|Entering the 100-mile wilderness|
Day 70 - (8/19/16) 13.5 miles (Long Pond Stream Lean-to to East Chairback Pond)
|View from Chairback Mtn|
|East Chairback Pond - I had it all to myself for the night|
Day 71 - (8/20/16) 12.2 miles (East Chairback Pond to Junction with White Brook Trail)
This morning my water filter wasn't quite working, and barely any flow was moving through it. This has happened before and after a little while it usually starts working normally again, but today it didn't. After spending at least a half-hour trying to fix it, I finally gave up and went to my backup, iodine pills, for the first time. They are ok, but make the water taste a little funky and I have to wait at least a half-hour before I can safely drink the water. I just hope I have enough pills to make it until the end now, or I'll have to rely on this stubborn filter. Anyways, my right leg, especially behind my knee, was bothering me all day, but still I managed to tackle most of the mountains today: Gulf Hagas, West Peak, and Hay Mtn. I just have to go up White Cap Mtn. tomorrow morning and that's the last 3000ft, or even 2000ft, mountain until Katahdin. I also should get my first view of Katahdin from White Cap, which I'm excited for, and I'm also excited for the flat terrain again.
Day 72 - (8/21/16) 14.0 miles (Junction with White Brook Trail to Cooper Brook Falls Lean-to)
The morning was foggy and up on White Cap I was in a windy and chilly cloud. It was cleaning up as I was going down and was pretty clear when I got to the viewpoint that was supposed to be my first view of Katahdin, but I saw no mountain that stood out to me as it. There was one patch of clouds and that must have been blocking the mountain. Oh well, I'm sure I'll be seeing it plenty in the next couple days. Finally flat ground now! There was a small mountain, Little Boardman, in the early afternoon, but it wasn't bad. My right leg is still bothering me sometimes, although less so when I am in the zone and hiking fairly quickly. 60 miles left till the end, and 45 of the 100-mile wilderness. I could have hiked more today, but everyone is saying rain is coming tonight lasting until tomorrow morning, so I decided, like the last time, to stop and stay in a shelter to stay dry. Just a few days left, so I should be in the clear weatherwise. I'm hoping I'll have a little bit of food left over when I finish the 100 miles, then I can have a mini-feast on whatever is left. I'm going to try and take inventory tomorrow of my food and see how much I can eat. With my lack of food, my hurt leg, and my bad water filter, I'm kind of just hoping I'll survive the trail before more goes wrong. I'm so close now and I'm just going to take it easy and a day at a time.
Day 73 - (8/22/16) 15.7 miles (Cooper Brook Falls Lean-to to Nahmakanta Stream Campsite)
Well, it did rain in the night, so I made the right decision again. I didn't sleep that well, but I managed to stay dry as a feather. It was still raining in the morning, so I got up late around 8am. The rain lessened and was only drizzling when I set out on the trail at 9:30am. It was easy hiking all day, I'm not even sure I broke a sweat, and I took it easy as my right leg was still bothering me off and on. There was one little hill of a couple hundred feet, and I hardly even noticed it! I finally got my first view of Katahdin, but most of it was blocked by clouds, but its base was huge and impressive enough that I could imagine the rest of it. It's amazing to finally literally see the end point, as the beginning point is so far away and beyond the horizon now. And to think I came the whole way on foot over all those mountains! I've had a lot of time to think out here on the trail, and there are so many things I am looking forward to when I finish, so many things I want to do. As I was getting caught up in thinking about all those things, though, I realized this hike was one thing I've wanted to do for so long and looked forward to too, and here I am about to complete it. For that I am extremely grateful. 29 miles of wilderness left, and 44 until the end of the trail! (And now over 1 month without a shower!)
|Katahdin mostly covered by clouds|
|My first clear view of Katahdin|
Day 75 - (8/24/16) 11.2 miles (Rainbow Lake Campsite to Abol Bridge Campground)
|Katahdin as seen from Abol Bridge|
Day 76 - (8/25/16) 9.9 miles (Abol Bridge Campground to The Birches Lean-tos)
Day 77 - (8/26/16) 5.2 miles (The Birches Lean-tos to Katahdin/Baxter Peak)
|The Tableland; like walking on the moon|
Words for Maine: long, ponds, starting slow and ending fast, rooty, difficult, wilderness, remote
|I made it!|