Waking up with the sun is one of the most refreshing things, even though I didn't get a good night sleep last night. I barely got any sleep between the slant of my tent, and trying to stay comfortable, the fact that I was on the edge of a mountain, and the wind occasionally hitting my tent. Despite all of this, it was worth it. I laid there until after 7:00 knowing I needed to get up, but everything was so beautiful. By 8:05 I was on the trail, and although this is later than I prefer; I enjoyed myself. I never knew the wilderness would be full of so many views and mountains. When I envisioned the 100 Mile Wilderness, I thought it would be 100 miles of walking on flat ground in the woods with trees surrounding you. These views have been amazing and so has the turning of Fall. Sometimes I eat lunch early just because I am at a great view, and don't want to just let it pass, and walk on by. Today was one of those days; it was surreal just being out in the wilderness with no sight of civilization in view, and no one around. I am starting to wonder where the heck is everyone? At the same time, I don't mind. Walking in the woods is complete silence, most days. Maine has an overabundance of red squirrels, that to my surprise are temperamental just like Zoe. A tribute to my friends and family back home who know Zoe, these squirrels complain just like her. Connecticut has a lot of gray squirrels but not red, Maine is the opposite. They know we are trespassers on their land and they are not happy with us. The first half of my day has been flying by, I've been doing 14-16 miles daily and feel pretty great for the most part. I leave camp around 7:30 and get into camp around 4:00. The first 4 hours in the morning I reflect on whatever wanders into my mind, this makes the beginning of the day go by quick. The trail is more mental than it is physical after the first 1000 miles, and if you keep your mind busy; you will make it all the way. A lot of my most in-depth thoughts were done this last 100 miles in the wilderness and were in the mornings of my hikes. Usually the last hour required the ipod to keep me sane the rest of the way. I wrote a note on a white birch for Lynn letting her know my plans of which campsite which day, and another one letting her know where I would be tonight. Paper is trees, and trees are paper! The morning called for a river ford and as much as I wanted to cross tonight to get it over with and then camp, the book said no camping North of the ford. I stopped to get some water at a spring and saw a frog jump to the side as I was pumping...how delicious. Luckily I love frogs so it was cool to see him there waiting while I filtered, still the fact of things living in my water source is not the most reassuring thing. I didn't see a single person until late afternoon and even then it was someone going South. I feel like my appetite has been in full effect these past couple days and I am thinking I may run out of food with a zero in the woods if I keep eating like this. A problem I have never run into with my mom sending so much weight; I mean food, at a time. I have actually had to monitor my snacks to make sure I don't eat too much in one day, leaving me with none the day before my resupply. There was a crazy unexpected rock scramble before getting to camp and it was one of those times you look at where the trail is going, you say, "really?!", there must be a mistake, and then finally accept it. That is one thing I have learned quickly on the trail, it's not going to change no matter how long you look at it or complain about it; so you might as well just embrace what it has to offer. The rocks are not going to disappear if I stand and stare at them so I best be on my way. It was like Pennsylvania with elevation change, and the worst part; it was down. The surprise of the whole thing is what caught me off guard; just walking down the trail, and then hello; giant boulders to hop down. Holding my breath sometimes, I finally made it down the rock scramble and back onto solid ground; marking 2100 mile mark today! The end of my day brought a long downhill and my knees were on fire; step by step hurt and I just wanted to crawl into a ball in my sleeping bag. My feet, knees, and ankles were killing me by this point and I wondered where the gravel road up ahead was. Finally I reached it, walked down the flat trail by the stream and got to a campsite with two middle-aged men at. Once I learned they are heading South, I asked if there was a campsite closer to the ford; they said this was it, and the other side of the river prohibited camping. I asked if they minded sharing the spot and one replied that he snored. At this point, I didn't even care. The stream was right there and I was setting up camp with them. I set up my tent right next to the entry for the water, filtered some water (which looked like it came from New Jersey), and got dinner ready. The guys and I talked briefly while I got everything situated and said they would question me once I was ready. I cooked my Mountain House and found that they too were eating dehydrated meals, though they were sharing! I eat for dinner the same amount that two grown men eat, how reassuring. Greg went and got some wood to make a bench for me and Clay and I talked. When the common denominator of Connecticut came up I asked where Greg was from and he said Glastonbury, how funny! I shared my neighboring town and come to find out, both he and Clay used to live in the town I live in! Clay's daughter was in the same grade I was in during middle school before they moved and she went to a different high school. What a small world; Greg's wife is a teacher at the middle school, and was name dropping a family name of which I dated during high school. We talked a lot about my trip, me, them, and their families and then they shared their raspberry crumble Mountain House dessert with me. They are doing the 100 Mile Wilderness and are at day 7 if I remember correctly, Clay keeps a journal of everyone he meets and saw Yeti yesterday. The fact that I am not sure I have enough food came up and they quickly offered two of their Mountain House dinners and some bars, I can't thank them enough. I suppose if you really need something; it will be given to you. We sat around the fire and each had an ounce of a really nice Scotch; I don't drink Scotch so I am taking their word for it. It smelled really good, and tasted like it smelled after the alcohol burning sensation faded away. I enjoyed their company and generosity and actually stayed up until 9:00! I climbed into my tent and fell right asleep after the lack of sleep the night before.
I have been reading your AT blog the past few days and I think it is great!! What an awesome adventure! With all the pictures and details it paints the perfect picture for those of us who are planning a thru hike in the future. I have to wait til I retire from my job but I can think of no bigger goal than a thru hike on the AT. Hope to see some post hike posts!ReplyDelete
Thank you Stephen for following and saying hello! It sure is pulling teeth to finish the blog, even though I know one adventure must end to start another. Best of luck to you when you do thru-hike and let me know if you have any questions, I don't glorify anything!ReplyDelete