Saturday, October 11, 2014

Day 176- Happy Birthday Papa, Plans Changed And Everything Happens ForThe Best

I was awoken at 5:00 this morning by loud crunching, and water noises; moose! I so badly wanted to get out and see if I could see them but I knew better. My luck, I would get out and right beside the bench would be a huge bull looking to charge. I lay there in my sleeping bag listening to the moose chomping on branches and leaves, and slurping water. After a little while I got out to move my clothes hanging in the tree into my tent. I wanted to go down by the water to see if I could see the moose but thought maybe I shouldn't incase he was close. I was pretty awake but decided to lay back down and continued to listen drifting in and out of sleep. I got up around 6:30 and was out of camp by 7:30. With 16 miles ahead of me, the day was gloomy and overcast. It called for rain but luckily that held out for me until I got to camp later that evening. I walked along beautiful ponds with the trees changing color, and alongside the rivers and streams. The terrain was amazing; flat, easy, and well groomed. I got to the next shelter a little after 11:00 making great time. Kerosene was here, and would be staying the night. He was meeting his partner on Tuesday at Jo-Mary road in the late afternoon; Jo-Mary road was only a few miles from here. I meant to have my mom send a new fuel canister with the last mail drop since I have never used one until empty, but I forgot. I was pretty sure I had plenty for the remaining days, but didn't want to chance it. I made miso soup for lunch, cold and stopped making tea to be sure. After lunch, I went and filtered some water; the shelter is located right on a great swimming hole, too bad it's not summer time. I would be picking up my food at Jo-Mary road in 3.7 miles, and from there I would have 4.2 miles until Antlers campsite where I would spend the night. I left the shelter and hoped the trail would stay as pleasant as the first half of the day, to my surprise it did. This is what I envisioned the 100 Mile Wilderness being. As I approached the logging road, something to my right caught my eye. I looked down next to a rock to find some Ramen, and a fuel canister. I started to tear up. What are the chances that out in the middle of no where, the one thing you need; is sitting there waiting for you? It was the perfect gift. I walked as the directions told me to find my food bucket; turn left, walk until you see a blue ribbon on a tree on your right and then walk about 25 feet into the woods to find the buckets. Like a scavenger hunt, I was praying my bucket was there with my food untouched, and then there it was. I got my food from the bucket, re-organized, and put my trash in the bucket and walked on. I was still in an amazement daze as I left the road with the two fuel canisters. At this rate I would be to camp before 4:00! The terrain stayed good, a little rocky and some roots in places but overall more than acceptable. It started to mist and within 30 minutes I was at the campsites. Antlers campsites are said to be the most beautiful on the trail, it was like being in a campground. They were actual sites, nice pine forrest, and right on the water. This lake was an actual lake and I thought I was at the ocean with the waves crashing. The storm was moving in, so I went to the last campsite like Baltimore Jack suggested and set up my tent on what felt like my own island. There was no one else at the campsites and I felt like I was on a deserted island. I got inside my tent and enjoyed the sound of the waves while making an early first dinner, beef stew. I had service here so I texted my Mom, and checked the weather; Saturday did not look good. My original plan was to stay here tonight, sleep in, and walk about 4 miles to a lake view of Katahdin and stealth in reflection. The rainy weather made my zero seem like a good idea, but summiting on a rainy day did not. Especially when Friday was going to be sunny and 64. I had a decision to make, skip the following campsite and carry on to finish on a beautiful day, or zero and chance the weather? I started Springer Mountain on April 7th; a cold, rainy miserable day. I was not going to finish my journey out the way it started. I sat and looked at the numbers, I could do a 15.5 mile day tomorrow, then 15.2 miles the following day, and 15.9 miles into the Birches Campground Thursday night. Seemed manageable, I really wanted to zero in the woods to just take in my surroundings but I wanted blue skies more. Every time I envisioned my summit photo in my mind it had blue skies, that must account for something. My mind was 90% made up, I would check the weather one last time in the morning to be sure nothing changed. The upside, both nights before the Birches I would stealth on a mountain where you could see Katahdin so that worked out nicely. I wrote on the frisbee a little; a quote from Dr. Seuss and some information about me, and then decided to dump my food bag, take inventory and organize. Since I had two fuel canisters now, I used mine for the beef stew as well as a cup of tea. After the rain subsided a bit, I got out to pump some water. Since I had the extra food now I made a Mountain House mac and cheese and then called it a night. The rain stopped, but the wind whipped my tent around. Everything will all work out however it is supposed to, I know it. Blue skies, baby; blue skies!

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