Saturday, October 1, 2016

Day 3-14

I'm going to try to catch up to current date so here goes the quicker way.

Day 3 only 1 1520 ft. of elevation to walk today but again mid-day 2-4pm I can't get my feet and leg muscles to move. I had my big push after 4pm to make it 16 miles but at the expense of blistered feet I made it to the shelter 8:15 not much light left in the day. 
Day 5 I put moleskin on to help my blistered feet(got the keep them happy to be Happy Feet trail name!  Started hiking late today 9:30-5:30 for 11.5 miles today. Deb and I agree to not hike together after getting our food drop tomorrow I cannot keep her pace. I'm feeling like I could take a day off. I didn't realize that Monday in Monson for our mail drop was the 4th of July. Oops! I'm thinking slow down but Deb wants to get there as planned. My blistered feet are not going to make the original plan we worked out. 
Day 6 Deb & I head out together for the last time together, we get to our arranged food drop, which is a bit of a Geo Cashing hunt. Go across this road go 1white dash to the south walk 25 more feet turn around to see the northbound white dash go left behind the 2nd big rock there is your bucket of food. Deb gets there first and doesn't find it I read instructions again and there it is! We separate our food and stay in different shelters for the first time. I feel bad because Deb has no stove to cook with. So Day 7 July 1 I head out early from the shelter I started out without eating breakfast hoping to catch Deb at the shelter 4 miles ahead. Deb usually didn't start hiking until after 8am. I arrive by 7:40 only to find that Deb had already left. I cooked my breakfast a little disappointed that I missed her. I'll have to communicate my intentions of getting to Monson Tuesday and ask her to leave my stuff from the mail drop at the hiker hostel. 
Day 8 it rained in the night so I'm packing up my tent and my food bag wet making my pack heavier. I know Deb is going to do a slide trail today so I prayed for her safety. I felt great hiking all day I forgot to write how far I got but it was my best day yet emotionally and physically. I must be getting stronger. 
Day 9 I woke up after the best nights sleep since I started. It was cooler during the night. I got off to a real late start 9:30 was late for me. I usually was out of camp by 6-7 am I'm hoping to do 14 miles today. My intentions are to stay at Wilson Pond. Well my day went very slow going only 1/2 mile per hour ugh! I was ready to change my name to molasses, that's how bad I was moving molasses up hill on a cold day, only it was really hot & muggy. I got my first trail magic this day. A day hiker from the AMC lodge asked me if I wanted his sandwich. I said sure. He actually gave me his whole lunch turkey wrap with lettuce, tomato,onion, & cheese, chocolate chip cookies, chips, & gorp. I gave him back the gorp, I said he may need something for his day but ate the rest while we chatted about me a single female walking the trail. He was impressed that I was doing it. I was very happy for real food veggies not dehydrated what a treat. After that I was still luggy but something changed after 4pm. I hiked until 8pm at a much different pace arriving at the shelter only to see it was too many people. I asked a NOBO if they had seen any possible places to camp south of there. They said yes not too far from there. It wasn't quite dark yet so I pressed on. I needed water which was south of there too. I got my water at dusk, got my head lamp out and continued to hike. Alas I found the place she had mentioned. Set up in the dark cooked dinner ate & went off to sleep. There were others camping near me about 10pm they started firing off fireworks it was the 4th the next day. 
Day 10 it's 4th of July today. I need to go 14 miles today to make Monson! I've been in the woods now for 10 days. Philosopher and her mom pass by where I'm camping, they hike a little faster than I do, but we seem to stay at the same places. They are pushing into Monson today too. I get all my stuff back in my pack and off I go.  As I'm hiking I meet a man from Seattle area named Wilson Wilson. He helps me to get my pace up a bit as we hike and chat. We stopped at the last shelter before the road in Monson, he is ready to move in before me I decide to push to get there tonight. I ask him when he gets to the road wait 20 minutes before calling the shelter, he agrees to do that. I'm booking it after getting water for the last leg of the wilderness. I think it is the fastest I have hiked thus far. I know I'm getting close I can hear cars, but I turn a corner to see an amazing sunset do I take the time to photograph it? YES I do. I'm almost running I'm going so fast, I get to the road to see Wilson Wilson and the shuttle vehicle pulling into the parking lot. I'm so happy to have made it! I could not have done it without the motivation of others along the way, & God by my side!

It's a lovely day the 4th of July I get out of the woods and get a shower, a bed, and a meal at a restaurant! What could be so good after spending 11 days in the woods. People who had passed me along the trail & most of all I get to see Deb again. We had a chance to chat about our differences and I apologize for not being in the shape it takes to keep up to her pace. We settle things emotionally and I feel things are better between us and our decision to separate. I needed to just take a whole day off so Tuesday the post office is open Deb & I get our resupply and go through the box her husband sent us and she leaves shortly after that to hike out to make her goal of 180 or so miles. 

This is her showing off her new lighter pack she bought. Her other one was too big and heavy. Poet the owner of Shaw's hiker hostel helped her to get better equipped. I was very happy for her. We said our goodbyes and off she went. I enjoyed my day off, going into the little town and having a foot bath of Epsom salts while eating my lunch at Pete's. The people here are very friendly to hikers I think they are the livelihood of the town us and the tourists. I was able to sit & chat with many hikers. What an amazing thing it is to know so many people are doing this trail.
Day 12 I'm packed up with my resupply and ready to get back on the trail. I'm pretty slow hiker compared to most others that I have seen. I pass no one except those going north. I can't let this trouble me. One really big thing I received from Deb was what it takes to be focused to do the miles. I really needed that inspiration. Thank you Deb. 
I set out with a lofty goal for myself but had also seen the weather forecast T-storms in the afternoon. I had stopped at a shelter not real far in yo have lunch. There were a few people there, we chatted a bit I mentioned the weather reports and debated to stay the night there or press on, then the rain started we all stayed in for the rest of the day & night. My total miles on the day? maybe 5
Day 13  The next day I set out happy I didn't get wet. I got to the next shelter to eat and decide where I should try to get to. Within 5 minutes of being in the shelter I heard thunder, I knew to continue to hike would be on exposed mountain tops so I stayed put, again very happy with my decision. I was alone for about 1 hour before s family of 4 arrived a mom with 3 kids 6,10,&12yrs old. I was very impressed, they were doing a section of AT all of Maine. Then another group of NOBO's soaking wet arrived. Oh my was I happy I stayed dry! 

The views along the way make this journey worth it.
July 8 I need to get to Caratunk ME before the end of tomorrow, this is the day Deb's husband is picking us up. I'm hoping to make it all the way there today. I hike & hike and get to s shelter have lunch and hike some more. Exhausted I pull into a shelter near a lake with vacation homes all around it. I go down to the pond for water to cook dinner. As I get there a mom duck with 25 little ones is near the dock. I've never seen so many babies with only 1 mom. I get closer with my camera ready but they shove off before I get there, no picture so you'll have to believe me on this story. I'm the only one at the shelter all night long, other than camping 1 night on the 4th it's the only alone time I've had. There is usually at least 2 or more staying were I am. It's not lonely just different.
Day 14 July 9. I really want to get to Caratunk before 9. I get up early and set out by 7 am. I'm hoping to arrive by 9:00. I did make it but 9:30 was the best I could do. It was drizzling as I hiked so it made just a little slippery to go any faster. Deb, her husband and kids were at the BnB hiker hostel eating breakfast when I arrived. I was very happy to see everyone. Deb only made it to here after all. She had fallen and possibly broke her nose. I felt bad she didn't hit her goal but happy she was safe for the most part. 
I drove home to Milford to Maureen's house that day with Deb and her family. Went to church Sunday July 10th and hopped on a plane to do my work that afternoon to Portland Oregon. What a time I've had! Wish you all could be here.
Wildlife I saw along the way in the wilderness: Duck with ducklings, mom moose feeding in the pond with her little one in the brush, a snapping turtle right in the middle of the trail, snakes, frogs, bugs of many kinds, no ticks thank God, fish in the ponds, loons( their coos where amazing), spiders, chipmunks, squirrels, mice(all who are smaller than your neighborhood, & who like to steal and eat your food if you don't put it up safely)  

There really is a moose in this last shot.  I got to watch mom feed in the algae for about 10 minutes while the little one was on shore very near to her. It was an amazing moment in nature. I know you probably will not be able to see her, I did try to get closer but I ruined the whole scene when I moved closer for a better shot. I felt it was time to leave as soon as mom knew I was there.

Happy Feet

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