Saturday, October 1, 2016

Day 15-22

It's now 8/10/16 I've been off trail for 30+days. While in Washington I got to do a little hiking. In Stevens Pass the PCT(Pacific Crest Trail) crosses the road. I stopped to take a break from driving  & there it was, a trail head crossing, I couldn't help but to trot down the trail a bit to say I'd been on the AT & PCT in the same yr.  
I walked a bit but didn't have the time to get a whole day in. A far cry to the AT I'll show you the difference in terrain. PCT

That's a great comparison of the stuff I've walked on in the east. The path is not a sidewalk for sure. 
I had a week off between my work travel & the Soulfest weekend that I decided not to hike   So Soulfest was great I did climb the mountain twice while I was there, once alone and again with Jane Quiggley's granddaughter. So I was hoping to keep my muscles strong for my return to the AT. 
August 10 hiking day 15
I drove up to Caratunk with my truck & bicycle. I dropped my bike off at a hostel in Stratton ME and drove to Paul's place in Caratunk where I had left off. I arrived too late to start hiking I need to be at the Kenebeck River at specific time 9am-2pm for a canoe ferry ride. I'm not too sad but lost a day I could have been hiking. Paul famous breakfast is in the morning though not a disappoint at all to stay the night. 
8/11/16. ON THE TRAIL AGAIN!!!
I ate a wonderful breakfast with a flip flopped named Snake. We both set out after breakfast to hike. We arrived early to the ferry, a few others were there waiting on the north & south sides to be ferried across. 

The ferry man arrived, we all had to sign a waiver, then he started ferrying us 2x2 across. My turn to get across I'm on the other side 9:38 I'm really slow moving and my left foot is having an issue, my toenailess toe is going numb and I have pain. I had changed hiking shoes & think maybe it's plantar a bad foot problem starting to come on. That would ruin my hiking time. I've only hiked 4.5 miles I stop for lunch at Peirce Pond shelter, I end up staying there a beautiful day for hiking and I pull up short. I arranged to have a big patriot breakfast the next day at a hunt lodge called Harrimans. Not a bad decision to stop where I did. 
Day 16 
I go to the Harriman breakfast and sit next to a foot Dr. Charlie, How convenient, he mentions some stuff that it might be for my foot but he doesn't seem to think its plantar. He gave me some tips on relieving pressure with tape.  Phew! I eat my 2eggs sausage and 10 of the 12 pancakes with fruit in them. I bagged up the leftovers I'm going to try for 10 miles today in some rain. I get the 10 miles and it's only 5pm. I get my dinner and decide I can go more, there is another shelter 8 miles away. I make it 5 more miles to a campsite area and set up my tent. A frog is jumping at the side of my tent repeatedly. I finally get to rest.
Day 17
It rains hard during the night with more predicted for the day. I should have pushed to get the extra 3 miles to the next shelter. I packed up wet stuff(it makes the pack weigh more) I'm only going the 3 miles today I want to get under cover other than my tent. It's pouring rain thank God for being under the trees it's not as bad there as an open feild. On my way to the shelter I'm warned of the people who are there a couple one renamed Negitive Nelly! I arrive wet & cold and sure enough there she was with her husband. They were both a little off the norm for people I meet out here. I listen to NN a bit and then tell them I need to rest. I had changed out of my wet clothes, put the dry stuff I had with me on and got into my sleeping bag off to sleep I went. Rain rain rain all day I wake up about 1:30pm from my nap to see Messiah & Sit-ing Bull flip flippers I had been hiking with. 1 of them needed a ride to Portland to catch a bus when he arrived in Stratton. I agreed to help out knowing I had my truck. After napping I wasn't very tired so the LOUD snoring kept me up most of the night. It's the downside of staying in a shelter with others. The upside I stayed quite dry! 
Day 18  
 I'm up & out by 7:38 my goal 11 or 15 miles today! I don't always meet up with anyone who hikes my speed or slower. Today is different, I'm about to pass someone, his name is Zero he's from Florida we end up hiking for several hours together through some tough terrain. He is the 1st person I've hiked with for any length of time since the beginning   I really enjoyed this time chatting about life as we walked the trail, company! He mentioned hiking off the AT to meet his brother who had dogs and needed help with them. I needed to get water and have a snack he went on ahead without me. I never did catch up to him again. I'm hoping to see him in town when I get there in a day or so.  Later in the day I actually pass another hiker whose trail name is "I don't know" from Abbott & Costello skit. Today's hike took me over the Biggalow mountain range beautiful range with views of Sugarloaf ski resort. The view of the ski trails got closer with every view. Flagstaff Lake was to the other side as I hiked so wonderful to have this great arena of natural landscape. After passing "I don't know" I took a side trail to North Horn summit. I had a wet tent to dry so I used the amazing winds that were whipping all day on the peaks of the ridge trail this day. One girl a NOBO got blown over as she tried to hike in the conditions. I noticed her freshly cut knee. So using the power of this amazing wind I hung my tent on the mountain top marker and let it dry my tent. It was a much cooler day for hiking as well because of the winds. Taking this side trip set me back a little on time so I decided to stay in the woods 1 more night. I finished drying the tent and hiked to the next shelter. This place had 3 shelters 1 just for day use & 2 for sleeping. Had I known this I might not have spent the time drying my tent.
Somewhere in the Bigalow's
There also was 2 bathrooms! The best ones of the trail so far. 
Well it wasn't this one but I forgot to take a photo of the good one. I know you were all wondering, where does she relieve herself??? Well to be honest most of the time just in the woods, but at shelters there are nasty outhouses except this shelter. They have a caretaker here and she is responsible for taking care of this shelters composting toilets. No odder here! Every time I went near the outhouse something darted into the brush. I never really saw it but knew something was living near the path.  
Day 19
I wake up early to get into Stratton ME. I eat read God's word in the day use shelter. I come back to tear down my tent and pack up for the day. As I'm standing there chatting with 2 other hikers, a fairly large jackrabbit hops toward us on the bathroom trail. Stops for a bit then continues to the 2 shelters, I think I just figured out who was darting into the brush every time I went to the outhouse. I'll bet it gets fed by the hikers it was going for breakfast. I say goodbye to the 2 guys and hike to the road in Strattan. Before you get to Stratton the NOBO's reach the 2000 mile marker that means the SOBO's are at 281 miles. 
It's marked with this natural marker. I'm sure they are happy I've just begun.  I get to the road and get a ride into town. I decide to pay $90 to get a ride back to Caratunk to get my truck so I can do the next stretch. The hike was only 32 miles the Nike ride was going to be 65miles I opt for a ride because I'm tired. It's a 2&1/2 hr ride to get there "Can't get theya from heya" comes to mind. It's mid afternoon before I get my truck then another 2&1/2 hrs to get back to  Stratton I get back there and see a hiker hitching for a ride I pick him up. A young man from France trail name French Fry. We drive to the hostel and he says he wants to hitch to Mt Washington. I'm thinking he has no clue how far this is. I decide he's only here for a short time I'll take him in the truck! I agree to take him and another guy Professor jumps in too. I have to drop my bicycle off in Rangeley on the way. 3 of us head out. We see an amazing sunset as we drive toward the destination. I drop off the bike and continue on toward my Washington. The 3 of us end up staying in Gorham NH that night and I drive up Mt Washington the next morning. Come to find out its French Fry's 20th birthday. He got an amazing gift for his wishes. We wonder around up atop the Rock Pile as a good friend calls it. Even though it was not a great day we had views from up there. I brought FF back to his summer work for stay in ME and Professor to Carratunk then hot myself back to Stratton where I needed to be to hike out the next day. 
Another zero day.
L-r me Proffessor & French Fry

Day 20 hiking. 8/17
I was slow getting ready to hike this day. Everyone is watching the Olympics on TV I get sucked in for too long. Finally I break free And get a shuttle back to the trail. It was a rainy day so my motivation was not high. I start hiking for a bit, I'm thinking of where I put all my stuff and think I left my journal on the coffee table at the hostel. As I'm turning around to go back to the road hitch to hostel, 2 SOBO's come along Elizabeth and another guy, we engage in conversation, I'm outta sorts because of the thoughts of my journal on the coffee table, it's still a drizzly day so no loss I don't really like hiking in the rain. Call me a fairweather gal I don't care. I don't like puddles getting my feet wet or being drenched to the bone in the only outfit I wear day after day. That might bring up a question: so what do you carry for clothes??? Well here's a photo of my wardrobe beside what I have on 
1set of soxs(liner & outter) extra undies shorts doubling as bathing suit & tank top. I wear pants that have zip off legs a tee shirt and a biking jacket for cooler days. I do have a rain coat as well. All fitting into a small bag 
So I go back everyone is still watching the olympics. I don't find my journal where I thought it was but in my truck safe & sound. I wanted it with me so I can continue to write in it so I grab it and get another shuttle out to the trail. I had another disappointing thing happen during my day, the people I had taking care of my dog Mikie said they can't keep him anymore, I'll have to find him a new home. I get back on trail hiking about 7 miles this day to a camp where Elizabeth is! I'm very happy to see her, she says I must hike faster than she does because I end up in the same place. We chat a bit and go to bed. I hope to hike with her tomorrow the guide says we will be fording a river first thing. 
Day 21 hiking.  8/18
My day starts by having breakfast with 2 women who camped at the same place. Elizabeth & a young woman going NOBO. Elizabeth took off hiking about 7am with the statement "I hike from 7-7" I was a bit slower getting everything ready to leave. After her statement "you hike faster than I do" I figured I could catch Elizabeth at some point. The day did start with a river crossing but fortunately the trail crew(people who were working on the trail) had placed a board across the big space, so I was able to cross w/o getting my feet wet. I was a bit off for most of the morning. I guess the thoughts of what to do with my Mikie were active even though I felt helpless to do anything at the moment. I couldn't find my Buff (a headband type of thing that helps keep my hair out of my face) so I stopped and looked for it emoting my whole pack to discover I didn't have it. The ascent was steep and boldery too also slowing my pace. I would ask people if they saw Elizabeth (girl in a green shirt) everyone said all day long she's about 1 hr ahead. So much for catching up to her at my faster pace hahahaha.  After the summit of Soaulding Mountain the trail wasn't so bad. I did about 11 today. I did hike 45 min into the night to a small area where I put up my tent in the dark ate & got into bed. I'm thinking if I get up early I can see the sunrise on the summit of the next mountain and catch up toElizabeth.  I'll have to go 12 to get to Rte 4 the next day where I'll get my bike and ride to Stratton to get my truck. 
Day 22 hiking 8/9 
I had thought if I could get up & out early I could get a sunrise, well I did get up early but not out early enough. I still had some steep incline to start with. I'm glad I didn't see what I hiked over last night. I got to the next shelter a little after 7 to find I had just missed Elizabeth. I had a desire to hike with her for some reason. I had some food and chatted with the others there. "I Don't Know" was there my trip to Mt Washington had him pass me. I left after eating and set out to catch Elizabeth today!!! I met many people along the way always asking if they had seen her. She's about 15 min ahead they said each time. We were on a ridge trail but I couldn't see her. I met folks I had seen in Hanover doing my book buying job. I kept thinking it was quick for them to get here already. One person Wrecking Ball I got a pic with 
There we are on the Saddleback ridge you can see the trail off my shoulder of where I was headed. People are very friendly to help with a picture. No selfy here.  After this I set my sights on catching Elizabeth. I could now see her ahead of me on the trail. My legs were hurting with stinging pain from exerting them but I pressed hard. I finally caught up with her just before the summit of Saddleback Mt. 
We had some folks take a pic and we hiked the rest of the day together. I learned a new term from her that day "traily trail" means it's easy. I knew I would like her. While on the mountain top I text the Hiker Hut where I am staying the night. I was asked to confirm my arrival. My bicycle awaits me. The trail was amazing with views everywhere you looked
The trail descending was extremely steep at first but then we had traily trail for most of it. 

This was my special prize from Hiker Hut. Trail magic with my name on it. Elizabeth noticed it first, I opened it to find a beer & gateraide on ice. How cool is that!! As I shared the gateraide with Elizabeth a car pulled up and dropped off some hikers, it happened to be the shuttle to where Elizabeth was spending the night. I walked .3 miles to the Hiker Hut to check in.  They were so nice and had a lentil stew hot & ready to serve. What a great place. 
The next day I would get on my bike and pedal to Stratton where my truck was and drive back home to do 1 more job. And find a new home for Mikie!  

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