Day 146

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Date: 29 Jul 2016 0840PM

Location: Monson, ME

Today's Miles: 22.0

Total Miles: 2074.6

 

Woke up pretty haggard this morning. Been a struggle to drink enough water lately with all the streams being dry from lack of rain.

 

Wife offered to pick us up from Monson, ME this evening, so it was a long day of pushing it pretty hard. Managed to get to the road before our pickup deadline, which felt like a victory for us considering it was so hot.

 

Otherwise, just another day on the trail. Numbers of southbounders are starting to pick up, but most are in high spirits which is both a blessing and a curse. It's nice to see people so animated and excited about their adventure, just not when you're going through the opposite extreme of emotions by nearing the end of yours.

 

Drove the hour and a half ride back to Bangor, where we stopped at Dysarts to give those who came back with me a taste of Maine. Made it back home, got settled in, crashed for the night.

 

Zeroing tomorrow. Should be fantastic.

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Day 145

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Date: 28 Jul 2016 0903PM

Location: Bald Mountain Brook Lean-to

Today's Miles: 18.7

Total Miles: 2052.6

 

Awful night of sleep last night. Inflatable sleeping mat got punctured somehow so I had to sleep directly on the shelter floor. I typically sleep very comfortably, so this was a huge change for me.

 

Regardless, the night passed and other than being particularly sore in my shoulders and hips, I was alright. Spent the night in my bivy with bug netting, so least the bugs couldn't get to me, which is more I can say for the rest of the shelter inhabitants that night.

 

Short couple of miles to the Kennebec River where we were ferried across by a man in a canoe. There's an electric generating station up stream that frequently lets out water without warning, causing the river to rise between 2-4 feet within minutes. Seeing that the Kennebec at this junction is over four hundred feet wide, fording is highly discouraged.

 

Hitched around Caratunk, ME to pick up a mail drop and catch back up with our group minus. Had two burgers and a homemade milkshake before heading back out to the trail.

 

The blueberries have been out in force the past couple of days, so we're doing our best to fight them. Sometimes it gets really hard to continue walking because you're surrounded by them, but we do what we can to help the effort out. 

 

Have the shelter all to myself tonight, something that hasn't happened in weeks. There are few people here at the site, but everyone is tenting. Sleeping on my newly self repaired air mattress tonight, we'll see how it goes!

 

Wife offered to come pick me up from Monson, ME, so I decided to take her up on that offer. Tomorrow is going to be a long day, but it'll be worth it knowing I'll get to sleep in a super comfy bed and have a zero day at home. 

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Day 144

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Date: 27 Jul 2016 0756PM

Location: Pierce Pond Lean-to

Today's Miles: 17.7

Total Miles: 2033.9

 

Morning wake up today of overzealous southbounders. Can't really complain since I slept in the shelter, but these people are way too excited to be out here.

 

Easy, breezy day today. Practically flat, we climbed one or two hills for a total of under 1,000 feet.

 

Stopped for lunch at a shelter and found a slingshot. We spent the next hour setting things up to shoot and passing the slingshot back and forth until we knocked them all down. 

 

Got to a little beach today on East Carry Pond and ended up spending over three hours there. We swam around, did laundry, laid in the sun and swam some more. We tore through our food bags and listened to the ukulele. One of my top days on the trail, what a good way to spend the afternoon.

 

Shelter sits right on a pond, and we made it early enough to swim again. What an awesome way to end a thru hike, really getting to enjoy what Maine has to offer.

 

Pumped up my sleeping mat for the night, came back to find it deflated. Tried putting some duct tape on the hole but it didn't work. Probably have to try a patch kit, hope it works because I really dislike sleeping on a foam mat.

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Day 143

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Date: 26 Jul 2016 0850PM

Location: Little Bigelow Lean-to

Today's Miles: 14.4

Total Miles: 2016.2

 

Woke up from our dirt road stealth site this morning feeling pretty rough. I walked a ways to get some water for the day and started packing up my stuff.

 

Morning was a big climb over Bigelow, with the rest of the day spent humping over 'micro-bumps', as we so aptly named them.

 

Tough go all day. Really tired, probably from trying to move north as quickly as possible.

 

Arrived at the shelter and the place was packed. Southbounders are everywhere.

 

Getting some weird side rubbing from my shoes near the inside of my ankle. Considering I haven't had a single problem with my feet yet, it was inevitable that it would happen under two weeks from the end.

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Day 142

Date: 25 Jul 2016 0946PM

Location: Stratton Brook Road

Today's Miles: 17.7

Total Miles: 2001.8

 

Woke up from our stealth site this morning covered in dew. Wouldn't have been a problem for me if my waterproof bivy wasn't the worst thing ever. I swear, it literally acts as a transport medium to bring water to my sleeping bag. Will do a review post-hike.

 

Good day otherwise with a few tough climbs thrown in. After tomorrow the majority of Maine's big climbs are finished, and we'll really be able to enjoy ourselves without getting slain by our ambitions to continue doing big miles.

 

Reached 2,000 miles today! What a great milestone to reach. The southbounders are pretty depressed about what they have left to do but as for us northbounders, we're totally stoked.

 

Hitched in to Stratton, ME for a light resupply and some dinner. Managed to get a hitch back out just before dark from Rain and Sprinkles, and found a stealth spot by headlamp.

 

It's a hot one tonight, but rain is forecasted. Sure hope to cools off.

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Day 141

Date: 24 Jul 2016 0915PM

Location: Perham Stream Stealth Site

Today's Miles: 15.4

Total Miles: 1984.1

 

Slept excellently last night. Johnny Rocket and I were placed in the overflow room in the basement, which was cool and dark with comfortable beds. Even when the sun rose this morning we were swathed in darkness and slept right up to breakfast time.

 

Local trail angle made an awesome breakfast spread for us. French toast, bacon, Polish sausages, English muffins, and eggs. It's always great to start a long day of hiking with a overly full stomach.

 

A couple who were staying at the hostel offered to drive a few of us to the trail head, which was super nice. After arriving at the parking lot, half the group wandered out of the woods from their stealth site so I went on in and chatted while they packed up.

 

Spent the morning climbing up Saddleback Mountain. Pretty tough climb but totally worth the views. Ate lunch at the top and drank a soda I packed out.

 

Spent the rest of the day playing catch up with who's left of the group. Ended up short for the day, but found a spot to cowboy camp for the night.

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Day 140

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Date: 23 Jul 2016 1109PM

Location: Farmhouse Inn - Rangeley, ME

Today's Miles: 17.7

Total Miles: 1968.7

 

Tough go today.

 

Left the shelter pretty early, but the terrain in the morning was a bit rough. Even though the rest of the day looked pretty gradual, Maine is no joke and it took its toll on my body.

 

Started the day off breaking a hiking pole. Snapped the lowest segment right in two. Unlike Leki, Black Diamond doesn't replace the bottom sections of the pole (most likely because they know they break more often), so we did a little trail repair and it's... manageable for now. It's a little late in the game to be dropping $125 bucks on a set of poles for only two weeks of hiking, but if it comes down to it I totally will.

 

Rained through much of the afternoon, but the thought of getting to town and eating/hosteling it up kept me going. Chafed *super* bad today, but I doused myself in medicated powder after showering, which usually helps alleviate the problem. I'm unfortunately out of Body Glide, so I'm hoping I can get ahold of some tomorrow before I leave town.

 

Day went well otherwise. The group has been split the last two days, and a few of us have started a new discussion forum entitled 'Hot Topic', where we basically while away the hiking hours hitting up as many controversial topics as possible. Makes the day go by real fast, and I get to share my faith and beliefs with others so that's a huge plus.

 

Heading back out into the wild tomorrow morning after what I hear is going to be an amazing trail magic breakfast.

 

Onward!

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Day 139

Date: 22 Jul 2016 1021PM

Location: Bemis Mountain Lean-to

Today's Miles: 18.8

Total Miles: 1951.0

 

Rough go today.

 

Cowboy camped last night, directly next to some beautiful, pooling waterfalls. Around 0600 this morning it started pouring buckets of rain on us, with us packing up in *record* time.

 

Walked the short distance to the road, managed to get a pretty quick hitch into town from a local hostel van that was returning. Good thing too, because there definitely wasn't any real traffic to speak of that early in the morning.

 

Got into town, did a quick resupply and sat down to a big ole breakfast. French toast, loaded omelette, bagel sandwich and a cup of coffee. Went down real good.

 

Grabbed a few extra supplies then hitched back out of town. Hiked ridiculously fast considering the terrain, ended up night hiking the last few miles to the shelter. Luckily there were just enough empty spots for us, and we knew everyone in the shelter so they were very accommodating.

 

Not sure where the rest of the group ended up tonight, haven't seen them all day. Really happy we got here before the projected rain.

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Day 138

I do not endorse or suggest in any manner, shape, or form that anyone should EVER purchase or use a ZPacks pack.  

I do not endorse or suggest in any manner, shape, or form that anyone should EVER purchase or use a ZPacks pack.  

Date: 21 Jul 2016 0854PM

Location: Dunn Cascades

Today's Miles: 16.7

Total Miles: 1931.4

 

Woke up early with the birds, went in and out of sleep for a little while. Feeling pretty sore overall, but there's plenty more hiking to do.

 

The view didn't change too much today, but there were still some spectacular viewpoints. Lots of ups and downs today, and from a peak at tomorrow it's going to be even worse.

 

As I was leaving the parking lot at Grafton Notch, a really nice woman pulled up and set up some trail magic for a few of us. Drank a coke, carried one out, and ate a few snacks before heading back into the woods. Definitely made my day, thank you kind trail angel!

 

Cowboy camping next to some waterfalls tonight. Got in, set up, swam around in some frigid water and cooled off. Looks like we'll be heading into town for a quick resupply tomorrow, then back off we go!

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Day 137

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Date: 20 Jul 2016 0854PM

Location: Mahoosuc Notch

Today's Miles: 12.1

Total Miles: 1914.7

 

Good day for hiking. Sunny, breezy, not a cloud in the sky. Crossed the border into Maine today and things just *feel* different. The temperature seems cooler, the terrain more rugged. I'm sure it's all in my head, but it's really good to be home.

 

Climbed our way through the infamous Mahoosuc Notch to end the day. Took it nice and slow, exploring more then hiking. All sorts of crevasses, and caves, some filled with ice and snow. Pretty cool part of the trail.

 

Temperatures are dropping tonight, coldest it's been in awhile. I much prefer the cool temperatures for sleeping rather then the hot.

 

One last state. 275 miles to go.

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