Day 147, August 4Pierce Pond Lean-To to US 201 Caratunk
2037.9 miles total
I woke up and opened Emily’s present that she sent me! There was money for a cake and icecream in it! I was super excited for breakfast and got everything packed up and was ready around 6:15. Breakfast didn’t start until 7 but I headed over anyways. I looked at hummingbirds, played with the teacup poodle puppy, and talked with Tim Harrison, the owner. My breakfast was ready early and they put a candle and sang happy birthday for me. A few other hikers got there once I started eating. Tim gave me an extra glass of milk. I headed the 4 miles out to Caratunk. Caratunk is proceeded by the Kennebec River which, since the inception of the trail, has had a canoe to ferry people across. I could find where to meet the ferry until he had come across and given me directions. The ferrier paddled shutterbug and myself across. I walked over to the Caratunk house which was highly recommended to me by south bounders. Paul, the owner, was so wonderful and I was showered, and laundered within the hour. Croc, bubbles, Captain, the Swiss couple, ish, and dangles all came in around 1. They had been up at 4 to make it here by my birthday! I was so surprised. The Caratunk house was full, so they went to the next hostel over. I grabbed a burger, a milkshake, some resupply, and a few cokes and passed the afternoon by. I had a few interview offers for when I got back that I responded to. One was too late, but the other one said they could wait until I got back. Around 6 I headed over to the Norther outdoors for dinner. I had wings for dinner. They had pools there and after we ate we played pool volleyball against some local teens. We beat them pretty handily. It was a blast. I actually ran into the owner of the Notch hostel. Goose and left his long johns there and I gave her his address and some money to ship them back. She was awesome. We all hung out in the hot tub until 9ish. I decided to walk the 3 miles back so I could see the stars. They were beautiful and I got to see a few shooting stars. It was so beautiful and I enjoyed it. It was a great birthday.
Day 146, August 3Avery Memorial Campsite to Pierce Pond Lean to
2033.9 Miles total
Today was one of the first real days I felt like I was solo. I did sleep through the one am alarm though. When I did wake up at 6, I got packed up, made breakfast, but skipped coffee due to a lack of water. That turned out to be a bad call. I made it up Avery, enjoyed it, then headed down. I felt sluggish and not as sure footed as normal. I took a small break before I hit little Bigalow. It wasn’t as hard as the southbounders had made it out to be, though it changed elevation a lot and had numerous granite slabs. It would have been worse in the rain.
Coming off of little Bigalow, I stopped at the Little Bigalow lean to and restarted my day. Yes, I made coffee, had a second breakfast, and just took a nice break. I knew that should have been the last of the hard climbing for a while so I just took a moment to let the soak in. I was out of Southern Maine.
There were two little 500-600 foot climbs but they were gradual and easy. I had lunch around two after complete long the climbs by a pond. I met an older hiker named wings. She was swimming but it was too cold and I didn’t want to be wet all day.
The rest of the day was flat and easy going, some sections had roots, some had rocks, but some was perfect. I finally got back to a three mile per hour pace I used to do before the whites. It’s nice to be able to get back in a groove again. I listened to some Ted talks, but mostly just enjoyed not climbing a mountain.
My feet got pretty tired 3 miles out so I took a break, but then pushed for the lean to. I got in around 7:15, set up , then headed to Harrison’s. Harrison’s is a B&B kinda place but out in the middle of no where only .3 from the lean to. You have to go the night before, but if you do he’ll make you pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice, and coffee. I sat and talked with him and a younger guy just helping him out. He’s into birding so we talked about banding and such. I’m very excited about doing that again.
Breakfast is at 7 but I think I want to be there early to talk with him more. The ferry that takes you into town starts at 9. I should make it for the first or second one.
Day 145, August 2Spaulding Mountain Lean To to Avery Memorial Campsite
2009.0 Miles total
I passed over 2000 miles today! I actually passed over 4 different signs that marked the spot at one point or another. I woke up and ish, dangles, uncle stache and I all hiked together. I led. We took a lot of breaks. Pretty much at every mountain and every valley. It didn’t bother me though. I needed the rest.
When we finally got to the real 2000 mile marker, we took photos and another break. I can’t believe we’ve gone so far. Around that time ish and dangles realized they had an hour to get to the store and send a resupply for the 100 mile wilderness in Monson (Monson doesn’t have much of a resupply). Ish took off and we all followed. The road was only a mile away so we got there quick. They started hitching and I kept walking. The climb up the Bigalows was very comparable to all the rest of the mountains of Southern Maine, just a little longer of a total range. I got to the lean to before the horn around 6, and decided to keep pushing on. If I can get 3 more miles I can get to Pierce pond tomorrow to have pancakes and a Nero on my birthday. I pushed and made it to the top of the horn then the top of west Bigalow around 7:30. I made dinner on the peak and called Emily and my mom while I watched the sunset. As soon as the sun was down I booked it to the campsite .3 away. There was a big group there, and they were pretty noisy. Luckily they left for a night hike and I feel asleep before they came back.
I set my alarm for 1 am so I can climb back to the top and take photos of the stars.
Day 144, August 1Rangeley to Spaulding Mountain lean to
1987.4 miles total
We all woke up around 6 am and left for breakfast at 7. We went to a little bagel place. I had a egg, sausage, cheese bagel and one with cream cheese. All 6 of us left out and headed to the IGA to get a resupply. A lady in a truck that happened to house another hiker named Mamba the night before picked us up and took us.
I tried to have a very light pack this week, so I had to think through my resupply. It ended up not being too heavy! My plan is to push to Spaulding Mountain Lean to and maybe more.
So locals took captain, Bubbles, and I to the tail head. I started out around 9:50. The climb up Saddleback wasn’t bad at all and before too long I was on top in the alpine zone. This one was three miles long. I love being above tree line. Croc gave me some sunscreen this morning so I stopped and put some on. I found a plant that was described on a sign at the trailhead as being “Arctic” and took some photos. I’ll have to look it up more when I get home. The horn wasn’t bad either. The worse climb of the day happened to be little saddleback which looked the least daunting in the book.
I stopped for lunch at the shelter past little Saddleback and Ish and Dangles were there. I think they are going to try and keep up with me. I realized I’ve never slept alone a single night on the trail so I may lose them in the hundred mile and do that. It was nice to hike alone today. I think it’s only nice because I know I can find people to hike with if I wanted to.
I climbed up the ridge leading to Spaulding and by the time I got to the shelter it started drizzling. I heard about an awesome stealth spot but with rain I don’t want to keep going. I’m in the shelter with Ish, Dangles, uncle Stache, and two old guys that are snoring. Why do old guys who snore never tent camp. I’m about to throw on some headphones and give the new Avett CD a listen to. Maybe they’ll stop. Or maybe I’ll fall asleep before the music stops.
Tomorrow I’m headed to a camp spot between two peaks of the Bigalows. It’s a 400 foot climb to either peak. I think I’m going to try to do some long exposure of the sky to show you guys. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and I’ll be able to wake up early. On to Avett.
Day 143, July 31Zero in Rangeley
1968.7 miles total
The objective today was to move from the farmhouse to the motel on the other side of town and to go bowling. To be honest that’s all I accomplished. I stayed at the farmhouse until lunch time then headed to the coffee shop. I ended up getting a smoothie instead, and a section hiker bought al of it for us. Momba’s folks came up to see her and gave us all soda’s and snacks. All 7 of us just sat in the sidewalk and ate. I looked around a bit in some of the stores. Our room was ready so I walked down to it. I wanted to resupply and do laundry, but Harry Potter was on, so I watched that.
We headed to bowl around 5. They had a $5 Sunday Funday special where you could bowl all night. We ate at their restaurant and then started bowling. I was with the Swedish couple. Cross-cross was amazing and I came in second. Ish and dangles joined for the second game. We all just relaxed and had a good night together. I did no resupply and didn’t do laundry. I wanted to leave early tomorrow but I don’t think I’ll be able to.
Day 142, July 30Bemis Mountain Lean-to to ME 4 Rangeley
1968.7 miles total
Today was the second day of our journey into Rangeley. We were planning on camping 2 miles out at a pond, but as you can see we pushed in. I hiked with the group today and we took a lot of breaks. We went 8 miles in the first 7 hours. We stopped at an over look, trying to see if we could find trail magic. Some ladies were setting up a tent with coolers and we got excited, but it was for a motorcycle ride. We disappointedly walked on. We passed sabbath pond lean to which boasts a nice beach. We swam and ate lunch there for an hour or two. While there the Swiss couple powered through. They were trying to catch us, and thought we were in Rangeley. They were very excited. We left and hiked the last 7 miles with them in the lead. We got to the place we were going to stay and everyone set up. As soon as all the tents were up, croc got a message from savage and scuba. Captain and bubbles had made a Facebook group trying to get a meet up in Rangeley with everyone today. Well when everyone either hadn’t responded or were with us, we figured it was okay to just go in tomorrow instead. Scuba and savage who were about 60 miles back had hitched over 100 miles to surprise us there. We immediately packed up and started hiking the 2 miles to town. There was a foreigner concert in town and everywhere was packed out. Luckily we called a place called the farmhouse had renting space and could pick us up in an hour. We made it just in time for the shuttle, set up our tents, then walked to “Sarges” where we were supposed to meet. It also happened to be croc’s birthday. We celebrated and ate and the place was super packed. It was the most packed place I’ve been on the trail. We met a lot of locals some of whom wanted photos with us. We got a ride home from a dishwasher who happened to also work at the farmhouse. It was a great night.
Day 141, July 29Hall Mountain Lean-to to Bemis Mountain Lean-to
1951.0 miles total
We decided to take it easy today. The guys (captain, bubbles, and croc) are trying to nero into Rangeley on the 31, and I’m going to stay with them. I hiked by myself most of today. The first climb of the day is what we call a dog tooth. It’s a 1400 foot climb in .8 miles, but the first 1000 feet in .4. It then goes straight back down the 1400 feet. We’ve heard from southbounders it’s pretty bad, but I thought it wasn’t any different from what we’ve been doing. The bottom 700 feet is stairs, and the top is just granite slabs. I took a break on the other side of the dog tooth before the next climb going back up another 2200 feet. The climb profile was similar, though I found it a little tougher. The rest of the day just went up and down, nothing too exciting.
At the end of the day, I ran into a trail crew all relaxing a half mile from the shelter. They said it was the only place for service so I called Emily for a while. We chatted for a while and I still was the first person from our group at the shelter. There was a group of south bounders there but they all moved on. The guys rolled in with momba and humble pie. Momba is a ginger who is about to start college, and humble pie is a section hiker finishing his last section. He is a professor at a college. We talked for a but and I sleep in the shelter with most of them.
Day 140, July 28Grafton Notch to Hall Mountain Lean-to
1938.2 miles total
Today I said goodbye to Goose. My external hadn’t charged all the way last night so when I woke up at 5:30 I tried plugging it in somewhere else. We watched house hunters and parks and rec until 8:30. I left then. It was a weird goodbye. Almost unfinished, like we both didn’t want to accept what it really was.
I walked down to the road that lead to Andover. After a half hour an older lady picked me up. Her first question is “do you promise you won’t try and kill me?” I laughed. It was my first solo hitch. It all kinda hit me in the ride back to Andover. When we reached the town I went to the post office and got a package Emily had sent. She sent me a sweet letter, a special birthday card, and some chocolate covered berry things that I love.
I tried to hitch to the trail, but after an hour I took my parents up on an offer to get me a shuttle to the trail. The guy who took me was a trail Caplin and he was really cool. We talked about a lot of things, and when we arrived he prayed over me. Definitely a good guy.
The hike out of the notch was the hardest of the day. It was nice and easy until we got near the top then it turned into stairs. Literally just thousand of stairs, forever. I hated it. Near the top it turned into the granite slabs that should be ending soon. It’s kinda like stone mountain on crack.
I met bubbles when coming down and we hiked together the rest of the day. It was nice to have someone to be with. A captain was at the shelter when we got there along with a southbounder and another Nobo, Croc and roll.
Croc made a fire and were all sitting around it just hanging out. There is apparently a concert in Rangly so every place in town is rented out on Saturday. So we’re going to take it slow and get there Sunday early. That means I’ll have to run 17 mile days afterwards, but I can do that.
I’m currently catching up again posts wise. I have most of my more recent days but still haven’t found the time to catch up on some of the days since I last blogged. In short, I’m doing well. The day goose left I ran into some old friends, captain, bubbles, the Swedish couple (cross cross and sun ray). I hiked with them a few days, then pushed myself to get to caratunk where I currently am by August 4th which is my birthday. I made it here on time and had a great birthday breakfast, had a canoe ride, met back up with everyone, and just relaxed. My plan is to get into Monson tomorrow which is the beginning of the hundred mile wilderness. I’ll try to have all my blogs up by then with photos. I will spend 5 days in the 100 mile wilderness and come out on August 11 in Milinocket. The 12th I’ll hike the last 10 miles to the shelter before katadhin, and on the 13th I’ll summit. The checkpoints are getting fewer and fewer, but I am very excited. I will hopefully have updates for y’all tomorrow night! I feel good, am hiking well, and am so excited for these next few days!