Better Day! 

Sunday July 16, 2017 

Rangeley RT 4 ME 14 miles 

Total mileage 945.8

I slept great last night. I was exhausted. I remember the last time I was going to stealth camp alone. I was so scared. Then a couple of other hikers came alone and I felt much better. Last night I didn’t worry about a thing. And if a bear came alone…it would put me out of my misery! 

I woke up to a bright sky. It looked like it was going to be a nice day. Plus I was feeling much better and well rested. I was out of camp by 5:45 am. I had 14 miles to complete today and I did great. I was done by 2:15pm. It was a pretty flat day as far as Maine terrian goes. My knees didn’t bother me much at all since there wasn’t much descending that was steep. I have also started to take Aleve to help with the pain. 

When I finished today I walked to the Hiker Hut hostel which is only three tenths of a mile from the trail. Jim sent a mail drop/resupply there for me. I had planned to stay there but earlier in the week one of Mom’s classmates, JON, who lives in the area called me and offered to host me. 

Since I arrived at the hostel early I took a much needed shower there before meeting JON and stinking up his truck. They had the most amazing outdoor shower. It was in the woods down by a stream. They used a barrel of stream water and a pump to pump the water to the shower head and propane to heat the water. So I was showering right next to a stream in the middle of the woods. It was amazing. The hostel was the cutest place. I wish I had pictures of it. The owners were super nice and welcoming. The only bad thing was there wasn’t any wifi or cell phone service there. 

Jon picked me up and I asked if he could take me to an outfitter. I wanted to find some better shoes to ford the streams in. I ordered a pair of crocs but with my narrow feet I just couldn’t walk in them well without them flopping all around. There wasn’t much in the town of Rangeley but I was able to find some teva’s that are strapped on and are supper comfortable.

We headed back to his house and his wife, PAT was making us dinner. I had a huge bowl of pasta with a shrimp and vegetable cream sauce and corn bread. It was so delicious! Real homemade food! 

My Knees Hurt! 

Saturday July 15, 2017 

Stealth camping @ 1955.3 12.4 miles

Total mileage 931.8

Today was a hard day for me and I was questioning myself again. When I left the hostel this morning the sky was gray but there wasn’t a chance of rain until later this afternoon. As we got closer to my drop off point it was very foggy. Like a wet mist. And the shuttle driver kept having to use her windshield wipers to be able to see. 

As I started my 3 mile climb up Old Blue Mountain it almost seemed like it was raining. There was a lot of water dripping off the trees and the trail was a mud bog! My socks and shoes were soon wet and I was grumpy. I was having to find ways around or through mud bogs all day long. This really gets to you mentally and it is tiring. My shoes are covered in mud my legs are covered in mud. I even have mud all around my nail beds on my toes. 

After having a day off and two days of slackpacking my feet and knees were not happy when I started out with my pack this morning and as the day progressed it just got worse. 

I don’t have any photos of the views from atop Old Blue Mountain it was a total white out up there. But I did get some views later in the day. 

I wanted to stop early today and just have a short day but I am trying to get to town tomorrow where Jim has sent me a food resupply. I didn’t have him send one to my last stop because I still had some food and I could resupply in Andover. I just didn’t realize how small of a town Andover was the their market was the size of a jiffy store back home. So the food I ate at the last stop really didn’t have the nutrition that I wanted. 

The 12 miles that I did today was a real push. I just wanted to be done and lay down. I finely made it to my destination at 4 pm. I am stealth camping alone tonight. I think this may be the first night since starting the trail that I am camping alone. 

The sun did come out around 2:30 for a short while. Then the rain started about 4:40. It rained just enough to get things wet then stopped. Hopefully that will be the end of it for this evening and my tent will be dry in the morning. One can hope. 


Amazing Beautiful

Friday July 14, 2017 

Grafton Notch Rd. to East B Hill Rd 10.3 miles

Total mileage 919.4

The morning was chilly, the fog was lifting and it looked like the sun was going to make an appearance today. 

I was looking forward to climbing Baldplate Mountain. Maybe I should rephrase that, I was looking forward to the view from Baldplate. The view was amazing! 

Although the climb up made me a little nervous. I was climbing on rock. All most of the mountain top was rock and some of it was wet. 

There was also an abundance of ladders to descend, but I did well with them. I’m getting less fearful of them. But these were easier than the one I cried over. 

I did have a fall today, descending some wet slate rock. For the most part I am OK. I skinned some skin off the palm/wrist on my left hand. 

The weather was perfect. It was a chilly morning in the low 50’s to upper 40’s. Then warmed up to the 60’s. We did have some rain that started around 3 pm and it rained off and on until 7 pm. Luckily I was finished by then. 

Ugly Day! 

Thursday July 13, 2017 

East Bay Rd to South Arm RD ME 10.1 miles 

Total mileage 909.1

I skipped a section of trail because of the weather. I will be doing the skipped section tomorrow. It was all day rain today and I didn’t want to be on top of a bald if there was a chance of thunder and lightening. Plus the bald has a lot of rock on the top that maybe slippery. 

I told myself never to hike in the rain. I should listen to myself. It was a nasty, cold, wet,  rainy, day and my feet were frozen and not happy. The high today was only in the mid 50’s. I actually got out of the shuttle vehicle in the rain. That is a bad sign, but now it is done and I am warm and dry. 

I had to ford two rivers today. I just walked right through since my socks and shoes were already wet. As I was waiting for my shuttle to pick me up at the end of the day two guys crossed the ford where I was and one fell in. I didn’t see it but I heard it. He comes up the bank to the road I was standing at and he is sooking wet and he says to his hiking partner “at least it’s warm out today”! 😨 What?!?! 

This is one of the areas that I had to Ford and the area that the guy fell at. 

Sorry no views today it was a total white out. 

Mahoosec Notch 

Tuesday July 11, 2017 

Grafton Notch, Pine Ellis Hostel 9.7 miles

Total mileage 899

When I woke up this morning I really didn’t feel like hiking. I felt like I could really go back to sleep. There was a chance of rain and I had Mahoosec Notch, Mahoosec Arm and Old Speck Mountain on the plate for today. Which I was nervous about. Mahoosec Notch is the hardest mile of the trail or funnest (if your psyho) with boulders as big as cars that you have to climb over, around or even under. Mahoosec Arm is very steep and I hadn’t heard anything about Old Speck. 

So I really wasn’t looking forward to today. I finally decided not to take a zero in my tent today and that I needed to get going. I got up to get my food bag from the bear box and go to the bathroom and there was a group of four that were about to head north. They must have come in after I went to bed last night. I got really excited because it meant that I may be able to follow them through the Notch. I still had to pack up all my gear and eat breakfast, but maybe if I was quick I could catch them. They said they were slow and just section hikers so there was a  chance. I quickly got things packed up and ate breakfast and was on the trail at 6:30 am. 

Lucky for me they took a break just before the Notch and I caught up to them. We packed away our trekking poles. We wouldn’t be needing them. SLIM JIM took the lead with LEAD DOG, SMALLS, TINY PANTS and ME following in the rear. SLIM JIM really scouted out the best route for us and we all followed. There were a couple of areas that we had to remove our packs to fit/crawl through and there were a couple of areas where SLIM JIM gave us a pull up or hand to hang onto. It was a little nerve racking for me, but I made it through it. I was so thankful to have caught up to this group. It took us just over two hours to get through this mile. 

Now that I have done it once I think it would be pretty fun to do it without a pack on with a group again. 

Next was Mahoosec Arm. The group I was with all stopped for a water/snack break. I filled up my water bottle ate a snack and headed out before the rest. I had to pee and didn’t want to go near a water source so I moved on. I started up the Arm and soon put my trekking poles away. There were a lot of slate rock areas on the way up and my poles are no good on areas like that. It is just easier to grab a tree and pull yourself up. It was a hard climb up and my legs were starting to feel week and worn out, but at least there were no scary areas. 

Now Old Speck was a different story. It was steep open exposed rock slate climbing with no tree to hang on to, but some how I made it through it. I am still scared during these climbs but I’m not freezing and having a panic attack. 

It was a very long and exhausting 10 mile/10 hour day. I was being picked up by a hostel, Pine Ellis Hostel, and I didn’t plan to take a zero but after today I was definitely taking a day off. 

The shuttle driver, DAVID, picked me up and we headed to the hostel. He was Indian with dark skin and long black hair with sliver and turquoise jewelry on. I was in the vehicle for about 20 minutes going down this really worn out and old back road when it occurred to me “where the hell is this guy taking me?” It was only a $15. shuttle how far away was the hostel. I learned that Andover, ME is 40 minutes away from the trailhead that I got picked up from. I couldn’t believe how cheep the shuttle was. Andover, is a tiny town with one four way stop in the middle. 

Ugly Tears! 

Monday July 10, 2017 

Full Goose Shelter ME 9.6 miles

Total mileage 889.3

I cried today. Full blown tears with snot running down to my lip! I was scared! 😢 I had to climb a really big and tall ladder. It was steep! I made it past the rebar climb, but the ladder got to me. It was a ladder made from a tree. The sides were huge tree trunks so it wasn’t easy to hang on to and the steps were really thick and hard to hang onto as well. I climbed it very slowly and had a death grip on it. When I got to the top I crawled onto solid ground but got stuck between the tree trunks/ladder sides at the top. The ladder was narrow. My pack was stuck in between the two trunks and I was to scared to stand up so I prayed and just crawled trying to pull my pack through the narrow opening. Once I made it I just started to cry. I started to question myself again as I have several times on this trip. Do I have what it takes to do this? These scary areas really get to me. 

I crossed over into Maine today. The miles from here will be low because of how difficult the terrian is. It is really slow going and more like climbing than hiking. Tomorrow I will be tackling the hardest mile on the trail, Mahoosec Notch. It is one mile in length and will probably take me two hours to complete it. It is a bunch of boulders some the size of a car, from what I hear. 

Today was mostly overcast so the photos aren’t that great. 

I saw a Moose! 

Sunday July 9, 2017 

Gentian Pond Shelter NH 11.8 miles 

Total mileage 879.7

I took a zero at the White Mountain Hostel yesterday to give my body some rest. I noticed this morning that my knees are still sore even with taking medication for cramps. I think I will have sore knees for the rest of New England. I’m just hoping it doesn’t get unbearable. 

I had another happy reunion at the hostel. MIX walked in last night. I haven’t seen him since the Rock N Soul Hostel in Pennsylvania. He was having some bad blisters at the time and way taking it slow. 

I slept great at the hostel last night and the night before. I’ve been lucky to not have to listen to loud snoring during the night in the bunk rooms that I have been in. I have been sleeping with earplugs in and I am getting use to them. I the beginning I couldn’t leave them in all night long because they were painful. I think they have stretched my ear canals out and they are now more comfortable. 

I had the best trail today. Well it still wasn’t ideal but it was better than anything I’ve had in a while, but I it will end soon. I ran into some SOBO’S (southbounders) and they were telling me that the next week is rock climbing and a one mph pace.  Yuck!  That’s s definitely not going to help my knees.  

The shelter that I am staying at tonight is near a pond and there was a Moose in the pond! I got to see a Moose!!! 😃 Although it was too far away to get a good picture of it. There were also a couple of beavers swimming around but they were a ways away so I couldn’t see them that well. I was told by another hiker who saw them up close that they were beavers. I also saw another porcupine today on a rock slab near the summit of Mt Hayes. 

I got into camp just before 2 pm and got my tent set up, eat lunch, got water, took a bandana bath and was just resting in the tent working on my blog when I heard rain hitting the tent. It was a short light shower at about 3:30 pm. 

Happy Reunion! 

Friday July 7, 2017 

The White Mountain Hostel @1891.5 Gorham, NH 8 miles

Total mileage 867.9

I woke up this morning to clear skies. It was supposed to be raining. I thought to myself that it was going to be a good day. 

Just a little humor for yall. Yesterday when I got back on the trail I was pretty low I  elevation and the temperature was pretty warm when I started my climb so I ended up really sweaty. Because it was a long tough day over all those mountains I didn’t arrive in camp until 6 pm so I didn’t do my normal bandana bath. I just did a wipe down with a wet wipe and went to bed. Well this morning when I went to the privy I was so sticky that when I got up from the toilet seat it stuck to my ass. Plus there was probably some residual stickiness from other hikers. ICKY! 

There was only one mountain to climb today with many great views and fairly easy terrian as far as New England is concerned. Nothing to scary for me. 

I was feel pretty good for just starting my period so I was thankful for that. I did run into a lot of cobwebs this morning  which are so irritating. Then the mosquitoes were unbelievably bad as I was nearing Gorham, New Hampshire my destination for the day. I was hiking along the Rattle River, apparently a very happy home for mosquitoes! 

I arrived back a the hostel that I stayed at two nights ago and I will take a zero here. I’m looking forward to some rest and to get caught up on some thank you notes and my blog. I also need to plan out milage for the next couple of weeks and mail drops for Jim so he can send me more food and treats. He usually includes a treat in my box. It is always something different and I have loved them all. Thank you, Babydoll! 

I had a happy reunion with SOULFLOWER! She stayed at the last hostel to rest up for a few days before starting the Whites and to avoid the rain that I was racing from. She is still two days behind me on the trail, but hopefully we’ll be back together soon. 

I believe HOOTIE  is a day ahead of me. I’ve heard from DISCOUNT and his wrist is really bothering him still so he is currently not planning to come back to the trail this year. He is thinking of doing a NOBO (northbound) hike next year. 

The Wildcats 

Thursday July 6, 2017 

IMP Shelter NH 13.1 miles

Total mileage 859.9

It was a strenuous day. I hiked over 7 mountains today. I also started my period, but the cramps were minor, but since I am slackpacking and left a lot of my gear at the hostel I only had one tampon with me and only because it was in my toilet paper bag. So I’ll leave it up to your imagination on how this panned out. 

I am tired but not totally exhausted. I believe it is all the chocolate I’m eating. I haven’t had any of the bone deep fatigue that I experienced on my Long Trail hike last year. 

The trail went straight up today. It took me two and a half hours to get up the first mountain. It also involved some wood steps and rock slab climbing. Some of my least favorite stuff. 

I spent most of the day walking. I only had two very short breaks to eat. The rest of the food I consumed, I consumed while walking. I would have loved to do less miles, but I’m racing the rain that is forecasted for the next two days. I may wake up to rain in the morning, but I am hiking into town tomorrow. 

No Rest Today

Wednesday July 5, 2017 

Pinkham Notch @1870.4 White Mountain Hostel Gorham, New Hampshire 7.8 miles

Total mileage 846.8

Today we just had one mountain to summit, Mt Madison and the rest was down hill into town. 

I really struggled going up Mt Madison. It was a rocky summit with carians marking the way. IDGI suggested I lead and I tried to, but just couldn’t do it. It was to scary for me to look up and pick a path through the steep rocks. So PONCHO lead WITH with IDGI and I following. I do much better if I can just follow someone’s feet and avoid looking all around. Luckily it was only a half a mile to the summit. I was much better on the downhill stretch although it was long and slow over nothing but rocks. It was over a mile before we got back to treeline. 

Once we got back to treeline I separated from PONCHO and IDGI. I was trying to make the noon shuttle from the Pinkham Notch Visitors Center to the White Mountain Hostel. So I had to really hustle if I was going to be able to make it. I really don’t think I was going to make it so I called them to let them know that I may be late. I made it exactly at noon, but the shuttle was over an hour late. GRRR! I wished they would have let me know so I didn’t have to kill myself trying to get there on time. 

But now I am happily clean, in clean non smelly hiker clothes and off my feet so I am a happy camper. I should happy hosteler! 

I was planning to take a zero tomorrow but it looks like rain is moving in again  so I decided to do the two day slackpack starting tomorrow and will come back here and take the zero on the day with the worst rain forecasted. So being off my feet didn’t last very long. I was soon getting ready to go out the next day. 

The slackpack is 21 miles over the Wildcat mountains and I can’t do that all in one day. So I will be doing it over two days carrying most of my gear but not all of it and I will only be carrying the food I will eat. The rest of my stuff will stay here at the hostel awaiting my return.