Start Milepost: 1984.7 Time: 8:00
End Milepost: 2001.6 Time: 16:07
Miles hiked: 16.9
Miles to go: 188.2
Blue Side trails: 1.5 miles for d/o
Map: Click on map pin
I left the Farmhouse this morning in the shuttle with the same three hikers from yesterday. Their presence cut my cost by 66%. (I didn’t do the math!) On the ride to the trailhead the driver offered that today’s hike would be tougher than yesterday. That shocked my system. I was ready for an easier day! Oh well.
The morning hike was not too bad (although the trail was totally ungroomed by the Maine maintainers) until just before noon. The trail designers had added a steep, rocky descent that boggled our minds. It ended at a stream where a half dozen of us sat eating lunch, hydrating and commiserating with each other. The discussion had no effect except as a release. The topic then shifted to the double-peak climb that was on the other side of the stream. It looked bad on the chart so we expected bad.
I called Scamper right after I crossed over the second peak. I was mentally spent. The crossings were so much easier than I expected. What a relief. And a big thanks to Relentless for his attack the hill style that I emulate. There was another mental factor involved. About 100 meters short of crossing the second peak I met a day hiker named Mark. He was so positive and uplifting in his comments that I was a bit stunned. He put my mileage to date in a context that I have avoided until now – that I have accomplished quite a feat of endurance. And he was so enthusiastic about the hike. He mentioned very good weather for the next two weeks and the diminishing mountain peaks on the trail. He thought I had been on quite an adventure. He has no idea! Like so many other trail conversations I did not it want to end, but I still needed to cross over the peak. I moved on while pondering his sentiments. Today’s hike left me with less than 200 miles to go, having passed the 2000 mile white blaze just before ending for the day in Stratton.
After crossing that second peak I had a little over five miles to reach ME-27 where I would be picked up by the hostel. I hustled along to see if I could best the estimated finish time I offered to hiker Hyde at lunchtime: 17:00. In fact I shaved over 50-minutes off that estimate which had been tainted by our expectations of the difficulty of the two peaks.
On the way downhill it became obvious that fall has arrived. I could hardly make out the trail given all the leaves that covered it. Subsequent hike days could get interesting!
At the trailhead I was pulling up the phone number of the hostel when a man offered me a ride into town. I accepted!
It looks like tomorrow’s hike will be another challenge although the hostel manager says it will not be as difficult as the last two days. I hope he is correct. The big peak is called Bigelow Mtn. Another, nearby, is called Little Bigelow and is totally flat for about a mile. I like flat mountains.
Perspective. Recall that when I had injured my elbow my morale dropped a bit. Hiking with one pole and not being able to pull myself up rocks was not easy or enjoyable. Well today at lunch I saw a young woman who had no left hand. It did not hold her back and she was obviously enjoying herself.