I woke up early today….my clock is ever shifting earlier and earlier. Last night it was still light out when I lay down about 7:30, but my back and body felt so good in the position that I had to stay there. Then I realized how tired I was and suddenly I was going to sleep well before sunset. Ah, hiker midnight. So when my body wakes me up at 4:30 and I count that I’ve been sleeping for 9 hours already, I start to make coffee because that seems like the most logical next thing to do.
Speaking of coffee, Mary (Speedstick is looking for a new trail name) and I make some on the summit of White Cap Mountain, a stunning collection of granite rock, short shubberies, and thick mosses. It’s a beautiful start to the day and we gaze at Katahdin over a relaxed morning.
We don’t have to hike far, just within striking distance of Katahdin Ironworks Road where Ron would be meeting me with my next resupply. I only have a few days left (looong days, I am going to notch up the mileage a bit and see what happens) to my first town stop in Monson. Monson is a huge milestone to the sobo hiker. Us sobos start with some of hardest sections of the whole trail when we are soft and new. Us sobos have been spinning stories about the hostels, showers, food, and resupply available there. Ahhh town, the call is starting to get strong. It’s day 8, and I’ll get to town on day 11 🤞, and not one shower in all that time. Phew.
After our leisurely morning we hike down out of the clouds to a smaller series of mountain climb and descents. We don’t see a lot of hikers today, we are in a quiet spot, but that’s OK. We can focus on catch up with six years of life stories.
We chat the miles away and only stop for water and snacks. We lunch at a shelter and talk with a nobo for a while. He has already hiked the PCT and CDT and was close to getting his triple crown…although he was not very enthusiastic about the AT. Which is a shame. The AT is so unique, it doesn’t always get a fair shake in the trail comparison game. He says: “Green tunnel, not many views, hard terrain with little reward.”
I say: “The AT is amazing and has its place; maybe leave more time between 2,000-mile hikes so you really want it when you get out there.” I didn’t really say that to him, but I was thinking it. Some of these hikers are out 3 years in a row. No wonder you are ready to be done! That’s an incredible amount of hiking in a short amount of time! I had 4 years between the AT and PCT, and 9 years between the PCT and CDT, and now 7 between the CDT and AT. It makes a difference…all the difference when you haven’t had a good long hike in a while.
We carry on and stop early to make camp near a pretty little creek and valley. Mary is hammocking, I haven’t had luck sleeping in them, but she seems to love it. I’ll have to give it another try. Ron (Moak- of Six Moon Designs) gave me a Hennessey Hammock a while back, I should bust that out.
I try and cool down the rash in the creek (it IS looking better, but far from gone) and Mary is brave enough to take a full dip.
I seem quite silly at dinner when I refuse to leave my screen tent and Mary is out among all the bugs, but she wears the 100% deet, and I’m not ready to go there yet, at least until my skin clears up…so the technique is avoidance.
I’m closing my eyes early again, it just feels so good…