Day 112 – 21st July (Posted Thursday 24th July)

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Started at Avery Memorial campsite – mile 2005.2 Finished at stealth camp spot by East Carry Pond – mile 2024.3
19.1 miles covered.
Total days hiked 110
18.4 Av miles / days

I was expecting today to be easy based on the elevation profile. There was one sharp climb to Avery peak before a descent. Then what looked like a gradual climb to Little Bigelow Mountain. There were sections that were anything but gradual. This was followed by 2 more climbs which on paper looked easy. The humidity and heat was against me though and I should have known that any climb in Maine is gonna be tough.

I started the day with no water as the spring was 0.2 further along the trail. I felt dehydrated and my piss was dark yellow. Not a good sign. I made do with 2 oatmeal cookies in substitute for my normal oatmeal. A snickers bar and 2 fig rolls. I thought I could do without my hot chocolate coffee combo. Whether it was psychological, but I felt sluggish. On the start of Little Bigelow I walked among some huge boulders. I could swear that I could smell chocolate. I rounded a corner to find a hiker making a hot chocolate and it felt like a kick in the balls.

My smartwool socks have lasted pretty well considering the miles I have done in them. Although one pair was starting to develop holes in the big toe. I improvised with some dental floss and sewed the hole back together. It worked a treat. I have been walking with Buffalo and a girl he was with called Mira posa today. We leaped frogged for the morning and stopped for a few breaks together and chatted. Mira posa liked to put on her best English accent and commented on my use of certain words. They say movies instead of cinema and truck instead of lorry. Don’t ask me why we were talking about these subjects. It was all pretty random. Mira posa said she had been suffering from pain in her hands from using her trekking poles. Finally I have found someone else that has the same problem as me. I was getting worried and thought that my hand pain might be something to do with all those hours of smashing the CAD back in the real world. If I do anything like this again I will try out the anti shock trekking poles as this is meant to help with this problem.

I stopped at Little Bigelow Lean-to and found 2 more of the herd. A girl by the name of Violet and I presume her partner West. There were swimming holes in the river and they had both just been in for a dip. They tried to persuade me that it was a good idea, but the mixed messages I was getting from both of them suggested it was fun but bloody freezing. I decided against it.

My bag of skittles were like gold dust and after one person asked if they could have some it opened up the flood gates. I was generous, but made sure they only took a few each. I didn’t like the way Mira posa put her hand in the ziplock bag I keep them in after cleaning the dirt out of her finger nails with a tooth pick. Everyone knows that you pour food you intend to share from the bag rather than putting your grubby mitts inside.

West told me a funny story about a guy called moose. He thought he had lymes disease as he had the bullseye pattern on his foot after being bitten. He went into a town and there was no doctors surgery. Instead he went to a vets and asked them to take a look. They insisted that they were a vets and only deal with animal cases. He said his trail name was moose and finally they agreed to examine him. Turned out he had ringworm.

I left them to it as we had only done 7.2 miles and it was about 1300. The next section of trail was relatively flat before the final 2 spikes of the day. I caught up with a girl called Jules and we hiked for a bit. She seemed nice enough and is planning to move to Utah after the trail to do a job in wilderness behavioural therapy. Basically taking problem kids out into the wild to help them get over problems. I said that she would have some good experience under her belt after doing the trail. I enquired what it has been like hiking in the herd and whether there had been any conflicts of interest or other problems. Most of them hike on their own for parts of the day and meet up in the evening. She said occasionally it gets annoying when you have to wait around for people. Otherwise it has been a positive experience by the sounds of it.

We pulled into West Carry Pond Lean-to where 2 of Jules friends had been waiting for her. They were called Canary and Legs. Canary got her name as she keeps signing and Legs because she has bigger more muscley legs than most football players. She was the loud alpha female I talked about yesterday. Apparently Texaco and Legs have got together on the trail, hairy legs and all.

I decided to have a hearty snack and they moved out. Everyone was heading to a beach at East Carry Pond. I passed some south bounders and they said it was a nice spot. When I arrived at the camp site it was by a huge lake that was somehow mistakenly called a pond. The campsite looked busy. Thirsty said there was little room for a tent, but I was welcome to cowboy camp with them. I pushed on as although I like the idea of sleeping out under the stars it was crowded and to be honest I wanted my own space.

I walked on about 0.5 mile and eventually found a private little spot right by the lake. I sat on a rock and dangled my filthy legs into the warm water and had my first proper clean in days. The others had all gone swimming, but being on my own I didn’t fancy that. Apparently the lakes in Maine can have very cold pockets of water (I think they are called thermoclines) and it can be dangerous if you just jump in straight after hiking.

Every night when I find a spot on my own I always try and hang my food bag. If there are others close by sometimes I don’t bother and I sleep with it in my tent. Safety in numbers.
The problem with hanging your food is you need to find a rock or something heavy to put in a little bag. You then have to attach the bag to a line and throw it around a branch. The amount of time I have spent finding stones under the light of my head torch you wouldn’t believe. You might say just carry one or pick one up before you are going to camp. But you never quite know when and where you might find a spot , plus I don’t need any extra weight. I have resorted to using a snickers bar to act as a weight. When I do this you know I must be really tired and things have got serous!

As I was waiting for my water to boil for my ramen tonight I was swarmed by Mosquitos. Last night I was able to have my tent mesh door open whilst I cooked. I think the difference was it was bloody freezing last night and I wasn’t right by water. I must have had about 10 Mosquitos inside my tent. After a series claps and swipes that number soon reduced. Payback!

I think I heard my first Loon tonight calling across the lake. It’s a haunting noise but awesome at the same time.