Day 117 – 26th July (Posted Sat 2nd Aug)

posted in: Rich's Diary Entries | 0

Started at Carl A. Newhall Lean-to – mile 2106.7
Finished at Antlers campsite – stealth. Mile 2133.5
26.8 miles covered.
Total days hiked 115
18.55 Av miles / days

Gonna keep this short tonight, or at least try.
I’m glad I set my tent up last night as Problem Bear shook the rafters of the shelter with his snoring. HB had to vacate.
We all got up early this morning and had breakfast together. A squirrel took a shine to Hill Billy’s bagel and I just caught it in time. The red squirrels out here are fearless.
The first 8 miles of the day involved some steep climbs. Although the trail was well maintained and hats off to the trail crew. There were even stone steps that had been painstakingly set into the side of the mountain.
However this is meant to be a true stretch of wilderness and it is far too manicured for that. We have even come up across a handful of dirt roads running through the mountains.
I stopped after 2 hours for a break at Hay Mountain. There was a sign with the elevation and somebody had written one of my phrases ‘none too shabby’. Using the Hay to make up the word shabbhay, I laughed and thought that maybe this was a sign.
HB caught up with me and we hiked together for a couple of hours. Finally we reached the final summit of White Cap Mountain and just after that we had our first glimpse of Katahdin. It was hazy but you could just make out the beast of a mountain amongst many others 71.9 trail miles away.
We hiked down to Logan Brook Lean-to and then I left Hill Billy to it. The trail was smooth and flat and I flew. I stopped at Mountain View pond and then Problem Bear hiked past confused how I had got ahead. He had left earlier than the rest of us, but had stopped at another shelter as I had rocketed past.
It was a game of cat and mouse between PB and I for the rest of the day. He was due to pick up his food bucket that he had arranged to be dropped half way into the wilderness. He was a little concerned about the safety of his food. I should have made more of this and wound him up a little after his jokes yesterday.
It turned out good though. I met him at Jo-Mary road as he was walking back down to the trail, food bucket in hand. He had way too much food and was very generous in giving a load of it to me. He gave me 3 Heath bars which are a little like Dime bars. And half of his Gatorade which is like gold dust out here. And not forgetting some Oreos.
I even managed to get rid of a load of trash which was awesome as I only have 2 plastic carrier bags and one of them was full and has a split in it. It must have contained about 1lb of smelly trash, so I was glad of the weight saving.
My knee, back and shoulders have been hurting again today. I really can’t sinch my hip belt up tight enough. I tried to pack it out by putting a spare pair of socks between my waist and my hip belt and that seemed to help. PB gave me a couple of vitamin I to help with the pain.
We had hatched a plan to push on today to stay ahead of herd. At Katahdin they only let a certain number of hikers up at any one time. So we planned to do a marathon today and tomorrow, which would then be followed by a 20 mile day. That would just leave us the 5 mile climb to summit Katahdin.
It was a gruelling last 4.2 miles to finish the day. Luckily the vitamin I had kicked in. We didn’t arrive to the Antler camp spot until 21:00 by the cover of our head torches. We found a stealth spot right by the lake and between PB’s snoring episodes I can hear the Loons calling again.
I can’t believe I am nearly onto my last 2 pages of my AT guide and that I only have 3 more sleeps left.