Frogs +37

Mile 1970.8
Frogs +37! OK, more on that later.

That crappy little stealth spot turned out to be Aces, as the cool kids used to say. It rained steadily, but not torrentially, for half the night, and this morning my tent and footprint were pretty much dry. The fly was soaked, of course, but… yeah.

I hit the trail at 5:15 AM and managed 12.5 miles or so in 11.5 hours. The Trail helped me today! Thank you, Trail! There were no miserable miles-long scrambles—just short bursts. There was plenty of swamp to navigate, though, around several big ponds. No moose, but an insane amount of moose poop. Do fhey, like, congregate together, ass to ass, and let it rip? One place must have been a 6-foot square area of poop, several dumps deep. I almost took a picture, but I restrained myself. 😁

Water’s a problem. You’d think Maine would have pristine springs and beautiful clear creeks. Not on the AT, it doesn’t. I ran out of water entirely by lunchtime, after rejecting a couple of slimy trickles, and had to go to an official campsite near a pond. The water source was the pond. The edges were black silt topped by algae with a side of floating insect carcasses. I tried to dip my bag in, and dozens of frogs scattered! These looked like actual frogs, as opposed to the usual toads (which got a real +1 today). Frog water! Instead, I spent a half-hour letting 2 liters trickle from a nearby boxed spring, but with the filtering it wasted an hour of my hiking day. Not good. And now I’m down to 1 liter again.

Not much to add. I’m camped near the road to Rangeley, but I’m skipping that town. All my food numbers are screwed up because I can generally only get 8 miles right now. I think I’m OK to Caratunk; if not, there are some other town spots before then. Blah. Met another second-timer and a guy who did the PCT last year, which reminded me I could be hiking in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, finishing up the PCT like I was supposed to this year. Idiot. 😉

Tomorrow: The fun’s over. Saddleback and the Horn, which I remember were pretty gnarly mountains. And no camping above treeline, so I’m not sure where I’ll end up. Trying for 14.5, but that hasn’t exactly been working out lately. We’ll see.

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Maine is Maine

Couldn’t get to the shelter. Managed 9.8 miles in 10 hours. It’s raining now, but I’m in my tent. Not a great stealth spot, but it was here, the rain was starting, so I grabbed it. I hope it’s not a boggy spot. I guesstimated that it’s not, based on positioning (and it’s an existing spot). We’ll see! The rain’s just a soft regular rain, anyway, as opposed to a fast downpour. It’s supposed to end this evening.

Frogs +1. Which is, honestly, the only real update. 😁

Hikers, unless you ran out of food, stop eating the damn blueberries by the handful. There are these 1000-pound moose out here that need the blueberries to survive. You can go to the grocery store. The animals can’t. /grumpy

Moody Blues

Updating mostly because I saw a tiny frog. Frogs +1! I’ll start putting the animal score at the end if I spot sonething. Frogs have taken the lead!

Short mileage continues. Today, 10 hours for 8.5 miles. But that included two steep mountains with some technical bits: Moody and Old Blue. I may actually have a problem… but I think I’m OK. I’d like to get 12 miles minimum, but I need help from the trail to do that (eg, some good hiking amid all this crazy vertical rock climbing and deep swampy bogs). Also, I’m pretty sure I left the hostel with 7 or 8 days of food, which is a massive carry. Every time I eat, my pack gets a little lighter and I can hopefully cover an increasing amount of ground.

Last night something smallish, some ground animal, ran past my tent at midnight. Skunk? Raccoon? Fox? Porcupine? That sort of thing creeps me out. Tonight I couldn’t make it to the shelter, so I’m stealthed. Fingers crossed that the animals all ignore me.

There was supposed to be thunder, rain, and hail last night. I heard thunder in the distance but it didn’t rain a drop at the shelter. Let’s hope tonight stays clear!

Tomorrow: Nothing major, I don’t think. Bemis Mountain, but I’m already halfway up. I’m trying for a shelter 12 miles away. Fingers crossed!

Saw a guy today, Bunny, whom I haven’t seen since the NOC. And did I mention I saw Raven and Happy Dance at the hostel? Haven’t seen them since Virginia—that day with the prescribed burn.

Only saw a couple of people today (although three NOBOs and one SOBO have passed my tent since I set up). That’s always weird. I think I must be past the SOBO bubble, although there were a few at the hostel, and I’m also seeing flippers.

—————

Frogs: 18Red salamanders (efts): 14
Snakes: 8 [2 rattlesnakes]
Turtles: 6

Moose: 0

Bears: 7 (2 Shenandoah, 2 New Jersey, 1 Connecticut, 2 Vermont)
Wild turkeys: 1
Deer: a lot
Rabbits: yes
Grouse: chatty

Fear

Mile 1935.1
Andover, MaineHuman-Nature Hostel

OK, this place is a place. I have sensory overload. Ska and reggae and conversation always in the background, amazing woodwork, hikers hanging everywhere—beanbag chairs, porches, firepits. Hikers playing trivia games, watching movies, outside smoking weed, hanging at the fire pit. This is a clear vortex. 😁 I bought $37 of panic candy during a road trip to the general store, which I can’t possibly eat in one zero, and here I am in a bed in a loft. I’m clean and warm and wearing crazy velour loaner plants.

Hikers are either speeding up or slowing down. Yesterday I met two South Africans who started April 6 and a woman who started February 23. All of us, circling the same drain, as it were. I got a text from Kiwi! She saw a moose! She thought it was a donkey. 😆 That’s so Kiwi.

Woobie is here, although he’s hiking out today. Firefly, also, and a hiker I met up on Washington whose name I forget. Plus a bunch of others, all hiking out today.

Good things here: The atmosphere, for sure. Yukon, the owner (who was on some show called Naked and Afraid, which I thought was a joke but apparently isn’t 😄) is a former thru-hiker and is fantastic. He’s patient with the crazy bustle, but still exerts control over it all to keep things moving along. The food is terrific. I had a restaurant-quality cheeseburger last night, and the coffee this morning was actually the best cup I’ve had on the trail. My bed last night was crazy comfortable.

Disadvantages: You have to leave your pack outide in a wet tent. Which I get and respect, but it’s a big problem for, say, dealing with this massive resupply box I have. Can’t spread out, organize, optimize. Plus, you can’t hang your stuff up indoors, and my tent is soaking wet. My plan is to wait until all the shuttles have left, then go hit the pack and try to get it ready for tomorrow. Also, only camp shoes inside. It’s weird that AT hostels now have this expectation that everybody has camp shoes. But the bigger problem is that this place had a sensitive septic tank, so you have to schlep across a gravel yard to a portapotty during daylight hours. It’s like walking on Legos if you’re in bare feet!

What is it with the camp shoes? It seems so… section hiker. 😆 On the PCT, you could always tell the JMT hikers; they were the ones with camp shoes.

————-

So. Fear.

Fear of heights, like most phobias and fetishes, is hardwired. It’s just a fact of you, like blue eyes or that crazy birthmark that looks like a kangaroo. I remember being terrified as a toddler on the Jersey boardwalk, panic-stricken that I might somehow slip between the slats and plummet to my doom (on the soft cool sand three feet below). As a younger child, my mother and park rangers had to peel me off staircases twice—once on the third level of a firetower, and once on a ladder leading up to the cockpit of some historical airplane. I get… not dizzy, not vertigo, but in the panic I lose my sense of balance, and feel like my feet are going to fly up over my head. I can’t breathe. My hands rurn to rock and grip whatever root or rail they can find. Like… it’s awful. I’m sure you can relate. We all have our own phobias.

So. The mountains in Georgia and North Carolina and Tennessee are tallish, but not high, if you know what I mean. No scary precipices, no hundred-foot drops. Albert Mountain at mile 100 was scary the first time, and let me tell you, I’m currently climbing Albert Mountains about thirty times a day.

The scariest single thing I ever did in my life, at that point, on July 14, 2013, was summit Katahdin. I did it on my hands and knees, with my fingers practically clawing divots into the rock face. I’d flipflopped, so after Katahdin came all this crazy high stuff in Maine and New Hampshire. And later, the new scariest thing in my life, which has yet to be surpassed—“the Chute” on Forester Pass, 13,000 feet , in the ice and snow on the PCT in 2016. Six inches wide, ice. A straight drop into infinity. Scary enough for me to quit a thru-hike that instant—or at least, after I stopped shaking like a leaf. 😁 (They told me Glen Pass was worse. I couldn’t face it. I went back in 2017 and did the whole Sierra section. Glen Pass was not, in fact, worse. Nothing was worse. I’d quit the PCT immediately after I’d done the hardest thing on that trail. Out of fear.)

The anxiety, terror, panic never go away. But the muscle to breathe through it gets stronger.

At Fontana I met a young female hiker named Eleven with acrophobia who’d jumped out of an airplane to try to get rid of it and was surprised that it didn’t help. It doesn’t help. But all that stuff teaches your body how to remember to breathe while your feet are advancing an inch at a time.

An inch at a time, a day at a time, a step at a time. That’s the moral of the story. If you’re failing, you’re taking too big a bite of the thing. Get smaller. Breathe. Still failing? Get smaller.

I didn’t internalize this on Katahdin, or in Maine, or on Forester Pass. It finally sank in in the Sierra in 2017, when I had to cross these crazy raging streams on little toothpick logs. The rushing loud water is its own distracting terror. The motion of the water increases the fear and the dizziness. Then I thought, “You’re not responsible for crossing this river. You’re responsible for finding a single flat, solid footstep.” One step. Stop there for as long as necessary to feel the solidity, to take a breath. Stop there forever. The world is forever in that center of balance. The hell with pasts and futures and people on the bank. Just wait until it feels solid. And then take another step. Just one step.

I think the best way to train against a fear if heights is probably on a plank over a little stream. Then a smaller plank. Then a round stick. Moving water. Breath. And the wolf that gets stronger is the wolf of concentration, the one that can filter out the panic so the body keeps moving.

And there we are. I’ve climbed two bare rockfaces, infinity high, in the last few days: Old Speck and Baldpate. In both cases, fuck the magnificent view. I didn’t turn around, didn’t even look, until I was safe at the top with firm footing and a solid exit. I hate the view. The view is death. I crawled sometimes—particularly on Baldpate, because it was raining and slick as hell, and the wind was gusting hard. Honestly, I was terrified. But that rarely stops me anymore.

One step at a time. That’s how you get to Maine.

—————
PS. Yukon just spotted me limping acroos the gravel and gave me a brand new pair of flipflops to wear. What a great host that guy is. Maybe I’ll check out his naked TV show someday. But probably not. 😆

Baldpate: big wet heap o’ slab

Mile 1935.1
Andover, MaineHuman-Nature Hostel

Stormy night, with bonus thunder. Did crazy-ass Baldpate in the rain. Descending Baldpate was the NOBO version of the SOBO Arm. And crawling, literally, up a mile-high mountain of slab in the rain was terrifying, and bruising.

I’ll be at the hostel for two nights, all things remaining equal.

The AAAAAAARM!

Mile 1927.2Baldpate Lean-To

Soooooo. A whole bunch of tents sqieezed into fhat stealth–not stealth site between the Notch and the Arm. I found out later that one of them was Siren! Remember Siren? She shared a tentsite with ne after Trail Days. We had a quick catchup when she passed me this afternoon, and it was magic. I also ran into Reno today! He’s here at the shelter now, in fact. I haven’t seen bim since that same post–Trail Days shakeup. Er… no. Since fhe Half-Gallon Challenge. Reno saw a moose a couple of days ago! It was quick and in the trees, so he’s not sure yet if he’s going to count it.

Oh! Speaking of counting things… frogs +1! 😁

It rained last night. Like… hard. I packed up the tent from inside while it rained, then I started climbing to do the Mahoosuc Arm—in the rain. The Arm took 2 hours. If anybody reading this is thinking about sectioning Maine (I’m looking at you, Doug), NOBO is the safest way to do this whole section.

Worse than the arm was that bit of rock-climbing misery at the top of Old Speck. Vomitously vertical and high, high, high. I lost a little more skin, but I made it. I have a few things to say about fear of heights, but I’ll save them for a zero. I can’t believe I did that SOBO. That or the Arm.

And that was today! Tomorrow are the Baldpates, which I loved last time, but somebody told me it’s supposed to rain again, and that descent is supposed to be hellish in the rain. I hope all those opinions are exaggerated. I’ll get started an hour early, though, and take it one step at a time. I have a shuttle picking me up 8 miles from here at 4 tomorrow, and I’m not sure I can get there in time. How Maine is that?

Speaking of which, the rock climbs and descents in Maine come in two flavors: ‘Maine, you crazy kid’ and ‘Fuck you, Maine, you fucking fuck.’ The Notch was FYMYFF. The Arm was mostly FYMYFF. Old Speck was definitely FYMYFF. Actually, pretty much everything from the border to Grafton Notch was FYMYFF.

Mahoosuc

Mile 1917.8

Yesterday’s update was image heavy, so it may post out of order. FYI, this post comes after the one entitled Moose Tour 2019. This’ll probably be a continuing problem, here in the land of no signal, so I’ll try to remember to attach mileages for reference.

I didn’t see a moose today. I did, however, hike with a NOBO named Firefly who saw one earlier—in Vermont, maybe? Firefly started March 7. I also met a young guy today, Tin Can, who started May7. All the salmon hitting the end of the stream at the same time, because the journey ends when Maine is done.

Firefly’s husband works for NASA, designing doodads and bits of equipment for the International Space Station. How cool is that?

So. The water filter tuned that brown muddy stuff crystal clear! I was astonished! I treated it anyway. So many of these water sources are beaver ponds, moose swimming holes, and frog swamps that I’m extra paranoid. Or… the same degree of paranoid, because I’ve been double treating since Harper’s Ferry. 😁

This morning. Oh, man, this morning! I totally forgot that this section was that crazy misery with the funky rebar and steps. So… I made it! Got through the rebar, survived the vertical slab descents and the walls of sheer rock. Got to Mahoosuc Notch at 1. My cutoff had been 2:30, so… boom! I yanked up my socks and went in.

I couldn’t even get up the first boulder! It took like… 5 minutes, and I slammed my shin and scraped all the skin off my left butt cheek, Boulder 1. Joy! Mark me down for ‘hardest mile’ rather than ‘most fun mile.’ I’m battered, bruised, and skinned.

But I got through it. 2.5 hours, as opposed to the 3 hours first time around. Guthooks helped, because I could keep checking and screaming, “PLEASE DEARGOD, IS IT OVER SOON?”

My pack, though, didn’t fare as well. One of the side pockets got torn to crap on the rocks—which is going to cause me some logistical problems. I covered it with Tenacious Tape. Fingers crossed that it sticks, but I’m not holding my breath. It hasn’t been sticking to anything. Just 270 miles. It only had to last 270 miles or so.

What else? Nada. A flip-flopper named Roy just joined me at this stealth site. That’s good. I like to camp with a few other people, these days. Roy flipped in PA, so that’s where he’s headed.

Tomorrow: Mahoosuc Arm, Old Speck Mountain, other satanic ups and downs.

I have to call the hostel in Andover tomorrow to make sure they’re running the shuttle on Saturday. I might zero at that place… but probably not. No food there, except what they might sell on premises. Frozen pizza. If I zero, I’d rather do it in a town. But I don’t think I’m in a real town until Monson, before the Hundred.

The Great Moose Tour of 2019

Thank you to everybody for all the notes if encouragement! And thank you to my beautiful sister for putting out the word that I was a little discouraged and could use some inspiration. 💚

So, my awesome sister and brother-in-law and family have been cutting my lawn at home, and they’re teachers, so I’ve been trying to minimize the trouble for them by finishing early in September. And yesterday I texted my sister to let her know I was pushing the end date back, and honestly I was just done with the whole thing and was thinking about coming home. (I came out here to get some information about my hiking speed and style so I can train appropriately for the next adventure, and the questions are answered, so why the hell am I out here doing the stupid dangerous stuff when I’ve already done it? That was how my thinking was going.) And she put the word out, and I got so many messages of support! Thank you! And thank you to Sisu and Coach Doug for their support, too!

Honestly, if I came home at this point I’d hate myself, probably irredeemably. I was thinking it was an issue of rewards (and it partially is; I’m still going to try the podcast thing), but I’ve realized it’s more an issue of why. Like… why the hell am I out here for this crazy, laborious stuff? So I decided that the one thing I haven’t done this trip is see a moose. Why am I hiking on ridiculous vertical slabs of rock and circling around boggy ponds? To see a moose. Yeah, baby. I’m now all about the moose. And podcasts. 😉

—————
So many southbounders. So many. A dozen a day, it seems. Yesterday afternoon I crashed completely from 3 to 6 PM—like, out cold. I was awakened by the gentle sound of a man’s voice: “Hello? Hello?” At first I was confused from sleep. Was he a caretaker, a ridgerunner, a ranger? Had I done something wrong, camped at a fee site, pitched my tent illegally? No to all of that. He was just being polite and letting me know he was hanging his hammock nearby. 👍 He was SOBO Bob, tall and gaunt as hell, who’d already spent a couple of weeks off trail in Caratunk because his initial weight loss was so extreme.

Speaking of Maine, the rumor mill is reporting noro outbreaks in Caratunk and Monson. I’ll have to get more info.

—————
The morning’s hike was like Maine and Vermont had a seasick lovechild. Back and forth between buggy jungle and slick rocky slopes, with some juicy bogwalking thrown in for giggles. I stopped for lunch at 11, just past Gentian Pond. (I’m pretty sure gentian is blue, and that it showed up in an old Crayola box of mine.)

The afternoon was all Mt. Success, with some outrageous vertical rock scrambles and slippery slate slab descents. Eight hours, 11 miles. Not terrible. Aaannnddd… welcome to Maine. Thirteen down. One to go. One.

Tomorrow: 6 miles, then Mahoosuc Notch! Hardest mile on the AT! Last time it took me 3 hours. I think the 6 miles are roughly manageable in 6 or 7 hours, but if I get to the south end of the Notch after 2, I’ll probably stealth there rathet than starting. The plan is to camp after the Notch, and do the Arm (extremely steep, long, slab/rock-climbing ascent) the next morning. Water, though, is a concern. I don’t think there’s a reliable water source until partway up the Arm. I have 2 full liters, and my filter bag is full of disgusting brown sludge and filth. The plan is to filter a liter of sludge in the morning, but not treat in case better water shows up.

Maine. Mahoosuc. Who would’ve thunk?

1900!

Made it to 1900, but not quite to Maine. Half-day hiking, after a half-day yesterday. I’m not sure why I’m so slumpish. I was telling my sister I’m just sick and tired of climbing things. I think I’m eating enough; I’m certainly managing to pound calories in town. I do think sleep is part of the problem. I just never get enough sleep, ever, and I’m up a bunch of times every night.

Part of it might be the introvert thing. I’ve been in huts and lodges and the hostel, and always there’s the interrogation. Multiple interrogations. The same 20 questions over and over and over and over, day after day. At the huts, they kept asking them at dinner. Every time I lifted a fork, a question. “When did you start?” “Why do it twice?” “What’s your favorite part?” So I’m always answering and they’re always eating, and all of a sudden the plates are being cleared and I’ve hardly been able to take a bite, and some jackass is looking at my full plate and saying, “You’re talking too much.” Honestly, please leave the thrus in peace, at least until after they’ve eaten. They’re really, really tired and hungry. (But I understand; it’s an interesting sport to a lot of people. I just wonder if being “on” for that many days has been draining my battery.)

I decided to get another date at Baxter, a week or so later. On paper I’m still good, but this sluggish progress doesn’t fill me with confidence. So I’ve given myself a little air, for half-days or a zero maybe, or a buffer for weather.

I’m pretty close to Andover, I think, and my battery’s full, so I’m going to start rewarding myself with a podcast once a day or so. Pod Save America. I’ve missed those guys. 😁 Maybe some other, nonpolitical stuff. Let me know if you’ve got any recommendations.

So. Yesterday at the hostel I ran into Nola! You remember him? One of the Trues! He flipped, so he’s SOBO now. I got locations on all my people, lol. Kiwi, Sneaky Pockets, and Hufflepuff are about a week ahead. The other True is up there somewhere. Skillet’s a day ahead. Wicked and One Way are in the Hundred. I forgot to ask about Unicorn and J-Rock, but I’m guessing they must be close to the Hundred, too. (Part of my slump may be friend related. It’ll all be strangers from here on out.)

This morning I was up early and on the trail just before dawn. There was a long climb that wasn’t technical, but it was still draining. It was at the top of that—Mt. President Somebody—that I decided I wasn’t going to be able to pull big miles anymore, and I checked availabiity at Katahdin Streams, and here we are. Then I pulled into a campsite at 12:30 or so, and had trouble finding the water, and everything is like moving through molasses, and boom! I was setting up my tent. I’m going to try to sleep through it, and get back to every-other-shelter. That deslumped me last time.

Somebody else is already here, at 2:30. 😁 I’m not the only lazy slob on the trail.

Tomorrow: Who the hell knows?

It’s raining, off and on.

Me, clean

Clean me, at the hostel, wearing my crazy hippy loaner clothes.

Just posting for giggles.

I just ate two chicken quesadillas, two potatoes cut in half and loaded, a pint of ice cream, and three ginger ales. I also have a beef and cheese calzone, but I’ll probably hold that for breakfast…

Oh, who am I kidding? Midnight snack. 😆

Well. Well, well, well.

The Whites are… done! Well, not technically. But the Presidentials, all that crap.

I stopped at a hostel for a shower and laundry. I don’t recall ever being this wiped out. Oh, I have one of my favorite injuries! I was climbing up a rough ridge, nice and steep. I splayed my fingers out on the bouldet and hoisted upward. The hoist was so hard that a full water bottle fell out of my side pocket and slammed down on my finger, cap first—ie, just like hitting my hand with a hammer! Yay! It swelled enormously. Now the swelling’s pretty much down, and it turned red. It should end up a nice shade of black and blue. 😆

I have no idea how I’m going to make this schedule, but technically I’m still on time. I can’t even think right now. If I get late, I’ll do the Hundred after Katahdin. Or something.

This journey is over in 3 to 4 weeks. Then? 48 hours in bed. Period. I can’t wait. 😁

Last night in the Whites

The Whites, the Whites, the Whites. I’ll be SO glad to see the end of you!

I finally actually got to where I intended—although it was like… 9 miles in 11 hours. Nuts. Also, I saw a couple of snowflakes up on Wildcat Ridge last night. Which makes sense, because Mt. Washington recorded a quarter inch of snow overnight.

Today was windy and cold. But windy! It’s still windy. I’m here at the Imp, and this time I’ve got the platform to myself, thank god. The caretaker (the Wizard of Imp) said he had 41 hikers last night!

So, this weird thing happened, like they do out here. I’d finished Wildcat and the descent to Carter Notch, and the climb to Carter Dome. I was up on Mt. Hight, and I got turned around. I wasn’t sure which way was north. Another NOBO came along, and we chatted. Don’t you know, he started the same day, and practically the same time as I did! He hiked with Wicked for the first month. PB, his name is. I’d seen it in trail registers and such, but never met him until now (I don’t think). How cool is that?

Random: There were slugs on my tent this morning. Yuck.

I was chatting with a SOBO section hiker from… Radnor? Someplace close to me. He’ll be finishing the Whites this trip. And as we were chatting, a gent came down the hill,,, the wrong way. He also had gotten turned around up on Hight, and came a half-mile down this outrageously steep descent and had to turn around and go back up it again. That sucks.

Tomorrow: The end of the Whites. And 1900, if I get that far.

The next time I visit the Whites, it’ll be in a damn car.

Wasington, Madison, fifty shades of gray

Apparently I’m on vacation, because I’m at another Hut. What the actual fucque?

I got out of LOTC (which has apparently always been “Lakes”; I just managed to misread it for a decade or two, d’oh) at about 8 AM. Dear god. But I was only trying to get to treeline beyond Mt. Madison—roughly 9 miles—then find a stealth spot.

I didn’t make it. I made it roughly 7.5 miles in fog and rain (official visibility 104 feet; visibility with glasses, 10 feet 😀). Wet talus, high winds. I suck, but it was a hard day, and my bad knee is throbbing like hell. I stopped at Madison Hut for water, they surprisingly had a bunk, boom. I’ll do the wet talus descent in the morning, when I’m fresh and my knee’s had a chance to rest. Right now, I’m limping and wishing I could take vitamin I.

I’m picking up a resupply box tomorrow at Pinkham, then climbing the first Wildcat. And I might have a plan for device charging, the night after that. We’ll see. And wow, Maine in just a few days!

No pics. It was a rainy white-out all day. I couldn’t even find the trail up on Mt. Washington. (Then again, I couldn’t find the trail a lot today. I was all over Guthooks for most of the day, when it wasn’t rainy.)

OW, my knee! 😣 Just venting.

————-

OK, it’s the next day! And I’m at the Pinkham lodge hostel. Cheaper than the huts, thank god, and I can recharge my electronics.

What a freaking day. Madison was terrible. Not scary, but slow and endless, foggy, with high winds. Not dreadfully high, but maybe 30, 35 mph gusts and 20, 25 steady. But it’s done. Madison is done. Forever.

At the moment I’ve still got 2 days in my piggy bank… barely. I can’t even think about it. I’ve got two funny bunkmates, my resupply is here, and tomorrow I’ll just go as far as I can. I should be able to get on trail by 7:30—late, but better than the Huts.

Wildcats! Also rain.

Wildcat!

Wildcat Peak D done! Done in the continuing rain and blustery wind and fog! That was some hairy crap, there. I’m camped at the worst stealth site ever, warming up from the icy wind chill and listening to the rain on the tent. I’m glad to get back to my early starts. Tomorrow’s supposed to be partly sunny. Hopefully the rocks and roots will have dried out a bit, and I’ll do better.

Another day in Paradise!

Huts be crazy in the rain

I forgot how nuts these huts can be—especially this one, I think, because you can practically drive to it. There are many, many kids here, most under 10. At 4 PM, there are also a handful of thrus waiting to angle for work for stay. I don’t know any of them. Robin Hood, Sponge Bob. They knew Ting and were flabbergasted to hear he’s out.

Apparently the missing hiker and the dead hiker are one and the same. I think.

So. It did not rain last night! That was great, because whatever else happened, my tent will be dry next time I need it (tomorrow night). I was on trail at 5:45, and it was another vertical type of morning, getting up to the Presidential ridgeline. I was going back and forth between calling it Spidermanning and Mountain Goating, and I finally settled on spidergoating. I’d sing as I climbed: “Spidergoat, Spidergoat, does whatever a Spidergoat can.”

It was overcast for most of the day, until I got to within a quarter mile of Lakes of the Clouds. (Didn’t it used to he “Lake”? Or have I been misreading for years?) Then the sky opened up, and with no trees for cover I was wet within minutes. Ah, well. You lose some. 😁

Tomorrow: Washington, etc, in shitty weather. Wind gusts up to 55, but hopefully I’ll be past Madison by then. I’m only aiming to get past treeline. Breakfast here isn’t until 7, so it’ll be a late start to get 10 miles. On trail by 8, I’ll finish maybe by 6:30, if I stop up on Washington to buy food. Argh.

Man, it’s crazy noisy here.