Design a site like this with
Get started

The whole of it all

Shaw’s just summarizes the whole AT shebang. Noisy, friendly, raucus… and it’s still only 5 PM. Poet, the owner, is great. The windows won’t close, so I get to listen to motorcycles, which is fine, because here you wallow in AT-ness. It’s all AT, the crazy, loony, moving sideshow. And we’re the freaks. I love this community.

So. Here’s a story that symbolizes the whole. There’s an Australian NOBO thru here, name of Treetrunk. Poet met Treetrunk back at Trail Days, where apparently Treetrunk overindulged. Vomit was involved. (For what it’s worth, Treetrunk is 60-something.) A couple of nights ago, Treetrunk was bush-camped near a highway. The sites were mentioned in Guthooks. (I’d been aiming there myself when I was in the neighborhood, but didn’t get that far.) Late that night, Treetrunk heard something. There was an animal, or the head of an animal, in his side vestibule! He shouted. It didn’t go away. So he whacked the side of the tent. It didn’t go away. Ao he whacked again, harder, only this time his thumb must have been extended, and the animal
bit off the tip of his thumb (tearing a great gash in the tent mesh in the process), then ran like hell. Blood was apparently spattering everywhere, inside the tent and outside. He didn’t see the critter. He doesn’t know what it was. And his current plan is to finish hiking as quickly as possible so he can get back to Australia where he can get it treated. The weirdest part of the story is that he’s been treated for rabies before, when a wolf bit him while he was hiking in… I forget. Somewhere exotic, that has wolves.

That’s the Appalachian Trail. That, and the fact that I just found yet another slug on my tent, after it’s been balled up in my pack all day.

And the sound of the loons crying across a sunset lake.
And a banjo played by a scruffy hiker with a scruffier dog.
And gifts of food from smiling strangers.
And trail legends who decorate their resupply boxes with playing cards. And hikers from New Zealand, and Germany, and everywhere else.

And rain.
And pain.
And Maine.

Rolling like a river

Well… today I could have done 16! But because I reserved at Shaws for Wednesday night rather than Tuesday, and there’s no phone service, I have to slow my roll to short miles even when I can do bigger ones because the trail’s nice. Murphy’s law! Or Catch 22 or something. The law of oppositeness.

The trail was nice today. 🙂 Frogs +1.

At the hostel I met two hikers I’d met back in Erwin at Uncle Johnny’s. The guy is Captain Insano, and I forget his partner’s trail name. There’s a funny story I never mentioned because it was awkward, but Captain Insano and I had a laugh about it today, so it feels alright to share now.

So. There’s a group of hikers called the Wounded Warriors. It’s a nonprofit that sponsors a number of combat veterans who are thru-hiking to reacclimate and heal. (You can google them for more information.) At Uncle Johnny’s in Erwin, the group was interviewed by the local paper. It was pretty chaotic—cameras, newspaper staff, hostel staff, reporters, the WW group, a ton of other hikers. I tried to stay out of the way while I sorted out my resupply. So I was in the corner, like, hiding, and splitting my food up by days. I tiptoed out to put the box in the recycling, and when I came back, a hiker was poking through my resupply and taking things. I was shocked—and a little irritated, because I thought it was a jerk hiker. (Hard to believe, but they exist!) It was Captain Insano. He was so sweet and apologetic and embarrassed, and it was clear instantly that it was just a weird mistake—like, he’s there being interviewed! The Luna bars all laid out like that did look like some sort of a freebie situation! 😄 So we laughed, and I felt bad and he felt bad, and I wasn’t sure he was entirely over his embarrassment, so I was so glad to run into him today. Super nice guy. He said he’s having a great hike. I hope it’s been everything he was looking for. And best of luck to all the other veterans involved with the project.

What else? Saw Little Blade today. She was hiking with the vets. That wolfpack of hikers I mentioned a couple of days ago are all 18 and 19. There’s one 20-year-old; they call him the old man. 😆

Like the fabulous art of decorating resupply boxes, the post-hike poscards have gone the way of the dodo. So many traditions, gone—and that’s just in six short years. I haven’t decided if I’ll do postcards. Depends on my finishing photo, lol.

Rain tonight. I think I’m in an OK spot. I was supposed to hit my first ford today, but it was a rock hop. Tomorrow, though, there’s at least one, maybe two. Even with the rain tonight, they should be fine. It’s not like the PCT. And every stream I’ve remembered has been substantially lower than in 2013.

So, I have 3 days to do 26 miles. Then a zero. Shit. 😁 Of course, Maine can get Mainey in the blink of an eye.

I’ve gained some weight back with the recent zeroes. These scales are all seriously old and busted anyway.


Mile 2068.5

It poured yesterday. Today was the second time in Maine that I’ve stopped early because all my stuff was drenched. I hope this is just a weather front, and not the shape of things to come! I’m not really geared up for constant drenching rain, and with 2 weeks left, I don’t plan on buying anything. 😁 The mushrooms, though, love it. I saw a couple today that were as big as dinner plates.

Two weeks!

Forded my first stream today. It was the big one I’d been somewhat dreading, but it was fine—much lower than ‘13, even with yesterday’s rain. I saw Doc, whom I met way back in Hot Springs! Fabulous guy. We had a lovely chat, and he took my pic while I was poking across the river.

Frogs +3. Honestly, I’m not sure why I still count, except that it passes the time. So many frogs! (Yes, toads, I know.)

Nine miles to Monson tomorrow. I’ll zero on Thursday and work out the end game. I hope Shaws still lets you take your pack inside. I want to really shake it down for the final time, and dry things out for the Hundred.

The Hundred on Friday!

Find the frog:

Rain in Maine

Mile 2059.6

“No rain, no pain, no Maine.” The adage kind of falls apart when you’re already in Maine. 😉

It rained overnight, it rained all morning, and it’s still raining. For the first time this hike, I had to both strike and set up in the rain. The tent’s wet, my pack is utterly soaked, and everything else is on a spectrum from a little wet to dripping, and it’s all cold. I’m counting on yesterday’s forecast, which has it stopping this afternoon. I had to stop and get into dry clothes because I was freezing, like you get when it’s chilly and blustery and raining in Maine. And anyway, I’m only 19 miles from Monson, and I have two days to get there. Ridiculous. 😁 (Although Maine can turn technical on a dime, and there’s at least one legit stream ford, maybe two. I’m currently anxiousing about the leeches. lol.)

No pics today. Too wet.

I took a bad weather blue-blaze alternate around the Moxie Bald summit. Nothing to see in the fog, and I’ve done it before, so I figured I’d look at something new and maybe see an animal. No moose! Lots of poop, though.

Speaking of animals, yesterday I saw a very fat raccoon. It was 3:30 in the afternoon. The thing was hanging at a stream and didn’t do more than lumber behind a tree when it saw me. Rabies much?

What else? Nothing, I guess. I’ve been eating Nutella. I’m not a fan of chocolate, but I keep telling myself it’s hazelnuts. 😁