There has been very little service thus far in Maine, so rather than doing a day by day I’m going to hit some topics that have been on my mind and tell a few stories.
Mahoosuc notch – the guide says “the most difficult or fun mile of the AT” it was fun, but that mile meant business. Took a solid two plus hours. But it took longer because I took a nap on a rock in the middle. I also learned the hard way to not circumnavigate the caves. It is much faster and easier (but also scary) to go through. As you cross the notch boulder field you are crossing a thermaclimb. Down and up and down and up with twenty degree changes. There is still a lot of ice tucked away. The pond at the end that we had to ford was probably 35 degree water. Painful.
Mud. Maine has it. Jarryd snagged a sweet photo of me thigh deep. The planks on trail that are there to assist you are usually more dangerous than the mud and rocks themselves. Long story short I slipped and went right in. Legs, arms, and braids. And as much as I don’t want to think about it, I will mention that there is moose poo every 5 feet, so you know what that mud is really made of.
I don’t think I’ve really discussed this in the blog, but I’m a pro at falling. I’m very klutzy. I fall A LOT, and I have a tendency to run into trees. I’m not sure how it happens, but I swear they come out of nowhere and attack when you least expect it. Trees. Gotta watch out for them when you’re in the woods. Witch doctor messes with me now and will warn me of trees as we walk that are way off trail.
When I fall it hurts, especially now with bad knees and achy joints, but usually I can laugh it off. But, this leads me to an important topic. I can’t always laugh it off. WD and I passed south bounders who were telling us about nobos up ahead who were miserable and hating every minute of their hike. It occurred to me that everyone you pass only gets a minute glimpse into who you are as a hiker. But, there is a point where you simply can’t always keep it together. If someone catches you at that moment then that is there impression of you forever. You only get first impressions with nobo and sobo crossings. If they had seen me earlier that morning they would have thought I hated life.
Story: woke up with a migraine, upset stomach, and had a sore throat preventing me from being able to swallow. All this was OK, and I was hiking through it uncomfortably and slowly. Then I slid down a rock for a solid 6 feet and tore the skin off my bum and cut my palm. This was after sliding on a plank and ramming my thigh into the corner of another plank the day before. So, I turned into a five year old and started to sob. I had had it. Nothing felt good. I grabbed my guide and told WD to start looking for a hostel with a shuttle to town cause I was getting off for the day. Some times I just have to let it all out, and WD handled it really well. He found somewhere to go, gave me a bear hug, and sat with me until I regained sanity. After sitting for a while I decided to keep going. As it turns out I had a really nice day, and the south bounders would have never known about my morning catastrophe.
The next day, Jarryd was in front and stepped on the end of a plank floating in mud water causing a seesaw effect. I, on the receiving end, tripped on the now elevated plank and landed face first on the wood and mud. I’ve never laughed so hard. You just can’t keep it together 100% of the time.
Maine is gorgeous. Mountains, lakes, ponds, big views. What more could you ask for. Well.. it would be awesome if Maine had diners with huge omelets and really buttery toast. Oh wait! They have that too!! I ate 10 pieces of toast with my breakfast. We can put down some food.
Bruise from plank.