Day 117: On the road again

Abol Pines Campground [mile 1033.5; SOBO 15.1]

My phone battery’s at 56%, and I don’t even enter the HMW until tomorrow. I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and not even try to check email until Monson—which kills me! But I’m taking pictures like crazy, and I want to keep doing that.

First things first: I think I have a touch of PKSD—post-Katahdin stress disorder! Every time I think about it, I get scared again. But I did it, and the gift keeps unpacking. Like today when I had to ford my first stream. Water up to mid-thigh, white rushing water that felt a milimeter away from sweeping me off my feet, and it was frightening… until I said to myself, “This, my friend, is no Katahdin!” And I got through it.

So. The events of the day, in better order. I woke up feeling sick. Literally. Achy, exhausted, shaking, runny nose. I dozed an extra hour then crawled out of bed and over to the picnic table, where I forced myself to drink a liter of water and eat as much as I could hold. (I didn’t eat a lot yesterday, after the good town breakfast. Adrenaline must be an appetite suppressant.) I think the runny nose, which persisted all day, is a function of being in a new environment. And the achiness? Well, duh! (I’m also covered with swollen bug bites from the summit. Damn high-altitude maneaters. And I got a fairly impressive sunburn. (Note to self: Take sunscreen over treeline.)

I was only planning to do 10 miles today, and that’s all I did. My body had forgotten the pack weight, but it remembers now! As far as the injury report goes, my knees and shins are bruised and scraped from crawling on granite, and the one knee is a little sore, but everything else vanished overnight. Thank you, lower thousand miles! I definitely have some muscle soreness, particularly in the shoulders and glutes, but only in certain positions.

I hit the trail at 10 AM. The hiking was gorgeous, as Maine always is. I jumped ahead to the dessert of the trail! (Of course, now it feels like a bit of a cruel joke on the regular NOBOs: Here’s your beautiful dessert, ooooh, pretty, then WHAM! A mountain that’s harder by whole orders of magnitude than anything in the south, at least. The cake is a lie!)

Anyhoo, roots, rocks, and pine. That’s Maine. And water water everywhere. I had to stop myself from taking pictures of stunning lakes and waterfalls. The stream crossing was a little scary, but exhilarating. (Is that spelled right? I don’t have access to a dictionary.)

The big problem today was heat. Heat warning, temp over 90, heat index somewhere in the ether. Katahdin must have been horrific today. Note re serendipity: This was a very lucky time to flip, maybe the best. After weeks of rain, we’re in the middle of a dry sunny spell—enough that all the mud has dried and the stream levels have fallen back to normal.

I leapfrogged all day with two SOBOs, newlyweds (well, last September) from Washington state. They had a lot of questions. I’m happy to put my early misery to good use! Her trail name is Billie. He doesn’t have one yet. They’ll be passing me any day now. 🙂 Oh, and they passed that white-haired hiker from yesterday on their way up the mountain. She must not have made it to the top; but I’m so glad she’s healthy and got back down.

Tomorrow: Into the Hundred-Mile Wilderness!

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Categories: Appalachian Trail | Tags: | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Day 117: On the road again

  1. Lisa Milstead

    Appreciate all the pics you take.

  2. Marge

    So beautiful. The pics take my breath away.

  3. the pictures are breath-taking!!! I think Maine is more beautiful and untamed than Virginia and south!

  4. Hi Karma. I’m planning on NOBO next March. How does Katahdin compare to the GA, NC mountains? I live in Bangor Maine so I’ve done Katahdin a few times but I’m apprehensive about the southern mountains. Thanks. Happy hiking.

    • The quick answer is that you’ll have no trouble at all! =D The longer answer is thst it depends what you’re apprehensive about. The southern mountains never get above treeline, so you’re always in a nice deciduous forest (sometimes with pine), and there’s usually agood stealth site at the top. Up here, the climbing is more technical. Down there, it’s more like uphill walking (with technical bits here and there, but you’re used to those). The uphills are straighter for longer, so it’s more of a cardiovascular thing, which is good because you can go as fast or as slow as you like or take breaks as needed.

      You’ll be fine. 🙂

      • Thanks for the reply and info. Makes me feel good about the southern mountains. Enjoying the photos and blog. Glenn

  5. Shari wb

    I love those pics of the streams. And lake. Beautiful! What an awesome photo log you have and to think we only see a few of what you take ina day which is only a sliver of what you see. I wonder if you feel as serene as the pics you take make me feel…

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