Horns Pond Lean-tos [mile 1201.5; SOBO 183.1]
I passed the 1200 mark today! Woohoo! To celebrate, I’ll be heading into Stratton tomorrow to resupply!
Holy jeez, it’s cold! I’m in my tent after a hard day of mountain climbing (the Bigelows), and the wind gusts must be hitting 30 mph or higher. I’m high and on the edge of some Bigelow or other, with a pond on the other side of this finger of land.
So last night, the gear tragedies continued. I went to turn in my headlamp to read a little, and the batteries were dead. So I put in the backup batteries… and those were dead too. More haunted headlamp action! I’ve gone through five sets of AAAs since March 7. Five sets! Fifteen batteries for this headlamp! And I don’t use it that much! I think the cold has drained the batteries, just like it did back in the Smokies. But I’m not ruling out the possibility that it’s a lemon headlamp. It’s heavy anyway; when i get to a real outfitter, I’ll try to get a new one.
I got up early. It was February. I hit the trail at 6:55 and headed for the Bigelows, baby! Well, the big Bigelows, since I was already camping at Little Bigelow.
I did wake up with the realization that once again I’ve managed to overthink things. I’m tired because… wait for it… I’m not sleeping! I haven’t been sleeping well up here. Too cold, too hot, no pillow… I’m not sure what it is, but I wake up ten or fifteen times a night and rarely get to a deep sleep. I’ll probably mess with my gear a little, or my system. I might need to pick up warmer sleep socks, or get my down ones back.
It was a chilly, windy morning, hazy at the views and with gray clouds covering half the sky.
I was climbing up Little Bigelow and heard a noise overhead: two tiny squirrels playing tag! They were no bigger than chipmunks. One of them stopped to watch me; then he decided I must have been a bad thing, because he turned on his stubby little puff of tail and jetted up the tree.
(Toads 1, Snakes 2.)
Most of the hikers I’m seeing now are super athletes, very young, or from foreign parts (visa deadlines). I passed a German early this morning who said the day was supposed to be hot. Yay, I thought unenthusiastically, since I had 1 liter of water to nurse for 9 miles and two mountains, or else I’d have to take a side trip to a water source three tenths off trail, which sucks. As it turned out, the German was wrong; I spent a lot of the day being chilly. And I found a water puddle that may have been a spring, so I grabbed some water there. All good! And back up the mountain.
Speaking of mountains, I’m such a nerd. I climb a beautiful mountain and I get excited at the top. Because of the view? No! Because I might get an internet signal! The nerd queen. I should be home playing Skyrim! It all feels so surreal sometimes.
And speaking of surreal, I started climbing big Bigelow after lunch. It was a bit of a beast. On the way up I passed two older ladies, white haired, coming northbound. They were southern ladies from North Carolina here to try to finish up Maine. And they were identical twins! Very cool. As similar as two ducks. Two identical twin ducks.
The Avery Peak on Bigelow was stupendous and unexpected. A 360-degree view of everything: lakes, rivers, mountains on mountains on mountains smudging the sky. Majestic—and a little scary. The wind was fierce so I didn’t linger above treeline. I had to take off my cap and my pack cover for fear they’d go flying.
The downhill was rough and rocky, but that’s the name of the game from here on out. It’s tough on the knees, that’s for sure!
And tomorrow… five or six miles (plus five into town) then I’m in Stratton for a day and a half. Lovely Stratton, which has nothing but a diner. Hey, as long as they’ve got a bed, I’ll be happy!