Piazza Rock Lean-to [mile 1237.0; SOBO 218.6]
Blondie ended up doing me a favor last night. Soon after last night’s shelter, the trail went up like a spike on an ECG to Saddleback Junior, then came down just as sharply on the other side. Rocky, very steep, lots of sliding boards on both sides. I don’t think I would have had the energy to do that last night, not and finish before the dense woods went dark.
I’m having to ration food more than I’d like. My hiker hunger finally hit, I think; I realized it a couple of nights ago when it occurred to me that I could eat every single thing in my food bag without batting an eyelash. (Do you bat eyelashes? Or eyelids?) I have enough to get to Andover if I’m careful, but I hadn’t planned on this shelter-to-shelter madness. Next time I’m going to package my food by days. (Also, I may have misread the book. I might have to go an extra ten miles to get a pickup to Andover, which means stretching the food bag an extra day.) Now that I finally, finally have worked out how to split up the meals in a way that suits my hiking style (it only took 1200 miles!), I get to play with the learning curve of matching the food to the days until resupply. There’s always something to fine-tune! I never really had to worry about that much; I always just carried way too much food.
I hit the trail this morning at 6:10. That was pretty good! Today’s mountains were Saddleback Junior, the Horn, and Saddleback. Of the three, the Horn was probably the worst: periods of straight-on rock climbing. All three mountains were above treeline. But the best was the area after the Horn, including Saddleback—two or three miles above treeline. Nice! The day was cool but sunny, and the view in all directions was phenomenal. I wonder how many miles you can see from up there? Supposedly from Saddleback you can see both Katahdin and Mt. Washington, although I couldn’t pick them out from the hundreds of mountains filling the horizon.
Coming down Saddleback was a mile-long sliding board. No falls, but it took me forever. The whole day took forever: I hiked for ten solid hours (minus a few brief breaks) and got only nine miles. And you know what? When 4 PM rolled around, I was whipped. Exhausted! I haven’t felt tired like that in a long time; maybe not since Georgia. I think it was the climb early—cardio, rather than technical.
And my knees hate me right now. Every step down those cliffs hurts!
So… I’m sick of Maine, I decided. Every mile takes an hour, and the bogs are nuts. You know, there are bogs on top of the mountains? What kind of sense does that make? But of course, when there’s rock under everything the water has nowhere to go. Today I stepped into a bog that came halfway up my shin and nearly sucked my shoe to oblivion. I somehow managed to pull my foot out, but it was hard. Now my whole tent smells like bog juice, and let me say… that’s not good.
I’m tired of tripping and stubbing my toes. I’m tired of having to stop and look at the cliff wall that passes for trail and figure out how I’m going to get up it. (Yes, I know new Hampshire’s coming and that the cliff issue will be worse. And don’t forget Mahoosuc.) I’m tired of mud and moose crap and mosquito bites.
Maine, I’m over you!
You’re still pretty, though. 🙂
Tomorrow: Looks like a fairly gentle elevation increase and a lot of ponds and rivers. Not too bad, maybe! Famous last words.