Stealthing at Bemis Stream [mile 1252.8; SOBO 234.4]
I’m not sure about the mileage. The book says there’s a campsite 0.2 mile north of the ford, but then the mileage indicates that it’s south, so something’s not right. It’s another NOBO/SOBO error. And here I am at the campsite (which is on this side of the ford, not the other side) because it’s been raining for two days, and I don’t think I can ford that stream.
Today and yesterday have been the most physically miserable pair of days on this hike, as far as I can recall. I’m thinking there’s a whole other meaning to ‘No rain, no pain, no Maine’—Maine seems to be nothing but rain and pain!
It started to pour sometime in the night, and at around 4 AM the lightning started. I packed up in a downpour and hit the trail at 6:30 AM. Everything was soaked (well, not my down or the stuff in my trash compactor bag)—I mean the tent, me, the pack, my hip pack, and anything touching any of those. The tent was so wet that I was actually wringing the fly (in the rain) to try to get some of the water out. All that water adds up to extra weight, and my shoulders were miserable today. I think the pack must have weighed 40 pounds.
I’ll tell you the rotten stuff then jump back to the good thing. The rotten stuff is that I’m so sick of Maine I could cry. The trail today was an unrelenting festering stinking bog. It was a river. I almost lost my shoes so many times that I’ll be grateful if I still have two of them when I get to New Hampshire. The rain came down hard all day (it’s still pouring), adding mudslicks to the roots and rocks for a trifecta of slipperiness at the vertical rock faces. Just the act of walking today turned my hands into prunes.
Then I got to this ford and realized I can’t do it. At least not tonight. I need fresh legs and a fresh sense of balance.
So I’m in my soaking wet tent, which is filled with soaking wet gear, trying to keep my quilt above water. My clothes, including my socks, are just saturated. And it’s raining so hard that they’re not likely to be less saturated by morning. I might just put on my regular shoes to wade the river.
A few minutes ago four NOBOs (or locals, maybe) made it across with a dog. I saw them reach this bank, so I know how they came. That dog, though… she didn’t want to come across! Smart dog.
Rain, please stop! Please, please stop so I can get across that freaking stream!
So here’s the good thing. I was hiking along this morning and I ran into a pair of NOBOs; he was standing sentry while she ran back into the woods. He said, “I know you!” It was Salad Days, and the girl in the woods was Risk It! Remember them?
I’m a diehard romantic (although I don’t get to practice much these days, having been solo for over a decade), and I love their trailmance and the fact that they’re still together. If you recall, I met Risk It when she was my bunkmate at the NOC. She’d just started hiking with Salad Days. Two or three days after that, she woke up in a shelter with the plague! Salad Days took care of her… got her into a tent, got her cleaned up, then took care of her until she was healthy enough to hike back to the NOC to recuperate—where he got sick! Talk about a trial by fire. But it looks like they’ve made it all this way and they’re still together. I’m so happy for them! Two genuinely nice people.
And that was the nice thing. I also crossed paths with Molly and Pierogi from back in the Smokies (Molly’s Ridge Shelter, I think it was; or maybe the next one). I only saw them the one night, and I think they were already hiking together. No big story there, except that pierogies are delicious and my dog’s name was Molly. 🙂
I’m starting to be able to feel my feet again. Rain, rain, go away, come again in a month!
I got a text from El Flaco. He’s in New Hampshire. Floss and NotYet and Billy are about a week ahead now, give or take. (Hi, guys, if you see this!)
Tomorrow: Mountains, if I can cross that stream. Maybe Andover at night, but probably not until Sunday. Maybe even Monday morning, depending on how things shake out. This leg is so nebulous.