Guyot Shelter [mile 1375.7; SOBO 357.3]
Guess what? It’s raining! Yay!
My experience in the Whites has been white: wet and white. Fog and rain, rain and fog. Every day is cloudy, with occasional cracks of blue if I get low enough.
Today was no different. It rained during the night and I packed up a soaking wet tent. (Honestly, the sheer water weight must be adding muscle to me.) I left Ethan Pond at 6:45 under a sky full of low-hanging clouds, swirling puffs of silver. The rain had raised the pond’s water level; I had to be careful not to put one leg into the black water. (The stitching’s coming out of my new shoes, by the way. This pair didn’t even make it a hundred miles, although I’m going to squeeze as much life out of them as I can. Glue, I think.)
Then came a big surprise. The trail south of Ethan Pond? Except for some occasional rocky spots, it was the easiest, flattest, most wonderful bit of trail I’ve seen in weeks. What a joy to swing my arms and just walk! I made such good time that I caught the last of the breakfast coffee at Zeland Falls Hut, where I had a great conversation with some former thrus.
One of them (who hiked last year) asked me what I thought of Maine. Not the Whites, not New Hampshire. Her theory is this: Every state on the AT has its unique characteristic, that thing that makes it hard. But Maine? That’s where all the other challenges finally come together, where you have to deal with the whole menu of difficulties. Maine is putting it all into practice.
I love that. It makes sense to me! (Given, of course, that I still have plenty of states to get to.)
After Zeland Falls, the trail climbed. It got a bit technical after that—big rocks to scramble over and around while ascending bouldery Mt. Guyot.
(I wondered all day whether it was pronounced guy-ott or ghee-oh. Turns out, according to the caretaker at this tent site, it’s guy-oh.)
After the summit, I decided to come to this tent site even though it’s a bouldery mile down from the trail. I’m going to hate myself in the morning! But you know what? When push comes to shove, I’d rather pay the eight bucks and be legal. Then I don’t have to worry about whether I’ll be caught in an inappropriate stealth site. I’m definitely looking forward to getting away from the concession-stand culture and back into the woods. 😉
But the Whites aren’t done with me yet!
Tomorrow: Oh, probably rain and fog!
Oh, and my sleeping pad has developed a mutant lump where two baffles have merged. Time to replace that puppy!